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Toast to produce 20 percent fewer styles to drive sustainability

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: Toast

Slow fashion and lifestyle brand Toast has revealed that it will be scaling back its collections to produce 20 percent fewer styles than previous seasons as part of its roadmap to sustainability.

In its annual Social Conscience report, Toast adds that throughout 2020 and 2021, it made “significant progress” towards achieving its long-term sustainability goals, including scaling back its collections as it looks to create long-lasting and low-impact products.

In the report, chief executive Suzie de Rohan Willner said: “For 25 years, Toast has championed a slow and considered way of life. As a responsible business, we want to leave the environments and communities we touch improved upon by our conscious actions.

“Global clothing consumption continues to rise, and while our human consumption creates jobs and growth in developing nations, it also has an enormous environmental and social cost. In the face of a global pandemic, we took the time to reflect on our practices and articulate our approach to sustainability. As a result, we have created a roadmap that reflects our purpose and values by addressing social and environmental issues.”

Also on its sustainability roadmap is a reduction in the number of collection drops from six to four, as part of its commitment to reshape buying habits and advocate for quality and longevity. This move it explains has resulted in higher sell-through and waste reduction. Toast will also be producing 20 percent fewer styles than previous seasons, as it focuses on maximising the sell-through rate to avoid any excess product and to minimise discounting.

Toast is also swapping to organic cotton, where possible. Currently, 29 percent of its cotton womenswear products are organic and cotton accounts for 70 percent of the total materials produced in its 2021 range. It is looking to increase this to 80 percent by 2023.

Toast unveils “significant progress” in annual Social Conscience report

Toast also reveals that during 2020-2021 that 85 percent of its products use purely natural fibres that are biodegradable, such as cotton, hemp, linen, sustainable viscose, wool, and cashmere, fibres that it states are inherent to traditional craft.

Image: Toast

It is also looking to make recycled materials a “fundamental part” of its seasonal collections to reduce its dependence on finite resources and have introduced recycled cotton, cashmere and wool into its range.

The use of recycled materials also extends to its accessories collections and collaborations such as using recycled alternatives to polyamide, polyester and nylon used in socks, swimwear and knitwear yarns, as well as recycled PVC in footwear and creating 100 percent of its jewellery range with recycled metals.

Toast expands repair and clothing swapping initiatives

It has also expanded its sustainable initiatives including its free repair service Toast Renewal by investing in a wider team of repair specialists to work out of six regional Renewal shop locations in Bath, Edinburgh, Oxford and across London. Since launching, Toast has repaired 914 items, and to date, 7,000 people have attended one of its virtual repair workshops.

Toast also has a clothing swapping initiative Toast Circle, which has successfully extended the life of over 2,000 garments, and customers in the UK can also return their footwear to the factory for a sole replacement through the ‘Soling Replacement Service’.

Image: Toast

The slow fashion and lifestyle brand also adds that it utilised the last year to focus on improving maker and product information to allow its customers to make informed choices with each purchase. This has included investing in new systems for product life cycle management (PLM), which has allowed it to divide work among suppliers more effectively and maintain fair and consistent order sizes to each supplier.

The PLM system also allows Toast to monitor and accurately report on developments and increases efficiency throughout the product development process to help it set targets to ensure that it doesn’t overdevelop. This data will also include Social Conscience Attributes, devised to track sustainable initiatives across its supplier bases, such as from locally sourced materials and UK made to artisan craft and efficient water usage.

Toast adds that while it has made great strides, it still has work to do to further reduce its impact. Commitments moving forward include reducing its use of virgin materials, investing in supply chain mapping, assessing the impact of its dye methods and reducing water usage across its supply chains, as well as reducing production miles and improving product life cycle management efficiency.

“We have encountered setbacks during this evolving process,” explains Toast to conclude the report. “However, through our commitment to craft, creativity and our community we are confident that we will create meaningful change. We know there are no shortcuts and we remain aware that continued commitment and action is required for us to do and be better.

“As we look forward to 2022, our plans and actions remain ambitious, and we will share our progress as we go.”