The desire for new clothes, rapidly changing trends - all of this has a direct impact on the production of new collections by global giants, fuelling the fast fashion movement - with all its consequences not only for the environment, but also for exploited workers. Fortunately, its effects are being talked about more and more and consumers are slowly becoming more aware. What can we do to bring some positive changes? What is our approach to production? How can we have a real impact? Let's try to find the answers together.
What exactly is fast fashion?
Simply put, it is the mass production of on-trend clothes - fast and at the lowest cost. In order to make this possible, the sewing of products takes place primarily in distant and poorer corners of the world. Mass producers (usually so-called 'chain stores') take advantage of the dire financial situation of the locals, who agree to work hard for several hours for a pittance that allows them to survive. The materials from which the products are made also leave a great deal to be desired. What is clear is that in order to make the end product affordable for everyone - the material from which it will be made will also be cheap. Synthetic and low-quality materials are used, which quickly deteriorate, are not recycled or, due to visible signs of use, will not have a chance for a new life. The vast majority of them end up in the rubbish and are incinerated, polluting the environment.
Why is fast fashion so popular when it comes to children's brands?
One of the main reasons is that children grow out of their clothes very quickly. It has become accepted that it is not worth investing in more expensive and quality products because of their short lifespan. We prefer to buy cheaper, more often, but also more fashionable, because trends change in the blink of an eye. Another aspect is also the issue of children destroying and soiling clothes faster. We buy cheap products, made of low-quality materials, that is much less durable, which serve our children only for several assumptions. We do not sell them or pass them on because of the visible signs of use and damage. And so we buy another one. As a brand called Happymess, we want to face this and look for solutions. We practice producing oversized items so that they last children for several seasons. One example is our woolen jacket, which is constructed to be worn for several seasons. Thanks to the roll-up sleeves, which also serve as a decorative element, and the oversize cut, it grows with the child. We know how important and increasingly popular it is to buy second-hand. In order for a product to be passed on within the family, among friends or resold - it must remain in good condition. The natural and organic materials we use to make our clothes make it possible to pass products on, from hand to hand, as they are far more durable and do not deteriorate as quickly.
What elements of sustainable production are most common used by children's brands?
The most popular and very important element is the use of sustainable organic materials that can be easily recycled, and from which the clothes can be passed on to the other hand. Sustainable, natural materials = longer life. What does using organic, certified materials mean? We can identify the place of origin of the fibres and the conditions under which they were produced. They guarantee the commitment of local farmers to eliminate irrigation, GMOs and waste. Producers of certified materials are obliged to certify a guarantee of transparency and safety at each stage of production. An element that fits in with sustainable production is also the creation of unisex and versatile items - they increase the chance of a new life in the hands of the next owner. Sustainable production also means sewing as locally as possible to shorten the supply chain, have a real say in quality control and, very importantly, support fair working conditions. Creating timeless clothes that can be worn regardless of fast passing trends is considered another element.
Do & don'ts - what to focus on and what to avoid?
Do and don'ts as a manufacturer:
- minimising the use of synthetic materials,
- using certified materials for transparency and the environment,
- oversize and timeless shapes to prolong wear,
- using recycled accessories such as zips, press studs etc,
- ordering as much fabric as needed to realise the vision, in case of possible textile waste to use it as part of the next product in the new collection
- using fabric blends - these are very difficult to separate and recycle, even 100% polyester is better as it is recyclable
Do's and don'ts as a consumer:
- try to buy less and less often, but things of better quality and from proven brands (remember that by paying more for a product you not only get a guarantee of better quality and durability, but you also support the environment and fair working conditions)
- pay attention to the material from which the product is made, avoid synthetic materials - they deteriorate quickly, wash, melt - so called "chain" clothes last up to a few weeks of regular wear
- decide on timeless cuts and colours
- buy second-hand clothes, give them a new life - this way you can do your bit and contribute to stopping fast fashion production
- take care of your clothes so that you can also give them away or sell them - each product includes a label with washing, drying and ironing instructions, which will make this task easier for you.
The topic of sustainable production is extremely important to us. As a brand, we do everything in our power to give you the opportunity to buy decent and quality products. We take this as our mission. We use only natural materials, most often with certificates. We sew in Poland and in the EU, supporting traditional manufactures. Comfort of use, length of use, timelessness, quality of materials, local sewing - these are the foundations of our brand. Let's be conscious and contribute to change for the better. Each and every one of us counts.