The journey to a sustainable business is a collective one, requiring the open sharing of information and collaboration between brands. Positive Luxury’s Sustainability Spotlight feature aims to help facilitate this process. We recently spoke to the team at Butterfly Mark-certified Anya Hindmarch to find out about their innovative approach to single-use plastics, sustainability during the holiday season, and more.
How do you approach the gifting period from a sustainability point of view?
To start, we have created Conscious Gifting edits to make it easier for people to navigate our bags that are zero-waste. We launched our Return To Nature collection just last month, which was the result of two years of research and innovation. It has involved seeking out tanneries who can offer fully traceable skins, tracking down craftspeople who have developed pioneering tanning and finishing methods, and finding ways to make straps adjustable and bags secure without using any hardware. The result is a collection of luxurious bags that have been created with the intention of being biodegradable at the end of their lives, not just to avoid further landfill but also to mimic nature’s circularity and start a conversation about fashion’s role in the climate crisis. Leading up to Christmas, we have also, as last year, not participated in Black Friday but instead showcased our collections and our responsibility as a brand. We don’t want to encourage over-consumption or impulse spending that could add to landfill. But instead, a more considered way to shop. Investment bags that will be loved for decades to come.
You have an innovative approach to single-use plastics – did you come up against any unexpected challenges on the journey to eliminating single-use plastics from your operations?
The I Am A Plastic Bag project took us two years of testing and researching techniques to find the best methods and partners. The luxurious, cotton canvas feel fabric used to make I Am A Plastic Bag is woven from a yarn created from the plastic bottles. The plastic bottles are first sorted, shredded, washed and then turned into pellets. These pellets are melted and extruded into fibres that are then spun and woven to create the fabric. It takes 32 half-litre bottles to make each large tote. To create a weather-resistant durable finish, the fabric is then coated in recycled PVB, a product which is extracted from old car windshields. To our knowledge, this is the first time that this has been done. It did not come without its complications but we are determined that this is the way forward – the circularity of materials.
Fashion is a notoriously wasteful industry. How challenging is the process of becoming zero-waste? Where would you recommend more wasteful companies start?
I think it is clear that we need to work faster towards our shared goals to halt the climate-change crisis. Working to the mantra of progress, not perfection, it is our hope that projects like I Am A Plastic Bag and Return To Nature offer our customers responsible alternatives, as well as using our platform for debate and education. I think that awareness is crucial and a good place to start.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT BUTTERFLY MARK-CERTIFIED BRAND ANYA HINDMARCH HERE