FASHION & ACCESSORIES
Story Wear is a zero-waste fashion brand founded in Taiwan in 2018. Their entire clothing and accessories range is handmade from 100% upcycled denim jeans, factory deadstock and other waste fabric by skilled makers from disadvantaged backgrounds. They design, source and manufacture locally in Taiwan, offering both ready-to-wear collections and bespoke tailoring in their own retail store, online and through carefully selected stockists.
Story Wear was founded after realising the enormous problem of fashion waste and wanting to find a solution that keeps fashion fun but responsible. Their choice of denim as a core raw material was born out of the sheer volume of denim waste in Taiwan – second only to cotton t-shirts – and the durability of this popular fabric for upcycling. From the outset, therefore, Story Wear has approached sustainability by putting the concept of circular economy into practice, creating new value from waste and keeping their carbon footprint to a bare minimum. They are also deeply committed to giving back to their local community wherever possible. As a small business, one of the most direct ways to do so is by employing those around them, and especially people from disadvantaged backgrounds who struggle to find fair work. Since 2018, Story Wear are proud to have created over 20 new jobs for those who would otherwise have found it difficult to hold down regular and quality employment.
BUTTERFLY MARK TESTIMONIAL
We are proud of what we have achieved so far, becoming the first fashion company in Taiwan to manufacture entirely from 100% waste fabric. But our sustainability journey is far from complete. As an ambitious start-up determined to demonstrate that social enterprise can be both scalable and profitable, we want to benchmark ourselves against the toughest global ESG+ standards to deliver greater social impact. For Story Wear, ESG+ is very much a moral duty rather than simply a measure of compliance. By undergoing certification, we have identified important areas for improvement, including issues that we wouldn’t have thought about before, and in doing so Story Wear can hopefully become a better-rounded business.
Story Wear’s business model is built upon cradle-to-cradle design methods, with handcrafted denim pieces are made from 100% upcycled materials. The brand has also implemented an end-of-life reclamation programme where customers can donate denim to their flagship store and receive 10% off their next purchase, rewarding circular consumption habits. Furthermore, by utilising 100% denim which is made from cotton, Story Wear’s fabrics are durable for wear, yet simultaneously easily recyclable, making their products circular down to the material level. Story Wear’s goal with this model is to contribute to the global circular economy, by using fabric that would otherwise be discarded by pre-existing fashion brands and manufacturers and, in turn, keeping fashion waste out of landfill and closing the loop.
Story Wear has made a positive impact on its local community in Taiwan by partnering with the Awakening Foundation and Ant Meet Cat Workshop to empower and upskill tailoresses and seamstresses who have been disproportionately displaced from their jobs – largely due to the fast fashion industry – and now find it difficult to find and maintain meaningful employment. Story Wear’s production line is comprised of local women and parents of Cerebral Palsy families, bringing wealth and job creation to the local economy. The brand also provides Zero Waste community workshops where they teach locals sewing and repair skills, encouraging garment care and longevity principles.
Sustainability is a key item on Story Wear’s agenda, as its mission is to reverse the fashion industry’s negative impact and redefine the value and positioning of fashion. Story Wear’s internal policies focus on sustainable decision-making within the company, and sustainability is always a key item on their leadership team’s agenda. The brand provides internal training for employees, encourage participation of everyone in the organisation’s social responsibility activities, and overall nurture a culture in which social and environmental sustainability are practised. Story Wear also creates awareness initiatives for external stakeholders, utilising their website and social channels as a platform to educate and encourage conscious fashion consumption, and outwardly supporting the industry initiative Fashion Revolution.