GLOBAL fashion brands seem unwilling to change their unethical and unsustainable practices. Although frustrating, it means change might have to come from the bottom up. This provides an opportunity for passionate start-up fashion brands who want to bring solutions to a crisis that has been ignored for too long.
I FIRST got chatting to Rich & Sam (left to right in the photo above), mates and co-founders of Goose Studios, a few months ago. Within minutes, I’d fallen in love with their approach to life, and to business. They’ve created Goose Studios in order to have some fun and help save the planet… They just happen to sell great fashion.
RECENTLY I caught up with them, and they filled me in on how to build an ethical wardrobe, what they predict for the future of the fashion industry, and just who Goose Studios’ BAE is.
Hi Guys! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. First of all… How on earth have you ended up running a sustainable/fair fashion brand?!
Rich: Back in 2015, we’d both just read Let My People Go Surfing by Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard, which showed us sustainability in fashion was something our generation needed. We had started putting together a line of t-shirts for Disco nights we organised whilst at uni. This merchandise line got out of hand, and the next thing we knew we were running a sustainable fashion brand!
Amazing! And why is sustainable fashion important to you?
Sam: After we’d read Let My People Go Surfing, we realised every product made has an impact on the planet. We both love the fashion scene, but want to make sure it has as little impact as possible. Stacey Dooley’s recent documentary also reinforced fast fashion’s shocking environmental impact. We know attitudes can be slow to change, which is what drives us to continually improve our efforts in flying the flag for fashion that doesn’t cost the earth.
Reverse of the navy long-sleeved tee
Nice one guys, and do you get the sense it’s as important to bigger, global fashion brands, and to the general public?
Sam: When it comes to the bigger brands and their production, it would be fair to say that most brands are making at best, a token effort. They heavily promote one or two sustainable styles, but these only make up a minute percentage of their ranges. Even though there are some exceptions like Weekday.
Rich: The good news though is that there is a large amount of smaller brands who are starting with a totally new philosophy, of being accountable and transparent when it comes to sustainability. We’re big fans of the likes of Finisterre and Know The Origin.
I think 2018 was a good year for sustainable and ethical clothing starting to get recognition from the public. Big exhibitions like Fashion for Good in Amsterdam, and Fashioned By Nature at the V&A, have definitely helped sustainable fashion hit the media. And it feels like it’s here to stay.
Let’s hope so! And how do you guys go about making sure Goose Studios’ supply chain and product is as sustainable, and ethical, as possible?
Sam: We rely on making sure that all our suppliers have the global accreditations that ensure we have an audited, ethical and fair, sustainable supply chain. This starts with only using 100% GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) organic cotton, minimising the abuse of toxic chemicals polluting soil and waterways.
Rich: Our suppliers also have Fair Wear foundation membership, meaning they pay a fair living wage in their respective countries of production, and it ensures the continual development of worker rights.
We’ve just had news that our t-shirts are now PETA certified, meaning the production is animal cruelty free and vegan friendly. All our tees are also hand printed by our friends over at Memory Screen Print Studios using water based inks, we visit them a few times a year so know exactly what’s going on. Equally our packaging is 100% recyclable and we are now also a plastic free company. Meaning that all the processes we have control over, are plastic free.
That’s fantastic! When I started to get interested in fair fashion, I didn’t have a CLUE where to start – any advice for our readers on how to build an ethical wardrobe?
Rich: You can make really easy swaps with your basics first. Switch your cotton t-shirts and sweatshirts to an organic cotton version. There are some great organic cotton underwear brands too. For items like jackets, try marketplaces like ASOS marketplace or Depop where you can pick up ace second hand vintage pieces, denim jackets especially. Charity shops are a great cheaper alternative too, especially for items like waxed jackets or oversized vintage sportswear.
Any more brands you’d like to recommend?
Sam: Goose Studios!
Rich: But seriously, brands like Weekday are great starting points for casual style, with a solid range of organic tees, sweats and denim. Finisterre are a more adventure lifestyle brand, and are a bit pricey. But their jackets are top notch, super stylish and last forever… I think they do free repairs too.
Rich: If you need a winter jacket take a look at Ecoalf. We’d love to see them become the new sustainable Canada Goose. It’s quite high-end though, it used to be cheaper!
Sam: And for footwear we live in our Vejas – they take a while to break in, but they’ll last for ages. Mine are 2 years in of daily use and still going strong. I like to think I got them before they were cool!
Thanks guys – great reco’s – and in your opinion, will the fashion industry become more sustainable?
Sam: In short, yeah, it will have too. It’s fashion or the world… Depressing right?! But it’s like all polluting industries, there’ll come a point when everyone’s like “Oh shit, it all needs to change. Right now.” And I don’t think we’re too far off that to be honest.
… And the future for Goose Studios?
Rich: Even if us growing a bit makes bigger brands think about being sustainable too, then that’s a win for the planet! We genuinely believe we are arriving at a tipping point where fashion needs to wake up and start taking its environmental responsibilities seriously.
Sam: We want to show people they can have it all – an organically sourced, sustainable garment, that looks great, feels great, and doesn’t cost the earth.
Exciting times! And finally thanks so much for talking to me… Just one last favour… Describe Goose Studios in three words?
Sam: David. Attenborough’s.
GUYS – thanks so much for checking this post out – it really means a lot to me 🙂 Goose Studios is a fantastic example of a start-up business bucking the trend of fast fashion, and helping us move towards a more sustainable way of consuming and living. I hope to bring you guys many more interviews with other such projects in the near future, so watch this space.