The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. It accounts for around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of water consumption. The environmental impact of the textile industry has led us to take a different path and create fashion sustainably based on local resources. To show companies a functional alternative and offer customers quality fashion that minimizes environmental burden and ethical impacts.
What are the problems of fast fashion?
The release of artificial particles smaller than 5 mm into the environment has become a topical issue not only in the clothing industry. These are insoluble particles that have a negative impact on plants and animals, including humans. Microplastics have already been found in drinking water and have also been found in the placenta of newborn babies.
In our studio, we work primarily with certified nano fabrics on which we do not perform any surface treatment, so there is nothing to release microparticles from.
According to the World Textile Organization, cotton accounts for approximately 24% of the world's textile fibre consumption. Cotton cultivation is very demanding in terms of water consumption (approximately 2 700 litres of water is needed to produce one T-shirt), land use, which is eroded by long-term cotton cultivation, and chemicals. Cotton is susceptible to pests and diseases. Cotton growers therefore use large quantities of pesticides to protect their crops. Up to 25% of all pesticides and 11% of all herbicides in the world are used on cotton. These pesticides can contaminate soil, water and air and can have a negative impact on human and animal health.
Cotton is not a primary production material for us because of the ecological demands of its cultivation. In the LADA atelier, we work mainly with nano fabrics, whose ecological advantage is, among many others, the absence of water or dangerous chemicals during production.Some of our models are also made from natural materials that occur naturally in Central Europe, such as linen or wool. For the part of our clothing where we work with cotton, we use only Egyptian cotton. This is the best quality cotton in the world, which is long-lasting and is also grown closest to Central Europe.
Transport accounts for approximately 25% of the textile industry's total greenhouse gas emissions. This is due to the fact that the textile material is usually produced on a different continent than it is processed. And even the actual sewing of the clothes takes place in sweatshops with cheap labour and often on the opposite side of the globe from where the fashion brand is based. Behind the clothes on display in the store, then, is a long series of fossil fuel-based air, ship and road transport.
The LADA atelier operates on the most local production possible. We order our nano fabric yardage, springs and boxes from regional manufacturers within a 180 km radius. Not only to support small businesses or ecology, but also so that we can supervise production and, if necessary, consult and adjust it with the manufacturers.
Cheap clothing production is conditioned by the harsh working conditions of workers in the textile industry in developing countries. In addition to critically low wages, which often do not even cover the cost of living, they face long working hours and inadequate occupational health protection (especially with chemicals). The absence of trade unions makes it impossible for workers to defend their interests and improve their working conditions. On the other hand, they often have to face physical and sexual harassment, racism and discrimination.
Every piece of LADA clothing is made by Czech tailors right in our atelier. We care not only about the quality of the handmade work, but also about ethical working conditions and fair treatment. In the atelier, management and seamstresses work side by side in a friendly environment.
Dyeing textiles is an important component of garment production, which imposes a burden on the environment. A variety of dyes are used, including toxic chemicals that risk being released into waterways. In addition, textile dyeing is very water intensive. For example, it takes about 100 litres of water to dye one kilogram of cotton material. This process emits approximately 2.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the air.
We are increasingly working with undyed fabrics in our fashion collections precisely because we are skipping a production step that puts a strain on the environment. In the case of dyeing our nano fabrics, we personally control the conditions under which the materials are dyed. And both undyed and dyed fabrics are OEKOTEX STANDARD 100 certified.
This is the approach most Western societies take to clothing. Clothing has lost its value over the decades and is now characterised by low price and quality, rapid turnover of collections and short life span. Because of this trend, fast fashion is produced in developing countries where environmental and social standards are ignored, greatly reducing the cost of production.
Atelier LADA is meeting the idea of slow fashion and limiting the production of large quantities of clothes. Above all by producing clothes with an emphasis on quality, durability, multifunctional use and minimalist design. Thanks to these attributes, the clothes will last for many years and will always be up-to-date and combinable regardless of fashion trends.
The fashion industry is one of the biggest producers of waste. Approximately 92 million tonnes of clothing are thrown away every year. Non-organic materials such as cotton, polyester or nylon blends are often used in the production of clothing and are quickly worn out and discarded. These blends tend to be difficult to recycle or compost.
The LADA atelier prevents wasteful production of clothing, especially in the case of custom-made products. All the clothes that our seamstresses make already know their owner. And the same goes for the production of yardage. We only have it made if we are able to use it all. Of course, the surplus-free economy also includes the use of fabric scraps for accessories.
Eco-friendly fashion vs. Greenwashing
Increasingly, the consumer may come across companies using the trend of slow fashion and environmental protection as a marketing tool. Deliberately misleading consumers about the environmental friendliness of their production is called greenwashing. This is, for example, highlighting organic cotton, which is still burdened by the consumption of hectolitres of water, the plundering of nature and imports from halfway around the world. Or labelling products as 'Fair Trade' when the brand fails to monitor the conditions in which workers work to grow the raw material or make the clothes. Exposing companies that talk about sustainability but don't actually practice it is simple. But it's up to us, the customers. It's up to our willingness to seek out information and verify the information written in advertising campaigns and on clothing labels.
How do I check the sustainability of my clothes myself?
- Trace the place of production of the product. For example, if a Swedish brand has MADE IN THAILAND on its clothes, it will not be very sustainable.
- Find out the practices of fashion brands before buying their product and read their independent reviews.
- Check that clothing companies state the origin of the material.
- Check information on the brand's official website about ethical labour standards in their sweatshops.
- Look for independent certifications of quality and environmental standards.
You can check what sustainable standards we pride ourselves on at the LADA atelier here.