An Interview With Eco-Fashion Brand Rapanui Pt 2

If you missed Part 1 of my interview with Mart Drake-Knight of eco-fashion brand Rapanui you can read that HERE. Here in part 2 we discuss fashion’s carbon emissions, whether or not fashion is incompatible with sustainability and who’s responsible for BP’s oil gusher.

You guys are so thorough on it’s difficult to come up with any questions for you that you haven’t already answered! So let’s go through a few of your practices and provide some linkbacks to your site with a few more questions thrown in.

Textiles Origins:

Organic, sustainable textiles, Organic Cotton, Bamboo Viscose, Hemp. Also considering cradle-to-cradle PET for accessories and caps. Learn more HERE

Labor Practices:

Fairwear Foundation / Max Haavlar / Fair-trade Learn more about their labor practices HERE

Fabric Dying/Treatment Practices:

Closed-Loop Dying, 3-stage reverse osmosis water filtration system, ISO 14001, OEKO-TEX standard 100

Silkscreening Practices:

Hand Screened in the UK, closed loop. Learn more HERE.

Click to enlarge-Left to Right: Raw, organic cotton gathered at the ginning plant, Organic cotton turns into a fine jersey fabric, Fabric being sewn

When most people think of carbon emissions they think of cars, please explain what carbon emissions have to do with clothing and what your practices are regarding carbon emissions?

Most clothing is made in the far east. Fast fashion has such rapid deadlines that often it is air freighted to reduce turnaround times. We measure the carbon emissions per garment at Rapanui and reduce them. For example, by sourcing manufacturing from a wind-powered factory and working with our suppliers and our business plan to ensure we use shipping rather than planes, we have reduced the carbon emissions on key lines per garment by over 80% – that’s years ahead of the Kyoto/G20 targets for emissions reductions.

Carbon reduction isn’t about one bit 50%, its about 50 1%s. And that’s true in our company, nationally or internationally. Everyone can make a difference and we want to do our bit too.

Still 80% of carbon emissions from clothing come post-purchase, from washing and drying clothing. Our site, wash care instructions and clothing all focus on reducing post-purchase emissions. We believe our responsibility to design sustainable clothing doesn’t stop at the consumer, it continues through the use stage through to disposal.

Click to enlarge- Left to Right: Hemp crop field, Hemp is spun into wool, End result- Motura Jacket £69.95

Our bamboo and organic cotton fabric is biodegradable and we encourage our customers to send back or fwd on old garments to our local Morsbag scheme to turn our t shirts into reusable shopping bags.

More info on our carbon emissions HERE

More info on post purchase clothing emissions HERE

Having a co-founder with a class degree in Renewable Energy Engineering from University of Exeter’s Cornwall campus – the only course of its kind in the world is certainly an asset. Based on that knowledge what do you guys find is the most common misconception people have about the environment and sustainability?

Climate change conspiracy is quite frustrating but understandable based on the multi-billion budget oil companies spend on climate change marketing each year.

But really, its not that people don’t care, its just that they don’t know. It seems having grown up detached from the environment we are oblivious to the consequence/action relationship as perhaps was once the case.

We’re trying to change that.

What do you think is the most common misconception people have about sustainable fashion?

That its expensive. Our competitors t-shirts are priced between £25 and £30 plus delivery. At Rapanui if you sign up to our newsletter you get free shipping and our t-shirts are priced at £24.95.

Are the planned obsolescence and trends of fashion incompatible with sustainability?

Not at all, its just that the only people who seem to be passionate enough to try eco-fashion brands are earth-mother style “hippies”, there’s no trouble in that it’s just that baggy hemp hoodies aren’t what the yoof want!

Having 12 of our staff under 25 [years old] gives us a unique advantage not just over other eco-fashion brands, but over most fashion brands out there.

Would you like to share a bit about how you are eco conscious in your daily lives and in your offices?

Its just about being aware. Once you get educated to the environment things like switching off the light- riding the office bike to the post office rather than take the car etc. are autopilot jobs. But really, with the atmosphere in here, being eco is infectious. It’s the atmosphere we’re trying to pass on to our customers and to other people interested in the brand.

Any thoughts on BP’s ecocide in the Gulf of Mexico?

Everyone who uses oil in their lives is to blame.

Thanks for your participation!

No worries at all

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