March 21, 2019
The Arnhem Revive Collection
The Arnhem brand was built upon and inspired by a deep appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounds us, and a desire to protect that beauty by instigating sustainable fashion practices. This commitment to be an inspirer and initiator of change in the fashion industry has led to a trail-blazing creation of which Arnhem is tremendously proud; The Revive Collection. In line with our love for dreamy clothing and environmental-mindfulness, stand by for frequent injections of beautiful and imaginative new pieces created from excess fabric from previous collections- and behold, the Lily showstoppers are here.
These impossibly lovely designs have been created from the offcuts of our stunning La Bohéme Collection. The tops conjure visions of dancing salsa under starry skies, of embarking on destination-less adventures. The scrunchy is the ultimate in sweetness and mischievousness. The knowledge that these items have been crafted from what would have otherwise been discarded heightens the sense of wonder they inspire.
As mentioned above, the material we choose is of the upmost importance in determining its sustainability. The first relishable designs in the Revive Collection are made from Lenzing tencel, the fibers of which are of botanic origin, extracted from sustainably and responsibly sourced renewable raw wood pulp. The fiber production is exceptionally ecofriendly, owing to the closed loop system; meaning almost 100% of the solvent is reused. The material is soft on the skin and the planet, being closed loop and compostable.
Sustainability in Fashion: A Reimagining
How wonderful the feeling of donning a beautiful outfit that makes us feel like our truest, most inspired self- the feeling of deep confidence that ensues! The springy steps it inspires! Yet the sweetness of this self-expression is somewhat tainted when we consider the planetary impact of the fashion industry. Troublingly, the industry and its consumers have become a key contributor to the environmental crisis we now face. The recent past featured a breaking of the earth into parts as we sought to master and commodify, in response to/creating insatiable capitalist desires. But change is afoot; with increasing consciousness, a shift, a reimagining. Now, we step back, gain perspective, and see the wholeness of the earth; the inconceivable interconnectedness and interdependence. We’re one thing. So, in light of this burgeoning understanding, we investigate how we may balance the natural and wonderful desire to express ourselves with beautiful and unique pieces of clothing, with the need to safeguard this most wondrous blue-green globe. In order to solidify the necessity of this shift, let us first explore the mechanisms that led to this predicament- the linear fashion model, otherwise known as Fast fashion.
The Perils of Fast fashion
Fast fashion: cheap, trendy clothing that references styles from the catwalk and celebrity culture and moves them into stores at a dizzying rate. This approach to fashion naturally tends to disregard longevity, sustainability and ethics in its considerations. Culturally, the result has been a shift towards impulsive spending and viewing clothing as disposable, with items often being discarded after being worn only a handful of times.
On the environmental front, the fast fashion approach has left a trail of destruction. The fashion industry is now the second most prolific polluter, surpassed only by the oil industry (1). About 20% of industrial water pollution is due to garment manufacturing (2). 15% of fabric ends up on the cutting room floor. Should we continue at this rate, growth in middle classes in countries such as India and China will mean that we’ll use three times the natural resources in 2050 than we did in 2000 (2).
What confronting figures! How should we respond; shall we mourn the days of lovely clothes, pop on a hessian sack and trudge on? Or might we utilize human innovation, that most boundless of resources, to reimagine the future of the fashion industry? For answers, we look to that timeless symbol, recurring in myths and legends throughout history and cultures: the circle.
In imitation of the circle of life, circular fashion aims to move toward a zero waste model, meaning clothes are designed with durability, resource efficiency, non-toxicity, biodegradability, recyclability and sound ethics in mind (3). Products should be in use for as long as possible (achieved by diligent care, repair, sharing, swapping etc.). After the product has been exhausted as is, it should be redesigned to reinstate life. Next, the material should be recycled for the manufacture of new products, and if that’s not possible, the material should be compostable so it may become nutrients for plants and other living organisms (3). Two thirds of a garment’s environmental impact is determined on the basis of its material, thus the sourcing of sustainable, low-impact fibres is key in the creation of kinder-to-the-earth clothing. Installing a circular fashion model serves to minimise negative social and environmental impacts of clothing production by placing a focus on regenerative and restorative processes (4).
Here, on the precipice of environmental crisis, the time to weave together a new understanding of the earth and the way we consume is now. The above statistics make clear the untenable nature of the fast fashion approach; not only from an environmental perspective but also on the social front, where it’s lead to the consumerist, must-have-it-now mentality that characterises our time. Changing the way we see and consume fashion is vital. Yet to address only our buying habits would be to look at the symptom rather than the cause of our present predicament; the central issue being the way we view and relate to this earth.
Arnhem’s visionary Revive Collection is evidence that beautiful, individual clothing can be compatible with forward-looking and responsible environmental practice. More than just a beautiful, captivating collection, this initiative represents a shift; empowering the consumer to make choices in line with the knowledge that what we do to our planet, we do to ourselves. Upon plunging into the cool sea, or feeling morning sun seeping into both skin and heart, sense the aliveness of this planet. For when we recognise the aliveness, change; deep, sustainable change, will be the natural outcome.
GFA Circular Design Toolbox