In honour of Fashion Revolution Week we wanted to take the time to share how our team are working to support a global fashion industry that conserves and supports the environment and values people over growth and profit. As a brand, our responsibility and sustainability goals are ever changing, as we strive for improvements in all areas, month-on-month, year-on-year.
St Agni’s ethos from day one has been to continually realign ourselves ever closer towards a future in the fashion industry that is responsible, transparent and community-driven.
As a fashion and lifestyle brand that believes in the transformative quality of clothing, we are also acutely aware of the negative impact that our own industry has on the planet. This knowledge colours everything that we do; designing clothing that outlasts the fast-fashion life-cycle, working with artisans in creating hand-made pieces, using vegetable dyed products of superior quality and sourcing low-impact, natural fibres rather than their synthetic counterparts.
We believe in reconceptualising our relationship with clothing as something that will love you in return for years to come.
We believe that fashion should be slow, and as a business we don’t want to over consume.
All of our clothing and footwear are designed to last, valuing fair treatment to people and the environment. Only ordering to meet our demand, we internally keep our stock levels at minimum and as a business we believe in our responsibility to promote slower consumption habits among our customers. We commit to this by being consistent in all our actions and processes.
As part of our efforts we are continuing to stream-line processes in order to commit to zero-waste packaging along all aspects of the supply chain. All of our packaging, both online and in store, is made of recyclable and compostable materials. As for our office and warehouse we have minimised the use of plastic within our business by 80% and plan to be 90% plastic free by 2021.
We are also excited to continue our collaboration with Carbon Neutral in planting one tree for every transaction we make to regenerate degraded farmland with native plant species. Plant vegetation act as carbon sinks, processing and removing carbon from the atmosphere. In supporting Carbon Neutral, we pledge to lighten our carbon footprint by offsetting the load created in the everyday operations of our small business. As of January 2020 we have planted 6,235 trees through this initiative and we are eager to watch the ‘St Agni forest’ grow in the years to come.
The provenance of our textiles is of utmost importance to us, as well as their impact on the environment, which is why we select natural materials that are easily broken down. Our latest collection comprises of bamboo, linen, silk, cotton, hemp, alpaca, Tencel and organic cotton, which are all biodegradable fabrics. We make a strong effort to avoid synthetic fabrics and when we do, we only use recycled synthetics in a very small percentage.
You can shop a careful curation of our most sustainable and environmentally responsible pieces here:
The Sustainable Edit
Our shoes are produced with vegetable-tanned leather. As the term states, vegetable-tanned leather is treated with entirely natural and organic tannins. They are extracted from vegetables or trees and infused into the grain of the hide.
Our leathers are sourced from a silver rated supplier medalled by The Leather Working Group (LWG), a not-for-profit membership organisation that counts with audit protocols designed to certify leather manufacturers according to their environmental compliance and performance capabilities. We use leather that is sourced locally to production and ensure the hides we use are a by-product from the meat industry.
We also make the shoes in as minimal way as possible with none of the thermoplastic stiffeners you typically see in the toe or heel of factory made shoes which are placed for aesthetics but also is the culprit of many blisters. we feel like this ability to mould to your foot is critical to making a comfortable and unique shoe.
Our endeavour is to achieve supply chain traceability from start to end. We want to ensure ethical working conditions all throughout our supply chain. We in person have visited most of the main factories and also count with our own Code of Conduct that our suppliers are obliged to sign at the beginning of our work partnership, committing to safe conditions and healthy environment within the workplace. We intend to build consciousness on sustainable practices within partners and stakeholders.
Although our suppliers hold a number of internationally recognised certifications, we have been working with our key suppliers to continue certification (SA8000, Smeta, Fairtrade, Wrap, Gots, BSCI) into 2021. For that purpose we have put a plan in place to support them financially with 50% of their certification process.
We have decided to take the approach of education and development, to bring new certified factories into the manufacturing industry. Rather than abandoning our current manufacturers, we believe that it is our responsibility to work with our factories to reach certification. The relationships that we form with our manufacturers is at the centre of our business, which is why we have dedicated the time and resources to implement this long-term plan.
In regards to our footwear, we work with skilled local artisans in India and Indonesia to bring our creations alive, it’s such an honour working with these craftsmen and women and watching their business grow alongside ours.
You can find more information about our manufacturers on our responsibility page.
We try to get involved in philanthropic activities as much as we can. We take part on global initiatives such as International Women’s Day and have organised fundraisers supporting numerous causes important for our communities and the environment.
As a brand that has been designed by and for Women, we donate 100% of all profits placed on IWD to UN Women. In support of the beautiful landscape that sustains us, we managed to raise $17,242 to Red Cross Australia through online and in-store sales alone for those affected by the devastating Australian Bushfires. In partnership with Velvet Canyon and Flash Jewellery we managed to fundraise an additional $17,816 collectively. Each member of the St. Agni team is responsible in deciding which organisations best service the causes that we donate to, creating a sense of shared responsibility.
We have recently associated with Worn for Good a social enterprise that collects designer apparel to shop for a fraction of the retail price. The totality of profits go to our three charity partners who support women in need, combining conscious consumerism and compassion with every purchase.
Responsibility, transparency and a sense of community are not just goals to be reached, but life-long commitments, attitudes and choices with which to orient ourselves. Engaging with the wider St Agni community is how we plan to continue learning and growing as a business that’s receptive and amorphous to the needs of its people.