We are proud to be an ethical and sustainable fashion brand and want our lacies and other pieces to be little celebrations enjoyed by women everywhere, without coming at the cost of the environment or its inhabitants.
Fashion should be about empowering people, giving everyone across the planet a decent wage and working environment and using materials that cause as minimal impact on the planet as possible whether that is vintage materials like ours, materials made from post-consumer waste or new natural materials.
This is why one of our values here at Brighton Lace is to create beautiful lace lingerie sets, tops and loungewear which are perfect for conscious women who care about how their clothing came to life.
Being an ethical and sustainable fashion brand is incredibly important to us
Our vision with Brighton Lace has always been to create feel-good lingerie handmade by empowered women, exactly what fashion should be. The sad truth is, a lot of what we’ve come to see as ‘fashion’ has been made under shocking conditions in factories around the world. Lots of companies outsource their clothing which means that even the fashion brand themselves may not even know (or turn a blind eye) to what extent garment workers are being exploited, allowing them to claim ignorance and take responsibility.
This was brought to the public attention with the Rana Plaza Collapse in 2013, an event that shocked so many of us immensely and kicked many people into action to campaign about the way we produce our clothes including Fashion Revolution, a really inspiring organisation.
A lot of this can be blamed on the increasing pressure for factory owners to produce cheap clothing at a ridiculous pace, this is why we are huge advocates of paying a fair price for slow fashion, steering away from fast-fashion and looking to beautiful products that have been crafted with the creativity and longevity that has been lost.
What makes us an ethical fashion brand?
Our business is based in Brighton, England and this is where our three women team design, hand-make, hand-dye and package all our pieces. Everyone involved is paid a living wage, and we are able to work in comfortable conditions doing something we love.
Traditional crafts were moved away from the UK abroad and were blown up into large-scale production. Making clothes has become associated with speed, convenience and cheapness in a system that is exploitative for everyone involved. What was once seen as an artisanal, highly creative and skilled craft that was an integral part of local economies and community has been lost. This is something that we find incredibly sad.
Everyone deserves to be paid an empowering living wage and their work valued in the same way. Choosing to buy handmade products like our lacies means that not only are you buying beautiful clothing you are supporting a creative skill, helping makers earn a living from a livelihood they are passionate about.
We want to create beautiful lingerie that supports women to enjoy being themselves and our pieces are made with love and care, to be loved and cherished by the wearer. We adore creating slow fashion, taking our time to choose new designs, pick our beautiful colours and see our visions come to life in front of our eyes. You can follow this whole process on our Instagram @brightonlace where we’re always posting behind the scenes videos and pictures.
You can also meet some of us in the flesh! Every Saturday Lou takes Brighton Lace to the Portabello Market in London!
Our products are made in England and materials sourced from Europe This means that it is much easier to track all parts of our supply chain – making being a conscious business a lot easier this also helps us control our environmental impact too.
Why we’re a sustainable fashion brand too
Sustainable fashion spans a lot of things including providing fair wages and having a positive social impact as mentioned above. It also refers to environmental impact too. The fast-fashion industry is one of the biggest pollutants in the world and one that comes at a huge cost to our environment. The impact is significant throughout the life cycle of many garments we’ve come to love including the production of the raw materials, the creation of the garment, how it’s used and cared for, and finally how its disposed of. That’s why it’s so important to keep materials and garments in the loop.
In a recent BBC documentary where Stacie Dooley explores ‘Fashions Dirty Secrets’, she talks about a lot these issues including the terrifying impact the fashion industry has had on the Aral Sea. It’s definitely a must watch.
We’re so inspired by the natural world around us and care deeply about our beautiful planet. Thinking about how much we are all polluting our surroundings is heartbreaking. This is why we try and be as zero waste as possible and reduce our impact as much as we can. There really is so much pre-existing material out there already – from second-hand clothing, to end of line and offcuts, all of which are sitting there waiting to be used. But, they do always say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
How our lacies come to life
All our lingerie and other pieces are made from gorgeous remnant laces and vintage fabrics leftover from the British fashion industry. We’re proud to be reusing, recycling and saving these beautiful materials from going to waste – instead, crafting them into something beautiful. After we’ve found the perfect laces for our collections we then hand dye them here in Sussex in our specially chosen colour combinations and make them up. The best thing about using vintage materials and remnants is that our lovely lacies are not only environmentally friendly, they are also limited edition and completely unique.
We believe it is a business’s responsibility to be more sustainable in their practices and allow people the options to buy beautiful things that don’t come at a cost to the environment.
Clothing purchases have massively increased in the last few years – we’re paying less, buying more and only keeping things for a short amount of time. According to WRAP ‘on average, clothing lasts for 3.3 years before they are discarded or passed on’ to make way for the new. A lot of clothing ends up going straight into landfill after only a few years of wear, a shocking fact when most clothing causes such significant pollution during its production. This attitude isn’t sustainable and is devaluing our clothing.
We want to provide you with an alternative, handcrafting special pieces that you will want to love and cherish forever.
But how do you know if a company is actually ethical or sustainable?
Ethical and Sustainable fashion has now become a buzzword that has been getting more and more mainstream usage. This is great in terms of awareness, but with so many big brands jumping on this bandwagon and claiming that they are sustainable, it can be hard to know who is genuine and who isn’t, this is called ‘Greenwashing’. ‘Sustainable fashion’ as a term is tricky because it can mean a variety of things.
The most valuable thing a business can offer you is transparency, if a company is transparent in their practices then this allows you to make sure that they align with your values. Small independent businesses like ours that make locally and promote slow fashion are a great place to start, especially if you are able to meet the designers and makers in person. Find out more about why it’s great to shop at small independent businesses here.
Remember, never be afraid to ask questions about where your clothes have come from, who they’re made by and how they’ve been made – if they won’t tell you, they’ve probably got something to hide.
If you have any questions at all about Brighton Lace, our practices and our materials feel free to send us a message and we’ll be more than happy to answer them. Also, we know we’re not perfect and always looking for ways to improve and grow as a business, your feedback and ideas are more than welcome.
If you want to learn more about ethical and sustainable fashion check out organisations like Labour Behind the Label and Fashion Revolution. Also, for more inspiration follow our favourite Instagrammers @storiesbehindthings.