I like it sustainable
We at PLEIN PUBLIQUE have also been getting more and more questions about this lately. Do we also work on sustainability? And if: what do we do, and how exactly do we do that?
These seem like easy questions, but the answer to them isn't really. But it is a fact that sustainability is a concept that is inextricably linked to our times. Time for some pondering. Sustainability is a hot topic.
However we look at it, as a society we have not done very well in terms of sustainability in recent decades.
And that is not only due to the use of non-sustainably produced goods, but mainly due to excess. We've got it all, but it just isn't enough:
- Two cars out front? Of course! Easy if you both want to do something different. But really necessary?
- At least twice a year on holiday with the whole family, by plane, off to a far, warm place on at least one of those trips? Of course, we should enjoy and make sure we do a lot of cool things. We need a good story to tell our friends and familie don't we? :-)
- A completely new outfit in your wardrobe every season? Naturally! How do you think big shops like the H&M and Zara have become so big?
But let's limit ourselves to fashion for a bit: you used to have blue jeans, and maybe some black jeans. One pair for casual cool and the other for a little less casual. But now take a look in your closet? Skinny black jeans, skinny jeans, flared jeans, casual fit jeans and a pair of jeans you wear only when you go out for a drink with your BFF and so on. That's what we mean. Excess.
And what happens when there is so much choice? Then you don't remember what you have in your closet anymore and you start asking yourself "Do I really need this?" That is a trend that we expect to see in the future. Consume-lessening. And speaking of sustainably produced items, where do we see this in clothing?
Bio or Organic ??
One of the questions we regularly get is whether we have biological cotton or organic cotton.
I can always answer that easily. No, we don't. We have tried using bio & organic cotton but we were not happy with the results.
Let me expand on organic cotton. The difference with normal cotton and organic cotton is the way the cotton is grown. Less pesticides are used during the production of organic cotton. That sounds nice right? Yes, but it turns out that the pesticides used on organic cotton are more harmful than the pesticides used on regular cotton. Bummer.
Another problem is the way in which the organic cotton plant grows. These plants are smaller and produce less cotton. Because of this, you have to grow way more plants to make the same shirt. And for this, more than double the amount of water is needed than for normally produced cotton.
All these things don't make me very happy. But what really ticks me off is that a red organic t-shirt is impossible to make. It does not exist. The fabric may be organically produced, but a bright red dye cannot be found in nature, so the shirt simply cannot be dyed with an organic dye. And yet these shirts are sold as organic and only in the very fine print it is mentioned that 'organic' turns out not to be that organic after all.
Don't get me wrong, I am in favor of new initiatives, because they often result in great inventions. But once marketing takes over, it's usually not so good for the environment anymore.
What do we do for sustainability at PLEIN PUBLIQUE?
Of course we try to produce our beautiful items with a sustainable approach, but we are simply not a big corporate player. We're a small team, we can't just drop everything to jet to the factory (which isn't really sustainable either, by the way) for a guerrilla inspection. But we work with honest manufacturers and pay a fair price for our items, not the kind of Primark pricing that you can be sure uses shady practices to justify their insane prices. So yes, we are reasonably certain that the people and the environment will suffer acceptably little damage from our production.
But the most important thing is that we go for slow fashion instead of fast fashion: we call these kinds of clothing time travellers. They are products that are timeless classics, of the genre that you are not easily bored with. Because the longer you use your clothes, the more sustainable you are.
Did you know that we have many items in the collection that have been there for more than three years? They have not been on sale and are still fashionable. A nice indicator of sustainability.
Cost per Wear
But you can also look at it differently with the cost-per-wear principle.
You can calculate the cost-per-wear of an item by dividing the purchase price by the number of times you wear the garment. It is often used as an excuse for when you've bought some expensive clothing again, but an excellent indication of how sustainable you are. The cost-per-wear of timeless, high-quality clothing is often lower than that of any cheap blouse that you have worn maybe once or twice. That is why we focus on those timeless models in high quality fabrics and yarn. For example, the cost-per-wear of my favorite L’AIMEE shirt is now almost 0.
So we don't have a whole new collection every season, but regularly introduce beautiful items that last a long time and are timeless enough to be worn with pride for two (or three, or four etc.) years. We do not sell everything right after the season because we know, a new season is just about to start.
Did you know that you don't need to wash your clothes as much as you are used to do?
Unless there is a real stain on it, you can easily wear something a few times. It saves water and soap. We take this into account when choosing the fabrics and yarns for our products. These are mainly natural (wool, cotton, silk) and some new-gen synthetics (viscose) and do not smell quickly. A good example is the merino and cashmere wool that we use in most of our sweaters: you hardly ever have to wash them! Wool cleans itself when you hang it in the open air, so that saves water and detergent!
Wrap it up!
Then there is the packaging. This is something we pondered over for a long time, because your beautiful newly purchased products must of course also arrive neatly and well packed. But to use plastic for packaging is really out of the question at team PLEIN PUBLIQUE. We don't use it, we don't want to.
So this is where the cardboard and paper comes in. You may know the boxes our products arrive in at your doorstep and we are still experimenting to see what works the easiest in terms of size. In any case, we use boxes made of recycled material where possible and re-use boxes that come back if they still look good.
We know you care!
Long story short; sustainability is a flexible concept.
It can be individually filled in by large multinationals as well as small-scale niche entrepreneurs, die-hard barricade revolutionaries or mild-but-not-unwilling average consumers.
And which group you belong to does not really matter, I think: as long as you are aware that your behavior leaves a carbon footprint, try to do whatever you can to live sustainable.
In any case, we at PLEIN PUBLIQUE attach great importance to sustainability. That is why we produce long-term clothing. The natural materials we use are top quality, last a long time, and our cashmere and merino wool items require very little maintenance so you save all that water from washing them. Moreover, we bring you true classics that will never go out of fashion. Now you don't need to change the contents of your wardrobe every season ... or are we suggesting something strange now? ;-)
In fact, our best advice is: buy better clothes, buy less than before, wear your clothes more often and wash them less often. We do too.
Do you have tips?
Mail me and I will wait for your message.