You know that feeling when an issue or cause you care about feels so large, and you want to help so badly but you have no freaking idea where to begin? There’s also the part where you’re completely doubting your own abilities to make any sort of meaningful change (hello, imposter syndrome!)
Well, that’s exactly where we were about 18 months ago. Acutely aware of how we were contributing negatively to the environment, but not having a freaking clue of what move to make next, and feeling as frozen as a McCain’s vegan Margherita (do they make those? They totally should.)
It was around this time that we remembered some smart dude once said knowledge is power (or more likely, some smart woman and her husband took the credit), and it began to dawn on us that perhaps once we had the knowledge, we might start to feel a little more powerful.
This knowledge came in the form of a free online course by London College of Fashion. It broke down the sustainability fundamentals within the fashion industry, and gave us a really good idea of how and where we should be making our first moves.
It was at precisely this point that we started to think of sustainability like a pizza. Not like a regular pizza where you sprinkle a few toppings over the whole thing, but more like a magical one, where each slice is a different flavour, and you can only take it one slice at a time. When you’re on the first slice you don’t even know what the other slices look like, but you trust that when you finish that first one, the second one will suddenly appear and you’ll know exactly what you need to eat (or do).
So just like any change-hungry humans would do, we picked up that first slice, the lowest barrier to entry steps towards sustainability we could see (let’s call it the mushroom slice), and we got to eating.
The thing about pizza, though, is that it tastes best when shared. And while people have been hogging their pizzas all to themselves for far too long now, we’re offering a bite of ours to anyone who’ll take it. Below we’ve detailed the recipe for our first slice, in the hopes that you’ll use it to create your own change, or send it to your favourite brands and tell them they better roll their freaking sleeves up, and get to making pizza.
- Switching out current materials for recycled versions.
There are so many recycled materials on the market now, it’s actually fairly easy to find recycled alternatives. Look for GRS-certified materials, and make sure the recycled component is a high percentage. Ours is 88%.
- Assess your carbon emissions.
All the little movements that your components make on the way to your factory make a big difference, so it’s important to find suppliers as close to your factory as possible to ensure the smallest travel distance – this can sometimes mean compromise. We had a material we loved in Mexico but just couldn’t justify the travel time. Avoid airfreight at all costs, and use a company like EcoCart to offset your remaining carbon.
- Rethinking packaging.
Minimise packaging wherever possible, and really get creative with your solutions. This season we got rid of our shipping mailer all together by sealing our shoe box, a simple swap that has saved so much waste. Opt for recycled paper or compostable materials wherever possible.
- Recycle old products.
This sounds complicated, but these days there are incredible recycle companies that are ready to partner with you. Save Our Soles and Upparel are based in Victoria and are wonderful, or do some research and find one in your area. You should definitely be recycling any faulty goods, and ideally be offering this service to customers to provide an end-of-life solution.
- Rethink your buy
Is there a way you can start purchasing less stock? Typically within the fashion industry brands anticipate being left with 30% stock at the end of every season. This is costly for you and costly for the environment. We’ve minimised our offering, stopped discounting, and moved away from trends to ensure our shoes can be worn for seasons to come.
And now that slice one is over, we’re working away at slice 2, or as we like to call her: the pineapple piece.
We’ve got no freaking idea what slice 3 looks like, and with the rate that new practices are being created we have a feeling that by the time we arrive at slice 10 a whole new pizza will appear, and we’ll just have to take a deep breath and dig in. But TWOOBS is committed to the sustainability journey, and we’re okay, hell we’re excited, with knowing we’ll likely be eating pizza for many years to come.
Jess & Stef, TWOOBS Founders