EthicalHour has been connecting us to some great ethical brands lately (if you haven’t got in on the action yet, what are you waiting for?)
There’s so many people out there doing amazing things in the ethical business space, and if we all collaborate to get the message out there we can encourage even more people to shop and live a more ethical life.
That’s the idea behind #EthicalHour and it’s what inspired us to launch a ‘Brands We Love’ feature right here on our blog, so we can get to know our ethical friends a little better.
Eco fashion and style expert Alyssa Couture kicked off our guest blog programme with this article on the leading cause of unsustainable fashion, and this week we’re really excited to welcome Kai from new ethical fashion start-up Lite Apparel, who kindly took part in an interview with us.
Kai has teamed up with a group of school friends to chase their childhood dream of starting their own clothing line:
What first got you interested in ethical and sustainable fashion?
For me personally, I was very lucky to spend some time in Hong Kong and China last year and interned at a sourcing and trading company in mainland China – The ODM Group.
They specialise in manufacturing and producing various promotional products for hundreds of world-leading brands.
Although my role was very much digital marketing orientated, I learnt a lot about managing production projects and had the opportunity to visit various factories around the South of China.
Quite fittingly, the factories I visited were of impeccable standard, yet it did raise the imperative importance of knowing where your products are being made and crucially how.
This was a real catalyst for getting things going with Lite and it is definitely a big reason why I appreciate ethical and sustainably produced products.
How has learning about this changed your consumer habits?
For me, it has simply meant that I don’t look for fast purchases anymore. If I am happy with a company, store or a particular brand’s ethical mantra and practices, then I am happy to continue supporting them.
One thing I have learnt as a consumer is that I in fact hold the power! Although ethical or sustainably produced products tend to be a little more expensive, generally the reason is because you are paying for a better quality product – and most importantly, a living wage for the individual who produced it.
Why do you think ethical and sustainable fashion is so important?
Though I’m definitely not one to pull out intellectual factual statistics, there are some that really hit us hard:
1) To date, 250 million 5-14 year old children are exploited in hundreds of thousands of sweat shops around the globe. These are the same sweat shops discovered to be, if not openly shared, utilized by several of our favourite high street retailers.
2) 25% of chemicals produced worldwide are used for textiles. With this, the fashion industry as a whole are widely branded as number 2 in the rankings of the highest polluters of clean water, just after agriculture.
3) In a regularly quoted study 16 out of 27 luxury fashion products, (59%), were tested positive for one or more hazardous chemicals!
Coupled with my experience in China, these three statistics and further research really demonstrates the importance of ethical fashion for me and I am glad that at Lite we can now contribute and inspire much needed change in the fashion industry.
Do you think it’s possible for the mainstream fashion industry to become more ethical and sustainable?
100%. It’s very promising as a new ethical and sustainable brand that a lot of ‘big name’ clothing providers are now beginning to become more aware of their responsibility, and big name ethical brands are really starting to shine in the mainstream world.
Consumers are becoming more and more conscious of what they are purchasing and as a result producers are simply having to provide more details and insights into the production of their products.
I think the industry has proven that ethical and sustainable fashion doesn’t have to be exceedingly pricey and there are no excuses for brands not to explore and practice ethical and non-environmental damaging methods when producing their products.
Tell me about your brand…
How do you ensure that your products are ethically and sustainable made?
From a very young age, I and a few school friends had always aspired and dreamt of starting our own clothing line.
A few weeks ago it was truly a moment of dreams becoming a reality, as a 14 year dream, and a 2 year full-on project, finally launched in Lite Apparel.
We are all very proud of announcing the start of Lite, and are very gracious to have received the fantastic response we have had so far. We always knew that we wanted to be diverse and different.
Although, at the same time we always felt that our designs were to be very simplistic and clean.
This is why instead of innovating through our design, we hoped to innovate through the processes and fabrics that we use to produce our products.
I think anyone who is interested or involved in fashion will be very much aware of the movement of sustainable and ethical fashion. However, we still believe that there is a lack of an inclusive conversation, particularly with those who may not be as so fashion orientated.
With this in mind, we hope to contribute and inspire a conversation that highlights the importance of ethical fashion – as well as imperatively being an inclusive one.
Ethical fashion covers a range of issues such as working conditions, exploitation, fair trade, the environment, and animal welfare.
Due to these issues not occurring in any (I hope) of our neighbourhoods, these may seem a little distant or far-fetched. Yet, they all are significant issues that must continue to be addressed and tackled together.
We also wanted to ensure that we weren’t in any way harming the environment through the creation of our products.
Through careful and meticulous attention we are very proud to share that all of our current 06.16 collection are comprised and formulated with 100% certified organic and traceable fabric and have been created with award-winning energy efficient, sustainable methods of production.
This is something we at Lite genuinely care about and will continue to practice as we explore methods of ethical and sustainable production.
We’re really excited to see what Lite Apparel get up to over the next few months. Check out their website to find out more about them. Kai and the team were even kind enough to offer 10% discount for Little Lotuses! Just enter the code LittleLotus to bag yourself an ethical bargain. Shop the collection now.
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