Footprints in Fashion
From the beginning, Mia Fratino has been committed to environmental and social responsibility: using natural materials, ethical sourcing, sustainable processes and remaining environmentally conscious. As a brand and as individuals, an important part of addressing these responsibilities starts with understanding our consumer footprint.
WHAT IS A CONSUMER FOOTPRINT?
As Earth’s population grows, so does its demand for resources. If we wish to enjoy our planet’s resources long-term and survive as a species, we need to attempt to live within our means – however, humans are currently taking more out of the Earth than the planet can rejuvenate.
The calculation of consumer footprints is an attempt to measure and mitigate the amount of resources we draw out of the Earth. These footprints measure how much we eat, travel and consume in a year, and calculate the environmental impact of that activity. A key contributor, unsurprisingly, is the clothes we buy and those we discard into landfill.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
At our current rate of consumption, we’re absorbing 157 per cent of the natural resources on the planet; meaning we’d need an Earth and a half to maintain our total ecological footprint. In order to preserve our remaining resources, it’s crucial that we reduce our consumption.
Determining your consumer footprint is an important first step to understanding how and where you can reduce your impact on the environment. An eco-footprint or consumer footprint calculator can give you real numbers that indicate approximately how much energy and resources you use, to help you work out where to make improvements.
HOW DO I CALCULATE MY CONSUMER FOOTPRINT?
Environmental organisations like the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and The Nature Conservancy, offer online questionnaires or calculators that add up exactly how much energy your home, business and lifestyle uses.
CONSUMER FOOTPRINT & FASHION
You can begin to address your consumer footprint by recycling, reusing and repairing and, perhaps more importantly, reducing how much you consume in the first place. In recent years, the consumer habits of the Western world have come under scrutiny, particularly those pertaining to fast fashion.
Looking at fast fashion, we see the traditional two seasons a year astronomically ramped up to anywhere from 50-100 ‘micro seasons’ per year. These recurring ‘rapid injections’ of new season clothing are designed to encourage people to purchase and replace cheaply made garments more often. According to the World Resources Institute, people purchased 60 per cent more clothing in 2014 compared to 2000, but also only kept each garment for half as long.
The carbon footprint of a garment largely depends on the material. While synthetic fibres like polyester have less impact on water and land than grown materials like cotton, they emit more greenhouse gasses per kilogram and produce micro-plastics when washed, which run into our oceans and damage aquatic ecosystems. However cotton, the most common natural fibre used to make clothing, requires intense amounts of water and is responsible for 24 per cent of insecticides and 11 per cent of pesticides used in agriculture, despite using only about 3 per cent of the world’s arable land.
SO HOW DOES MIA FRATINO ADDRESS ITS FOOTPRINT?
Mia Fratino takes a multi-faceted approach to managing its consumer footprint – from social and environmental considerations, to more philosophical and ethical concerns.
Mia Fratino is committed to providing superior quality garments without compromising on the brand’s core values – each piece is sustainably sourced and ethically made in our own factory, with 100 per cent diligence to fair working conditions.
By establishing its own knitting facility, Mia Fratino ensures that no middle-men, intermediary trading houses or sweat-shop labour are ever involved with its garments. This is reinforced by a fully transparent supply chain, where every step of the production is fully socially compliant. Mia Fratino carefully manages and monitors every step of its processes, in order to personally stand behind the yarn, knitting, and people that are involved in production.
ECO FRIENDLY FIBRES
Mia Fratino has always been committed to environmentally and eco-friendly fibres, with cashmere delivering a 100% natural and renewable fibre.
This commitment was further emphasised with the launch of the Etika Collection in April this year – made from 100% natural and sustainably sourced yarns, Etika incorporated a sustainable, world-recognised eco-fibre known as Eco Furino. Eco Furino combines Mongolian cashmere, Australian merino wool, NZ brushtail possum down and Mulberry silk, to create a super soft blend that helps to restore native vegetation and limit habitat loss in New Zealand, caused by the introduced brushtail possum.
SLOW FASHION REVOLUTION
An important aspect of minimising your consumer footprint is limiting the consumption and discarding of clothes. While the aforementioned ‘fast fashion’ chain stores promote this practice, Mia Fratino designs all its garments with longevity in mind – demonstrating our dedication to the ‘slow fashion’ revolution.
Timeless styles, high-quality materials and versatile colours mean garments are designed to last years, not just a season. Mia Fratino has long campaigned for an attitude shift when it comes to current retail consumption of knitwear – passionately fighting the mass volume ‘supermarket cashmere’ trends that are neither sustainable or ethical.
RESTORE AND REPAIR
Mia Fratino offers bespoke ‘Rejuvenation and Mending’ services (for any 100 per cent cashmere garment, not just ours), as well as complementary cashmere care kits with each purchase. Additionally, we work to educate customers on proper cashmere care for long garment life.
Hopefully, by encouraging proper care, restoration and longevity instead of garment replacement, we can limit unnecessary landfill contributions, and discourage the consumption of more resources in creating replacement garment.