New clothes are for life… not just for Christmas.
The world now consumes about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year. This is 400% more than the amount we consumed just two decades ago.
Flashback to when our grandparents were young and it was a very different story. My grandmother used to use old curtains to make her own skirts, she’d sew up holes and go out of her way to make the same clothes lasted and when eventually those clothes would come to their end, she’d turn the skirt into a bag, or even a cape for one of my teddies. Nothing was wasted, even old sheets were cut in half, flipped over and sewn back together to extend their life. Heaven forbid if you bought her something new for Christmas, I’m sure she still has blouses in their wrapping that I got her in 1995.
Now, we wouldn’t dare wear an outfit twice in fear or being branded an outfit repeater. We wake up to daily headlines of fashion mistakes, good buys, bad buys, bargains and super sales, fast fashion bombards us.
Live fast, and our planet dies young.
Our planet can’t keep up with our obsession with fast fashion. With fast fashion speeding up trends and constantly pushing into the next season, your clothing is most likely to be wardrobe waste before it’s even reached its first birthday.
What happens next? These used unwanted clothes are thrown away.
Still think you have ‘nothing to wear?’
WRAP’s report on the clothing industry in the UK found we waste £30 billion in the UK each year in unused clothes.
New research from WRAP has found that:
- The annual footprints of a household’s new and existing clothing are equivalent to the weight of over 100 pairs of jeans, the water needed to fill over 1,000 bathtubs, and the carbon emissions from driving an average modern car for 6,000 miles.
- The average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes – but around 30% of clothing in the average wardrobe has not been worn for at least a year, most commonly because it no longer fits.
- Extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use per item would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints
- Two-thirds of UK consumers buy or receive pre-owned (or second-hand) clothes, and there is a willingness to wear more, especially if a better range were available; and an estimated £140 million worth (350,000 tonnes) of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year.
- The carbon emissions generated by the clothing of the average household is equivalent to driving an average modern car 6,000 miles.
- Overall, clothing contributes around: 5% of the global carbon footprint of UK goods and services; and 6-8% of the global water footprint of UK products and household use.
- Global footprint Global footprint Household footprint of UK consumption per household equivalent to of clothing Carbon 38 million tonnes 1.5 tonnes of CO2e Driving a car CO2e emissions each year 6,000 miles Water 6,300 million m3 More than 200,000 Filling over 1,000 of water litres each year bathtubs to capacity Waste 1.8 million 70 kg each year Weight of over 100 tonnes of material pairs of jeans
Global footprint of UK consumption of clothing
Global Footprint per household
Household footprint equivalent to:
38 million tonnes CO2e
1.5 tonnes CO2e emissions each year
Driving a car 6,000 miles
63 million m3 of water
More than 200,000 litres each year
Filling over 1,000 bathtubs to capacity
1.8 million tonnes of material
70kg each year
Weight of over 1000 pairs of jeans
So with the planet hurtling towards a doomed end, buried in used outfits, what can we do to turn this around?
Turning fast fashion, to fair fashion
The research from WRAP, does see a positive change… if we make it happen. The research indicates that a credible set of modest changes across the clothing life-cycle could reduce each of the carbon, water and waste footprints by as much as 10-20%. More ambitious changes could help reduce the cost of resources used to clothe the UK population by one-third, with greater savings still in the carbon and water footprints.
Implementing Best Practice
In production: Reducing the carbon footprint of the production process by just 5% through cutting waste in production, dyeing and finishing could reduce our carbon footprint by 4%, our water usage by 8% and waste by 3%.
In quality: Creating quality garments which have an extended life expectancy could reduce carbon emissions by 7%, water by 10% and overall waste by 9%.
In the aftercare: Changing the way we launder our clothes, by washing on a cool heat and avoiding tumble drying could reduce our carbon footprint by 6%.
Once we’re finished with our clothes: Reusing and recycling by an extra 5% could reduce our carbon footprint by 3% and a 1% reduction in waste.
How Sundried make our clothes ethically:
Sundried are audited by The Low Carbon Innovation Fund to ensure our products come to market with as ethical production as possible. This involves carefully selecting the materials we use, the factories we work with and the way we transport our goods.
All of our products use blends of premium fabrics to extend the life expectancy of our clothing.
Extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months of active use would reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20-30% each and cut resource costs by around 20% (£5 billion); this is the single most significant intervention according to WRAPS research.
Through our aftercare:
Laundry creates around one-quarter of the carbon footprint of clothing or 3 tonnes of CO2e per tonne of clothing as a result of energy use. Throughout all our products marketing and aftercare labels we encourage you to ‘wash cool, sun dry’ ensuring that our products clean at low temperatures means we can minimise our footprint, furthered by our recommendation to ‘sun dry’, eliminating the extra waste from a tumble dryer altogether.
Sundried offer a recycling programme for all our old garments.
Around half of clothing is re-used at present, and over two-thirds of this goes overseas. Increasing the re-use rate in the UK and for export would reduce the total waste each year. There is significant willingness to buy or receive pre-owned clothes – more than two-thirds of adults have done so in the past year. Some 30% of clothing has not been worn for the last year and four in five people own at least some clothes that have not been worn because they no longer fit or need altering. This indicates there may be a substantial volume of good quality clothing suitable for re-use.
Going one step further:
2017 will see Sundried taking fabrics to a new level. Using recycled plastics and used coffee.
Sundried has been developing a sustainable technology suitable for activewear. By utilising coffee’s natural ability to block odour, the fabric is the ideal choice for some of our new garments.
Partnering with coffee shops and collecting their used coffee grounds has provided a very sustainable route to supply raw material.
When you think of ethical activewear, we want you to think Sundried.
With activewear becoming part of our daily wardrobes, there is an increasing importance in knowing how and where your clothes were made.
There are over 7 billion people on the planet, if 7 billion people only owned 1 top, 1 pair of trousers and 1 jacket, that would equate to 21 billion items of clothing.
The average woman owns 30 complete outfits but “nothing to wear” and men can own anywhere from 50-150 t shirts, and that’s just the black and white ones… so you can see how the numbers rack up!
The clothes you are wearing have an effect on the environment
Everything you're currently wearing has had some form of effect on the environment, from the materials, to the manufacture and after care, even just one item can have a huge knock on effect.
Lucy Segal in her book ‘To die for’ reveals some shocking statistics:
- You now demand roughly four times the number of clothes you would have in 1980.
- You will spend at least £625 a year on clothes – and that’s just the average!
- In one year you'll accumulate in the region of 28 kg of clothing – adding up to an estimated 1.72m tonnes of brand-new fashion being consumed on an annual basis in the UK and with the life expectancy of fast fashion being so short, that translates to a whole tone of waste.
Sundried’s carbon footprint
Human activities emit gases like methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. We refer to these as greenhouse gases which contribute to climatic changes like global warming which have a long-term impact on the planet. Your carbon footprint, is your own contribution, the impact of the activity that you as an individual do.
At Sundried, we want to help keep that carbon footprint as small as possible, which can be tough when it comes to sweaty activewear, which needs cleaning far more often.
The contribution to our carbon footprint that washing clothes has is significant. In his article ‘The Carbon Footprint of Everything” Mike Berners-Lee reveals the following statistics:
The carbon footprint of a load of laundry:
0.6 kg CO2e washed at 30°C, dried on the line
0.7 kg CO2e washed at 40°C, dried on the line
2.4 kg CO2e washed at 40°C, tumble-dried in a vented dryer
3.3 kg CO2e washed at 60°C, dried in a combined washer-dryer
Washing and drying a 5kg load of laundry every two days created almost 440 kg of carbon dioxide emissions in a year. As you can see, the most ethical way to wash your clothing would be to wash on a cool heat and let the clothing dry naturally, which can cut your emission by more than half. This is why all of Sundried products are encouraged to be washed cool, and sun dried. Washing your clothing in this way also helps to enhance their life expectancy.
Research by Energy Star (a washing machine company) states that the average front loading washing machine uses 6500 gallons of water a year and lasts for 11 years, that's enough water for 6 people for a lifetime.
Here we are using all this water to wash our clothes, whilst some people don’t have any to drink.
We have to wash our clothes and we know it has an impact, so we’ve decided to combat that negative with a positive, donating to Water for Kids with every purchase made through our site.
Water for Kids is a charity of volunteers who bring clean water sources to those in need. Their current projects are mainly in rural disadvantaged communities of Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya. The projects start by sourcing safe drinking water for the first time; either by protecting a polluted village water source, rain water harvesting perhaps at a school or a new borehole for a large community.
The Low Carbon Innovation Fund
Sundried is partially funded by The Low Carbon Innovation Fund and we have strict policies and guidelines to ensure everything we do has the very smallest carbon footprint. Sundried minimise the carbon footprint throughout the full lifecycle (design, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal) of an item of Sundried apparel through:
- Local production in the UK and Europe (vs. the rest of the industry which is mainly produced in the Far East).
- Using materials that use little carbon in their manufacture, little energy in their maintenance and are recyclable.
- Carbon offsetting where a zero/low carbon choice isn’t currently viable.
Find out more about how we’re trying to make a sustainable statement.
Sundried activewear is designed to last, to help break this cycle. We have also been exploring how in years to come, we can recycle our products to protect the environment.
The sportswear brand you chose to wear may be well-known, but is the way it’s made? They say fashion is an extension of your personality, so how do you identify yourself?
The fashion industry is said to be the second most damaging industry on the earth, behind the oil industry
The 2015 film The True Cost revealed we buy nearly 400% more clothes now than we did just two decades ago, that’s 80 billion new clothes produced every year. It takes 2,700 litres of water just to make one t shirt. With 80 billion x 2,700 litres, we cannot hide from our clothing's impact.
- By 2030 demand for water will exceed the supply by 40%.
- Cotton is responsible for 2.6% of the global water we use.
- 17 to 20% of industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing.
- About 60 million1 to 75 million people are employed in the textile, clothing and footwear sector worldwide (2014).
- 36 million people are living in modern slavery today, many of whom are working in the supply chains of Western brands.
- In the UK, roughly two million tonnes of clothing and textiles are thrown away every year and only 16% of that waste is ever reused. That’s roughly £140 million worth of waste.
Out of sight, out of mind
The problem with fast fashion is that we just don’t think about the supply chain. It’s two little words that rarely creep into view, when immediate sales and next day delivery are the focus of one-click shopping, we forget that the supply chain does far more than the two little words imply. Out of sight, out of mind we do not focus on the farmers growing crops, the weaving, dyeing, cutting, sewing, folding, ironing and packaging that is required of our “supply chain”. It’s not necessarily our fault though, it’s just unfortunately we live in a world where until something bad happens, we don’t hear about what goes on behind the scenes.
The Rana Plaza disaster in 2013 saw the poor working conditions of garment factories being thrust into the spotlight after a death toll of 1,130 workers and 2,500 injured people buried alive. Rana Plaza forced us to take a harsh look at where our clothing is coming from and the damage it’s doing not only to the planet, but to people.
Lucy Siegle, British journalist, hit the nail on the head when she said “brands, retailers and consumers have all become fantastically adept at divorcing fashion from the very fact that it is has been made by an army of living, breathing, human beings with resources which are depleting the environment”.
Every action creates a reaction
The cost of fashion shouldn’t be someone’s life. A 2014 KPMG survey found that 40% of consumers would switch their loyalty to another company if their favourite brand didn’t pay a living wage. We need to create transparency and traceability and take responsibility for our actions.
Activewear can be ethical
Modern fashion has become more than just the way you cover your body, it’s an outward extension of your personality. What you wear should say something about you, your beliefs, values and creative expression. Your activewear probably has a stronger presence in your life than you may realise, you’re wearing gym clothes everyday, sometimes more than once if you train twice and because of the nature of what you’re doing in it, gym clothes need more washing, which in turn can create more impact.
Textile choice is paramount to athletic performance and fabrics which are technically savvy often reflect the largest impact on the planet. Whilst Sundried respect our sport to know we need to use materials which wick sweat, stretch and work with our bodies, we also want our fabrics to work towards a better impact on the environment and do this by producing our fabrics in Portugal with the mitigation of harmful substances, pollution and other environmental hazards associated with raw material extraction.
Sundried have partnered with The Low Carbon Innovation Fund and produce our activewear with the smallest carbon footprint possible.
Our packaging is reusable, you’re not meant to throw it away. Instead, our Sundried sleeves can be used to store wet training gear, protect your change of clothes from getting wet or dirty or even be used as a laminated sleeve to store your workout plan in the gym, which you can wipe clean and sweat free. 80% of textile waste going to landfills can actually be reused (WRAP, 2015).
Sundried are inspired by the great outdoors. We regularly post in our blog about training outside and encourage our customers to spend more time experiencing nature. This also helps to reduce our carbon footprint, encouraging more time outdoors and less inside using gas and electricity.
It’s not just about your running mileage, it’s about your fashion mileage
How long can you make your clothing last, if it’s been poorly constructed? Slow down. Sundried want you to get to know our activewear, we want you to know where your clothing was made and how to look after it so you form a quality relationship with your activewear that lasts.
We’ve used high quality materials which break the quickly made, quickly thrown, pattern of the fast fashion industry. We want you to have more than a fling with fashion and instead invest in activewear you can treasure. From how it's made to our after care recommendations we’re doing what we can to ensure that our clothing lasts to minimise its environmental impact. Our style is purposely elegantly timeless, so we will always be fashionable, though to us being ethical is always on trend.
80% of the environmental impact of clothing, is made after purchase. Sundried continue our ethical ethos through you, our customers, by trusting you to support our activewear by minimising its environmental impact. We have done this by producing our products with fabrics which should be “washed cool and sun dried”, eliminating the need for wasted energy on hot washes and ironing.
One of the biggest obstacles for those wanting to purchase ethically is cost. Despite the fact that cheap clothing could cost lives, cheaper clothing is all that can be afforded. What if we told you wearing ethical activewear was actually more cost effective? Sundried activewear is ethically produced and made from high quality, enduring materials that are sure to outlast their fast fashion counterparts, making the eco conscious choice will pay off in the long run.
Choosing ethical activewear impacts positively on everyone: people, animals and the planet.
Everyday we follow 2 simple, universal actions. We eat and we get dressed.
We need aesthetics to meet ethics in order to future proof the planet for generations to come. You are mindful to not cause harm to others in your everyday life from the people you meet to foods you eat; so why choose clothes that harm people?
Ethically produced activewear can benefit the people who live in the local communities, where the clothing is manufactured. Rest assured Sundried respect our workers, your clothes were manufactured by workers of legal age, who worked in safe, humane conditions, earning a satisfactory salary.
Technology means our voices can be heard
A purchase through Sundried could provide a child with clean drinking water for the very first time. Each item in our collection is coded with a unique pledge donation to charity Water for Kids. We wanted to share our success and extend our ethos to this worthy cause, with Water for Kids being a charity led by volunteers in disadvantaged countries such as Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.
We encourage you to share your donations across social media because the more people we can educate, the more people we can change. We can make a difference, but not alone.
Let’s show fast fashion it’s time to slow down.
There has never been a better time to purchase new activewear, technology is advancing, fitness and fashion are merging and athleisure is becoming the norm. A few years ago you’d rarely see anyone in activewear outside of the gym, unless they were running. Now, with smart watches encouraging us to be active all day, activewear is creeping into our daily wardrobe and our streets are filled with yoga pants, sports bras and gym leggings.
The rise of activewear means there is plenty of choice out there, but not all activewear is created equal. Knowing where to source the highest quality materials which support your activity can be difficult when there is so much choice, but there are things you can look for to help you find a brand you can trust.
Nowadays, shopping online is the easiest way to get hold of anything. Any item you want is no more than 3 clicks away. You don’t even need to leave the house! The great thing about the rise of internet shopping, is the rise of internet reviews. Before purchasing from an online retailer we recommend following three steps:
- Research the brand. Read about their ethos, do you like the brand itself? If the brand ethos doesn’t match your standards, neither will the activewear. Read our brand ethos.
- Check reviews. The beauty of online sales is that there are plenty of online reviews. Whilst you may not be able to see and feel the fabrics, check out reviews from bloggers who have to see if the activewear lives up to expectations.
- Check the company size guide. Whilst activewear is naturally stretching, ill fitting clothing can cause chaffing, be uncomfortable and worst of all affect your performance. View the Sundried men's size guide or women's size guide.
Specialised retailers such as Nike and Adidas have huge flagship stores where you can buy their activewear. Clothing companies which specialise in activewear will deliver products with more technical function compared to those who predominantly focus on fashion as this is their area of expertise. Sundried only sell activewear, so our focus is always on performance. The Sundried collection has been trialled by triathletes to ensure the activewear can perform to the intensity you do.
The rise of athleisure has made activewear a dominant feature of everyday life and fashion retailers have brought out their own versions of fitness wear. This is great for the world of health and fitness, making health more accessible and encouraging a more active lifestyle which Sundried fully supports, we even created the concept EHOH to help keep office workers active during their working day. Whilst the high street brands may offer the greatest variety of patterns and designs, often these styles are unsupportive and make look the part but not provide the right protection. The clothing is often made factories where working conditions are poor and labour is cheap, meaning they can be sold as discount prices. Sundried protect our workers throughout the supply chain and are transparent in our production, partnering with The Low Carbon Initiative to produce our clothing ethically.
Activewear brands will now also sponsor sporting events. Buying activewear from a sporting event ensures that the clothing you’re buying, is designed with the purpose to enhance your sports performance. Buy from a triathlon and the activewear is going to be designed to support a triathlon. Sundried are attending the Southend Half Marathon on 12th June and will be showcasing our activewear and providing post-run supplies to athletes.
Partnering Personal Trainers
Personal trainers have partnered with Sundried to provide their clients with Sundried as their activewear brand of choice. Sundried have partnered with some of the best PT’s in the UK to ensure our products are upheld as the premium ethical activewear. Who better to know what activewear right for your training than your personal trainer? They’re the ones writing your training programme after all. All Sundried’s staff are REPS qualified level 3 Personal Trainers who have worked in the industry and know what demands our activewear needs to meet. The Sundried collection meets the demand for stylish activewear with advanced technical function.
At Sundried we’re responsible – we deeply care about the environment and we don’t just want to maintain the status quo, we want to go a step further and make things better than when we found them. We are deeply passionate about charity work and we also focus on our surrounding community. We’re lucky to be doing what we love and that’s why we seek to be generous.
Sundried use responsibly sourced materials crafted with low environmental impact. It is our mission to protect both people and the planet. We are proud of our transparent European clothing production, sponsored by The Low Carbon Innovation Fund.
From the supply chain to the office, we respect our people and want them to share in our success.
For you to share the Sundried ethos, each item of Sundried clothing is coded with a charitable donation to Water for Kids. When you receive your Sundried apparel, enter the unique code to find out about the product and its journey. Every item we sell is uniquely coded; we want to share the experience, care and attention to detail your garment has received. Right up to the point you first try on your Sundried product. You’re looking after yourself. The least we can do is deliver you a product with the care and attention you put into your workouts, nutrition and way of life.
Our apparel performs. Inspired and tested by real athletes, using the most advanced technology. Sundried can be worn with confidence, enabling exercise to challenge your limits, not your clothing.
Together we can make a difference.
Read about the Sundried values.