Located in Northern Portugal, our factories are set less than one hour’s drive from each other in what we liken to a silicon valley of fashion production, they collaborate and work with each other sharing best practice and new advances. They are modern, progressive and true partners who share our vision for a healthy, safe and clean production process.
Certifications our Factories Have:
The production process for the SUSTAINABILITEE involves multiple factories as well as the farm that grows the cotton. It goes from planting the cotton seeds through to harvesting, spinning, ginning, knitting, dyeing, finishing, cutting and sewing and then to us in London where we pack it away safely before sending off to our customers. We have evaluated all areas of our supply chain to ensure all factories throughout meet our sustainability standards and are producing in a positive and progressive way.
Working with leading innovators in sustainable fabrics...
Knitting factories are responsible for taking the raw fibres and yarns and knitting them into the fabrics that we wear. There are only a small number of knitting factories in the world certified to Global Organic Textile Standards 'GOTS' (the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres) about 250 from our latest count compared to the thousands of knitwear suppliers worldwide.
From this number we needed to find a factory that was not only GOTS certified, to handle organic fibres, but also one that had a proven track record and experience of providing the highest quality fabrics and materials. We needed our fabric to not only be produced at a certified factory but also to be produced at the highest international fashion standards.
The factory we chose to work with not only had the certifications and experience we required but also had a state of the art production facility making some of the world’s most advanced fabric materials. They aren’t just working with organic cotton but are leading the way in creating fabrics out of other sustainable materials such as recycled polyester and linen, and the more advanced up and coming materials such as SeaCell yarn made from seaweed and QNova made from reused plastic bottles.
They were a natural partner for us given our long-term mission to innovate beyond the realms of organic cotton but to truly provide alternatives to all everyday basic fashion items.
Dyeing & Wet Processing:
Advancing clean technology and protecting the environment...
Similar to our knitting factory our dyeing and wet processing factories are also required to have GOTS certification. This is crucially important at these stages of production where the majority of the water is used and there is the biggest potential for environmental impact. About 20% of freshwater pollution is attributed to textile treatment and dyeing making it incredibly important to ensure that the factories used in this stage of production have advanced environmental policies in place and have eliminated hazardous toxic chemicals and heavy metals (lead, mercury, arsenic) from their production process. As part of these policies, they must have effective water management procedures to ensure any water leaving the plant has been treated and is safe to rejoin water systems without contamination or any damage to the local ecosystem. By implementing these policies, we can drastically reduce the negative impact fashion has on the environment.
The factory we use for our dyeing not only has GOTS standard environmental and social policies in place, they also have their own programs and initiatives to help further the advancement of clean technology and their community's socio-economic level. They are pioneers in pilot projects for the development of new technologies in industrial waste water treatment and actively train their staff and raise awareness on environmental issues.
Similar to our dyeing unit, our wet processing factory is not only GOTS certified but goes the extra mile in protecting the environment around them. When visiting the factory the first thing noticeable is how green and healthy the surroundings are; fresh water lakes with beautiful wild flowers growing around them, organic vegetable patches, an abundance of trees growing fruit and flowers. This is in stark contrast to some of the imagery from traditional wet processing and dyeing units where poisoned dead fish float on water surfaces surrounding the factories and children walk around with respiratory masks.
When asked why there are so many trees, our tour guide casually commented that about 10 years ago they noticed that the air was getting hot around the factory. To manage this they planted trees to lower the temperatures, a natural way to offset greenhouse gas emissions. This proactive approach to caring for the environment was completely in line with our beliefs about maintaining a sustainable approach to production. Sometimes the solutions don't need to be complex, sometimes they can be as simple as planting trees; it's about being awake and aware and managing your impact as you go along.
Cutting & Sewing:
Sourcing the highest quality producers...
The final stage of our production is the cutting, sewing and labelling of our t-shirts. In the process of searching for our partner on this stage of the supply chain, we audited over 75 potential factories and then narrowed down our search to 10, who we met with and visited their facilities. They not only needed to be GOTS certified but also needed to have world class experience to ensure the only the very highest quality of product.
The factory we chose are GOTS and Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified as well as a BSCI participant, which offers an implementation system for improving labour conditions in their supply chain. They have also worked with some of the world's best known fashion and luxury brands and have impeccable standards for finishing their products. Tangible qualities aside, they are also a great team comprised of caring and hard working individuals who are aligned with our vision of a healthy, safe and progressive supply chain.
Throughout our factory sourcing process we have met with some great suppliers. As time goes by, some of our factories may change depending on what is being produced and what makes the most sense. We’ll keep you up to date on our progress and any new advances or developments our factories make in terms of pushing sustainability further and advancing new textiles.