Debbie Millington Brand Sustainability
As brand designer, Debbie Millington supports the united global efforts in developing positive change in the fashion industry towards a cleaner impact on the environment and “safe” fashion. The brand reinforces the importance of the "considered purchase", buying a product that offers longevity in your wardrobe. The silks are digitally printed - a process that uses less water, energy and non toxic inks. Brand packaging is made from 100% recyclable biodegradable card, important in leading the way towards protecting the environment.
Where do we manufacture our collections
Silk printing and gift packaging are both produced in highly reputable companies in the UK who comply with all EU and world standards of conduct regarding the use of non-toxic inks and chemicals in the process.
What sustainable materials do we use
Brand Packaging - Debbie Millington black kraft gift packaging boxes use soy based inks, hydro electricity and 40% recycled board. The paper and the board and are 100% recyclable and biodegradable.
Silk Printing - The factory we use in the UK is a highly reputable. We chose not to produce my product in India or China where often people are expected to work in unacceptable working conditions and under the legal age. It is imperative for us that the silks are produced under humane working conditions, with respect of workers and their human rights and that suppliers minimise their impact on the environment and adhere to Ethical Trading Requirements (ETRs).
Silks are digitally printed, a process of manufacturing that is the most environmental, cost-effective and higher quality option for textile printing. The process uses 25% less energy than the alternative screen printing methods, less water and non toxic inks. The factory only uses non toxic “Azo Free” dyes and biodegradable inks, and has now changed to a non-hazardous energy saving scheme by using recycled water in part of its cleaning and washing process.
(Azo dyes are toxic dyes used by the textile industry for processes that include cleaning, prepping fibres, dyeing, printing, treating and finishing fabrics. They are however, potential carcinogens and highly toxic to aquatic species and inevitably end up in our food chain. Now regulated by the EU, many of the chemicals are on there EU banned dye list and alternative inks have "azo free” dye certificates.
Innovations or processes that improve the sustainability of our products
The silk printing company we collaborate with in the UK, proactively works with clients to ensure their products are free of restricted substances. They bi-annually receive relevant certifications providing assurances to clients that the printing and their textiles will not involve hazardous substances, and are safe and sellable. They continue to update us with changes to their inks and manufacturing processes, committed to following new research focused on the environmental impact of textile dyeing and printing in their factory.
How the fashion industry needs to change for the better regarding sustainability
The fashion and textile industry causes huge environmental destruction and water pollution with drastic implications to human health. The industry needs to continue to improve refinements in their systems, minimising waste and maximising automation and efficiency. Solve the problems of toxicity in clothing, waste and resources and seriously address the negative environmental impacts that plague the fashion industry. Also hugely important is to improve and protect the workers of these garment factory and fabric producers, improving work standards and conditions.
The world now buys more clothing than ever before in history. We, as people, need to steer away from the notion of buying “one hit wonder” disposable clothing and get back to really considering our fashion purchases. Often they may be that little bit more expensive but inevitably they are going to stay in our wardrobes longer. We need to pay more attention to garment labels, where and how things are made and be more conscious about the processes involved with textile printing, leather and feather which inevitably all come from a living source. Are they being ethically farmed and humanely produced? For example the feathers that fill down puffa jackets, are usually harvested from live animals painfully plucked four times yearly that only see the inside of cages. The fur on most hats and hooded jackets are generally from dogs, racoons and chinchillas that are skinned alive for their pelts. We need to be more mindful and insist on buying organic and watch for companies and products that use regulated factories and adhere to EU standards.