David Jones: Introducing Mindfully Made
This article, written by Elle McClure, features in the spring edition of JONES magazine by David Jones. Shop the issue and view the full magazine here.
This year has been one of immeasurable change, upending life as everyone knew it and challenging the very idea of ‘normal’. Whether it be in issues of social justice, health or the environment, the ways people engage with the world are shifting – and right now is the best opportunity to make those shifts count for the better.
No longer can the fashion footprint be ignored: it’s estimated to produce almost 10 per cent of total carbon emissions each year. If it were to keep going at the same rate, by 2030 the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions would surge more than 50 per cent. Crises like Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 also put into focus the human toll fashion can have – for the worse. But there are solutions, and many brands are taking necessary steps in pursuing more mindful and ethical alternatives.
Enter: David Jones’ Mindfully Made platform. Not only will it highlight the efforts that your favourite brands are making to operate more responsibly – across environmental, human and animal welfare – but you’ll be able to shop online for pieces that fit your ethos. The platform also seeks to dispel greenwashing through education and tips on clothing aftercare so you can live more mindfully in the pieces you buy long after you’ve walked out of a store or hit ‘checkout’ online. As a business, David Jones is working to reduce energy, water and waste across its stores – a continuation of the journey they started in 2015 towards becoming one of the most responsible retailers in the world.
Mindfully Made is dedicated to shining a spotlight on progress rather than perfection, and as brands continue their sustainability journey, you’ll find new ones added to the platform along with their products. Because with people increasingly bringing the same values to fashion as other areas of their life, making it easier to shop accordingly just makes sense.
What does David Jones mean by Mindfully Made?
With consideration and consultation, and according to best-practice measures, David Jones has developed five attributes relating to human, environmental and animal welfare. All brands featured on the Mindfully Made platform must meet one or more of these sustainability attributes, with the aim of highlighting progress, not perfection, and ensuring you have a more meaningful connection to what you wear and use.
Brands that support local industry by manufacturing right here in Australia, including: Bassike, Bec + Bridge and Viktoria & Woods.
Brands that focus on supporting communities, supply chain transparency, the welfare of workers and fair working conditions, including: Soko, Outland Denim and Nobody Denim.
Sourced with Care
Brands that focus on responsibly sourced materials and mindful processes to minimise environmental impact, including: Veja, Country Road and Levi’s.
Reduce and Recyle
Brands that adopt innovative and conscious ways to upcycle and reduce waste, including: Neuw Denim, Bianca Spender and Nudie Jeans.
Kind to Animals
Brands that use cruelty-free production methods and ingredients that do not harm animals, including: Sans Beast, Nanushka and Arnsdorf.
Shop Mindfully Made at
Eva Kruse is a leading figure in the sustainability efforts of the fashion industry, and an expert in how style and consciousness can intersect. She’s the CEO of the Global Fashion Agenda, a body that works to foster industry collaboration in an effort to mobilise its players towards more thoughtful practices in producing and marketing fashion.
Having partnered with both the United Nations and the European Commission, GFA’s annual Copenhagen Fashion Summit is considered to be the leading forum for sustainable fashion, and Kruse has received a coveted Human Rights Prize from the French embassy for her hard work. She shares her insights on the progress that’s being made and how we can each play a part in moving to a more sustainable fashion future.
“CONSIDER HOW PRODUCTS are made, where they originate, how you envision using a particular product and for how long. We’re buying 60 per cent more than 15 years ago – and we use it less than half as much. We need to use what we buy and consider creating additional value by swapping, reselling or renting clothes. And to upcycle and recycle clothes and fabrics to a much larger extent than we do today.
“I BUY CLASSIC styles that can bridge seasons and be used for a long time. I also look for quality fabrics that last (or look like they’ll be durable) and I buy mostly vintage. Of course, I’m always on the lookout for great styles from brands that I know have sustainability high on their priority lists. Sustainable brands such as Ganni, Stella McCartney, Allbirds, Everlane, Gabriela Hearst and Outland Denim all deliver product first – without compromising on style.
“I AM OPTIMISTIC that the COVID-19 crisis will drive more conscious decision making among consumers. We are already seeing initial signs: in a recent McKinsey survey, two thirds of the consumers responded that limiting the impact on climate change has become more important to them. It’s likely that consumers will want products with more meaning, consider buying less and try to use what they do buy for much longer. It is on the fashion industry to work together to rethink and rebuild, utilising this opportunity for change.
“I’M EXCITED BY innovations in material science: new fabrics that are being developed from algae, seaweed, citrus peel, even cow manure. What is most interesting is seeing if anyone can find a way to bring them to scale.
“THE COVID-19 CRISIS is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis and it has shed an unforgiving light on the social implications of fashion and its supply chains. I believe that consumers have become much more aware of the ethical and social sides to our industry and, as such, will demand more transparency and social engagement from brands.
“WE ARE FOCUSING on our new summit theme, Redesigning Value, and the opportunity to challenge the traditional constructs of value attached to fashion and why they exist. For example, how might we think differently about seasonality and trends without having to devalue products, the design and the work and labour that went into them, and ensuring that they are benevolent to the planet? We’re also exploring the impact of overstock and finding innovations that can help unlock this both short and long term.”
Four favourite designers whose ethical focus makes them worthy of your wardrobe.
After a four-year hiatus to take stock of her beloved Australian brand, designer Jade Sarita Arnott has returned with a reimagined approach. Now only creating styles in limited runs (so as to limit excess stock) and with an approach that doesn’t follow a seasonal formula, the brand offers complimentary tailoring and free lifetime repairs with the intent that a piece will be worn again and again rather than sit in your wardrobe. With almost everything from design to production carried out in-house in Melbourne, the brand is Ethical Clothing Australia accredited as well as B Corporation certified and was awarded a sustainability nod as part of VAMFF’s National Designer Awards last year.
Designed to be the building blocks of your wardrobe (and thus innately trans-seasonal), Esse’s pieces are made from either sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton or lyocell (made from renewable plant materials) or deadstock – and the brand ensures its scrap fabrics go to use elsewhere, too. The brand holds itself “accountable for the entire lifecycle of a garment”, and hence has a focus on educating customers about aftercare. In addition to responsibly considering every stage of its garments’ production, Esse is focused on improving the lifecycle of packaging and is exploring other ways to embrace more circular opportunities.
Budapest-based label Nanushka is proving the buttery-soft look and feel of leather doesn’t have to come at the cost of being unkind to animals: its vegan ‘leather’ pieces (think versatile short suits and fierce dresses) are beloved by the style set and devoted customers alike. In addition to rejecting animal skins, Nanushka is committed to protecting the world’s forests. The brand has partnered with non-profit Canopy, pledging to help reduce the toll that cellulose-based fabrics, such as rayon, can have on global forests by sourcing exclusively from those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
For Spender, deadstock isn’t a dirty word: she’s been using it in her designs since the conception of her label in 2009 and has now committed to using a minimum of 50 per cent of the fabric in new collections. Outside of that, the brand utilises natural fabrics, vegan leather and is looking to innovations in recycled materials, such as for polyester – the production of which is typically burdensome on the environment. With Ethical Clothing Australia accreditation, the brand manufactures locally (having worked with many of the same makers for years), which guarantees quality working conditions and reduces its carbon footprint in the process. But above all, Spender is a firm believer in designing pieces you won’t want to part with.
Long Live PLASTIC
How Anya Hindmarch fashioned the perfect tote out of landfill.
Back in the days when you’d leave the grocery store with bountiful fresh produce, using a plastic bag was your only option. In the spirit of disruption, Anya Hindmarch produced the now iconic ‘I’m Not A Plastic Bag’ canvas tote over a decade ago. It sold in supermarkets and her own stores, and quickly shifted the way we saw plastic bags. The story behind her new project is all about continuing the circular economy of plastic. Enter the ‘I Am A Plastic Bag’ tote, where repurposed plastic drink bottles are spun into fabric then coated in recycled windscreens. In monogrammed red or blue, it hits all the right stylish and sustainable notes.
Image: Bec + Bridge dress, Soko necklace - available at David Jones