Making sustainable fashion

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Merchant & Mills' Sustainable Rag

The Rye based haberdashers Merchant & Mills, who have built up a devoted and international following, celebrated their tenth anniversary by launching Sustainable Rag, their in-house newspaper that lays out the eco credentials of the fabric they sell in-store.

In their efforts to thoroughly research and verify the provenance of all their cloth the team at Merchant & Mills visited their suppliers and undertook research into the production process of their fabrics.

The top “A” ratings went to the fabrics Tencel, a derivative from wood pulp; linen, a natural material made from flax; and hemp, a densely growing carbon negative plant.

Cotton makes up half of the fibre used in clothing and textile production worldwide. Over 60% of the world’s cotton is grown and produced in developing countries and provides a livelihood for over 100 million farmers.

But often intense farming methods are used and these threaten the cotton plant’s ecosystem. With this in mind Merchant & Mills source their cotton from farms that are Fairtrade and where the cotton is sustainably produced or organic.

It’s estimated that discarded clothing with a value of £140 million is sent to landfill in the UK each year, therefore selling fabric that can be made into durable garments is also important to the company.

“The more I talk to people and the more I read, the more multi-layered and complex the quest for the truest sustainable fabric becomes” said Carolyn Denham, the co-founder of the sewing emporium, “Everything that is produced, processed and consumed has an impact on the earth, whether it is sustainable, organic, or not.

“What we look for is not simply sustainability of production. We ask ourselves how long will it last, how does it wear?” She explains, “We champion quality and balance – sustainably produced fabrics that will last well for many years.”

You can pick up your copy of Sustainable Rag at Merchant & Mills on Tower Street or if you are passing through London you can visit their first off-site venture in collaboration with Liberty’s new cloth department.

Image Credits: Merchant & Mills .

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