The Perils of Fast Fashion in Interiors

Interior fashion cycles are getting faster with the gap between the catwalk and interiors stores getting shorter all the time.  Associating interiors brands with celebrity and high fashion can be good if this lifts the perceived value of an item, which is then treasured for its aesthetic and its quality.  The manufacture of heirloom pieces is great for building long-term robust and sustainable value chains.  When true craftsmanship is rewarded and quality materials are sought after then the people that grow fibre, sew garments and weave carpets and fabrics all can share the rewards.

It all falls apart however if we follow the fast fashion business model. If textile mills and retail outlets focus on fast turn-around of low quality items from non-sustainable value chains we end up creating waste, using more energy than is required and supporting the throw-away society.

It is better to create beautiful textiles from sustainable materials and to build them well so they last a long time, rather than to manufacture oil based products with the promise to recycle them one day.

The fast fashion culture encourages corners to be cut and lives to be endangered, think Rana Plaza.   This is not just an apparel issue.  There are carpet schemes that guarantee no child labour, but do not take care of the children that are banished from the rug mills.  Those children sometimes move to more dangerous factories.  No we don’t want six year olds making our carpets, we want them in schools paid for by the sale of carpets.

There are rug retailers that push so hard on price that the weavers are forced to use extremely low quality materials and pay very poor wages.  Eliminating unnecessary waste and reproduction is the best thing we can do for the planet and for the people that live here.  Buying something cheap with the aim of throwing it away is the worst legacy we can leave behind.

Children removed from rug factories are often just moved on to other industries.

Children removed from rug factories are often just moved on to other industries.

Getting to Source.

We like to think that we are pretty decent folk.  We treat our partners fairly, we communicate honestly and we do our bit for the planet and its inhabitants as an organisation.   So we choose to do business with other organisations of a similar culture.

One of our partners, Camira is passionate about sustainability.  It’s in everything they do as a company.  Not just a mission statement in a brochure but really truly a part of their everyday operations.

To pull this off means partnering with suppliers that share their belief in doing things right, not just for the planet but for the people they employ and the people they interact with.

It is really impressive to see people who care this much swing into action.

Camira keeps asking how to reduce their footprint, how to get better at innovation, how to be a better company…   And they keep us on our toes.

Camira in the wool shed (with sheep)

Camira in the wool shed (with sheep)

They care so much about the integrity of their products that they sent their Supply Partner Manager 12,000 miles to visit our farms in New Zealand to explain why Camira must have superior quality wool fibre.

This was a journey not just to see the world’s most sustainable fibre production for themselves,  they also went to teach.   When you share your passion and your vision with your suppliers they buy into your mission.  So we now have farmers that are even more in love with growing wool and a customer that is even more certain that our wool is the ultimate sustainable material.

I hope your customers respect you enough to make this kind of commitment – we are chuffed.

John Quarmby explains why.

John Quarmby explains why.

The Woolly Value Chain

The Laneve wool carpet in this picture has an amazing story. It is the result of a team of people all working to deliver an outstanding experience for the customer.

Akaroa by Brockway Carpets of Kidderminster

It all starts with a deep understanding of trends and what carpet buyers are looking for. Value chains, as opposed to supply chains, are always customer-led. Having identified a customer and designed their ideal product the materials can be assembled to fit the purpose.
Farmers have grown the wool in this carpet especially for the final product. The wool growers in New Zealand have nurtured the seep and prepared the wool to meet strict guidelines on sustainability set by Wools of New Zealand. The right type of wool is grown to suit the end use of the product, which drives efficiency and ensures high-quality.
The wool is cleaned (scoured) and shipped to Europe where it spun by Danish company Danspin who have been selected to be part of the Laneve programme as a world class yarn spinner of the highest quality and integrity.
Danspin then send the Laneve yarn to Kidderminster in the United Kingdom where Brockway Carpets tuft it into a beautiful twist pile carpet. Brockway laminate the carpet with eco-friendly materials and ensure any waste is recycled. Lesser manufacturers might send off cuts to landfill!
The carpet is then sold by specialist retailers called Premier Partners which are all committed to providing excellence in customer service, and high-quality sustainable wool interior textiles.
Finally the customer receives a certificate from Wools of New Zealand which enables her to view the farm via the internet where the wool in her carpet was grown. This is a simple customer driven value chain with benefits that can be clearly illustrated to the customer. Every step of the chain adds value and is fully transparent.
A Laneve carpet is sold on colour, style, innovation and as the ultimate ethical choice. Laneve products are not caught up in price battles or commodity downward spirals…

These are the sheep that grew the wool for Akaroa.