The SUstainable Vision
“At SUstainable, We Don’t Take Our Clothes For Granted, We Think Differently”.
This week the brand new “SUstainable” ethical clothing range will be officially launched at the National Union of Students Annual Trade Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. This is a huge milestone for our company and our supporters.
“We have always been motivated by the dream – now reality – that every garment that we manufacture and sell could do some good in the world.
Joint Directors Mike and Andy with one of their Fairtrade cotton-licensed factory managers during a Visit to India
This vision was enhanced by the knowledge that we could educate the consumers of the future whilst they are wearing our Fairtrade/ECO clothing” says Mike, a SUstainable Joint Director.
SUstainable, through its sister company Koolskools, has built such a strong reputation for Fairtrade/recycled polyester-certified ethical clothing because we have never wavered from our long-term aim of supporting developing country marginalised cotton farmers and factory workers – AND our planet – whilst building our sustainable clothing business.
The vision was to establish a unique ethical manufacturing and supply chain, using exclusively Fairtrade cotton, that would benefit everyone buying into it – producers, manufacturers and customers alike.
We have taken the ethical underpinning of our garments to a new level in 2019 by adding GRS-certified recycled polyester to all our poly/cotton mix garments, shortly after which we launched the exciting new SUstainable brand.
So, the business is now offering school, corporate and University clothing carrying two of the strongest ethical certification labels on the planet: the Fairtrade Cotton Mark and the Global Recycling Standard.
The New “SUstainable” luxury zipper hoodie
What Is Our Thinking Behind the Garments?
TV presenter Nick Hewer presents Koolskools with the Best Fairtrade retailer at the South West Fairtrade Business Awards
Our basic ethos goes back to a decision we made in our early days. We realised that we could not of course be the cheapest – ie to be able to compete with the big supermarkets – if we were going to manufacture solely with Fairtrade cotton and work with ethical factories – latterly also with recycled polyester.
We started with the garments themselves; tried to find a factory that could make an above the market average garment in each category; judged whether we could add Fairtrade cotton; and then looked at the pricing. We managed it to start with in Mauritius, and we have taken that forward with our excellent factory in India.
With SUstainable, we have managed to take all of this a few steps further by adding recycled polyester (plastic bottles etc) to our garments, and by producing an elite range of high-quality, aspirational garments that hopefully speak to potential customers’ increasing desire to do some good in the world with their purchases.
So, we are now ready to take on the next decade with serious ethical business momentum!
What Has SUstainable/Koolskools Achieved?
A “SUstainable” polo, the brand developed especially for SUstainable NUS contract.
The Fairtrade Foundation, the over-arching Fairtrade licensing and promotional body for Fairtrade UK-wide, now describes the company on its website as “…the UK-wide No 1 Supplier of (school) uniform made with Fairtrade Cotton…”, and our sister company Koolskools won “Best Fairtrade Retailer” at the Bristol and South West Fairtrade Business Awards in March.
Later that month we were awarded our first major contract with the National Union of Students (NUS), whose clothing business is worth approx. £2 million per year.
We were awarded bi-annual contracts under both the Fairtrade and non-Fairtrade tenders for our new brand of “Sustainable” Fairtrade clothing and ECO sportswear respectively.
So we are incredibly excited to launch this new ethical clothing range. We hope that whether you are a business, a University, a charity or another type of organisation, you will want to join us on the SUstainable ethical clothing journey.
Andy and Mike
2 July 2019