WHAT IS FOREST-FRIENDLY FASHION AND WHERE CAN I FIND IT?

Did you know that fabrics are contributing to global deforestation? While we’re seeking more alternatives and solutions, let’s discuss the importance of good forestry practices.

“From the catwalks of Milan to New York’s 5th Avenue, from your favourite boutique to the local mall, fashion increasingly has a hidden cost that doesn’t show up on the price tag,” says Canopy, the environmental nonprofit organisation that’s dedicated to protecting the world’s forests, species and climate. The hidden cost we’re talking about here is something that many designers, brands, manufacturers and consumers can be unaware of – that some of their most beautiful clothes are being made from the trees of ancient and endangered forests. 

To produce smooth, drapey fabrics such as viscose, rayon, modal and lyocell, forests are used in the manufacture of dissolving pulp (the chemically intensive process that happens before the man-made cellulosic fibre is spun into thread) and the demand for these textiles is growing – in fact, it’s estimated that the fashion industry logs around 200 million trees every year (according to the latest update) to produce cellulosic textiles. Conscious consumers who are concerned about climate change will recognise the link between management and the preservation of forests. Yet, while there’s an expectation for products to be made with responsibly sourced materials, this isn’t always the case. As it’s stated on Stella McCartney’s website, “managing forests sustainably means using them in a way that maintains their productivity, biodiversity and regeneration capacity, as well as ensuring they can meet society’s needs now and in the future.” Good sustainable forestry practices are where the CanopyStyle initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) come into play.

CANOPYSTYLE 

CanopyStyle is creating real, impactful change. While there remains work to be done when it comes to curbing the sheer number of trees going into fabric each year (#solutionsaresexy – could agricultural straw be the answer?), over 330 brands and designers have committed to the initiative and are working to eliminate the use of ancient and endangered forest in their supply chain.

THE FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL (FSC)

The Forest Stewardship Council is described as the world’s most credible solution for sustainable forest management, providing assurance of responsible sourcing. 

OTHER NAMES YOU MAY RECOGNISE

TENCEL™
TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal are certified bio-based fibres that are manufactured using a more environmentally responsible production process. Able to fully revert back to nature, the fibres are certified as compostable and biodegradable. Plus, TENCEL™ Lyocell uses a low-toxicity solvent and the majority of the chemicals are reused in a closed-loop system.

ENKA®
ENKA® sources Domsjö´s FSC® certified cellulose from a Swedish biorefinery, which fully originates from local, legal and sustainable forestation in Northern Europe. What’s more, ENKA® Viscose has received the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute’s Gold level Material Health Certificate


OUR FASHION PICKS FROM BRANDS COMMITTED TO
RESPONSIBLE FORESTRY
NANUSHKA

Find Nanushka’s commitment here.

The ‘Lydia’ blazer
Style it with tonal pants and add gold jewellery (recycled gold, of course) to complement the warm orange-red hue.

The ‘Noor’ dress
This fluid satin dress comes in a few different colours, but we love this delicate pale pink that will tick all the right boxes when spring and summer roll around each year.


REFORMATION

Find Reformation’s commitment here.

The ‘Alta’ dress
The kind of dress that’s easy to swap sweatpants for. The super lightweight fabric makes the puffed sleeves look even prettier. Plus, it’s the kind of style that’ll do well on a rental app.

The ‘Reign’ top
Sweet and sophisticated. Easy to tuck into high waisted jeans thanks to the slim-fitting bodice, this black top has the word ‘timeless’ written all over it.


MOTHER OF PEARL

Read ‘Some Clothes Do Grow On Trees’ by Creative Director Amy Powney here.

The ‘Bobbie’ top
Cut oversized, this top is lightly gathered at the neckline for added volume and fastens with bow ties at the neck and wrists. Team it with relaxed tailoring and chunky slides.

The ‘Danica’ dress
This crisp white dress is so clean-lined and modern. The polished gold buttons at the cuffs make picking your jewellery out in the morning easy, too.


STELLA MCCARTNEY

Read Stella McCartney’s commitments here.

The ‘Ariana’ trousers
When these pants are teamed with the matching blazer, you’ve got the perfect back-to-work suit, but they also look great styled with a casual tank and thong sandals. Win-win.

The ‘Anabelle’ dress
Bright, joyful colours are all we want to wear right now. Balancing the bold bubblegum shade, the minimalist cut of this dress means you can quite easily switch up your accessories, keeping it feeling fresh for years (and events!) to come.


The images accompanying this article belong to Nanushka, Reformation, Mother of Pearl & Stella McCartney.