Hey You! It's Hailea here. I was recently asked by a friend to write for a sustainability magazine about what we do at Dirty Disco. If you'd like to get to know a little about us grab a cuppa and keep reading.
I’ve always been told you should only do the things that you believe in, so working in Fast Fashion wasn’t really something that interested me. Instead I decided to build a company based around my core beliefs, even with a micro company, you still have the power to create change. There are a lot of different experiences that have led me to run Dirty Disco in the way that I do but one of the main influences was the film, ‘The True Cost’ and the book ‘No Logo’ by Naomi Klein.
So, right now our product range is currently 99% vintage, which means almost everything that you find in our store is 100% recycled except for our tote bags which are 100% Organic Cotton. Waste in the fashion industry is a huge and expensive issue so by only stocking vintage products, we have managed to dramatically reduce our waste in comparison to the majority of Fashion Brands. I’m not one to brag but we think that’s kind of cool, right?
When we source products from suppliers we buy 60% of our products in bulk, these are usually denims and other staples that we always have in stock and the other 40% we hand-pick to make sure we get those rarely found gems. By doing this, we’ve reduced our waste by a crazy amount and it also means that the products that we stock are premium quality too.
We do occasionally get items that are torn or missing buttons but it’s no big deal, we just fix them up so that they’re ready to find their new homes. It’s pretty rare that we have left over stock or our suppliers send us stock that’s not fit for sale but when we do, we donate them to our local charities who either recycle them into rags or sell them in their stores. It’s our way of giving back to our community and ensuring all the textiles are fully recycled.
We kinda feel that vintage has got a bad reputation. It’s seen as the frumpy, moth ball smelling ugly cousin of fashion but we want to change that perception. We make sure each of our garments is washed using chemical free detergents and steamed, so that you’d never know it’d had a life before you started your love affair. We also have natural tricks such as bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar to get that gross ‘vintage smell’ out of our products.
This year, we set ourselves the goal of making our packaging plastic free. Plastic Mail bags have been our go-to since the beginning of our business. They’re light-weight and protect our garments until they get to your front door but as our business has grown, the amount of non-recyclable plastic waste our tiny business creates has gotten out of hand. At the beginning of this year we decided to take the plunge and make our packaging plastic-free. It’s not been easy but our aim is to have 100% recycled, plastic free packaging landing on doorsteps by the end of 2018.
Most of the stuff that’s bad for the environment happens once you take the garment home. Which is cool because it means you can do something about it. So our second goal of the year is to build a resource of information based on our knowledge to help you to look after and love your cutest dress for years to come.
Vintage really is the Holy Grail of sustainable fashion - It’s the closest we can get to a circular economy and it’s such an exciting product. When’s the last time you turned up to an event and realised you’re wearing the exact same dress as some else? That rarely happens with vintage, each piece is unique, affordable and has probably inspired most of your favourite designers. That being said, we recognise that sometimes the fit of a vintage dress just isn’t the same as modern fits and well vintage just isn’t for everyone.
Whilst we’re pretty happy with the progress we’re making towards becoming the kindest fashion company we realise we still have a long way to go. Our future goal is to create a R-T-W collection that is created using sustainable products, manufactured in the UK and sold straight from us to you.