The DEPLOY Manifesto for a Fashion Reformation

The DEPLOY Manifesto for a Fashion Reformation

It’s no secret that the fashion industry needs a reformation.

The creation & consumption of clothing has a staggering environmental impact, directly contributing to the climate crisis on a vast scale, from overproduction to textile waste, plastic & water pollution to deforestation & carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the global fashion supply chain is notorious for the exploitation of its workforce, often with poor working conditions & below minimum wages.

This week is Fashion Revolution week, marking the 10 year anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse tragedy in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Whilst we commemorate this fourth largest industrial disaster in history with sincere regret & vigilance, we call for action-driven sustainable & social change to alter the path to our future in significant & substantiated ways. #ranaplazaneveragain

Sustainability, circular economy & ESG have, since a decade ago, rightly risen to the top of public consciousness & corporate agenda with a wide variety of claims now made.

However, they have quickly become business & marketing buzzwords that mask the fashion industry's continued lack of transparency and inability to change its ways, stripping away social equality & environmental equity with each garment it produces, at fast speeds & on a global scale of some 100bn each year, notwithstanding the year-on-year increase. 

Not enough has changed in 10 years.

From the endemic problem of pre & post consumer waste damaging soils, air and waterways, to the insatiable appetite to ‘grow’ & ‘recover’ post pandemic to further deplete natural resources at rapid rates, to the mass migration of factories to even cheaper & less developed regions (as labour in China, Vietnam & Turkey become too expensive). Greenwashing has become the new seasonal trend. 

At DEPLOY, we think about vision & implement action before we communicate. The need to reform fashion with our holistic 360 Sustainability Compass is why we exist. Since our founding in 2006, this sole driver continues to power & focus our efforts. 

 

We lead by example and pilot a proven case that it IS possible to flourish with sustainability & profitability as 2 sides of the same coin; we rethink how clothes can be designed, made and worn to care for both people & the environment.

This starts with our customer-centric feedback & research on what NOT to design-make & what needs to be improved, followed by our on-demand production that mitigates surplus supply, and the not just fair trade but a respectful one, to our creative upcycling and bespoke after-sale services that enables a zero-waste circular supply chain, all the way to our education & humanitarian partnerships.

Through these stringent implementations, we actively contribute towards 12 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, whilst serving a growing community of women in all life stages around the world. This has also won us the record breaking score of 149.5 for DEPLOY’s B-Corp certification.

 

5 Key steps that DEPLOY takes to reform fashion and endorse a #FashionRevolution,

As illustrated in each collection and outlined here:

 

1. Tackling Textile Waste from Design Stage  

At DEPLOY, careful collection planning cuts up to 70% of pre-consumer waste from our supply chain.

We do this by conserving resources from the very first stages of conceiving each design, from sourcing to pattern & sampling. There are never bins full of paper, excess piles of fabric or unsold stock out of DEPLOY.

While other brands and manufacturers have an average fabric cutting efficiency of up to 70%, we achieve almost 90%. Offcuts salvaged from our production process are used to create fine finishing, trims and accessories for our sister brand Hennumi Millinery. 

This not only makes our production zero waste, it further reduces the need to procure additional fabric and facilities sustainable merchandising  of coordinated colour cues across different collections and years, offering customers style cohesion with ease and longevity.

 

2. Selecting  Environmentally-Certified Natural Fibres  

Synthetic fabrics leech microplastics into our waterways and aren’t biodegradable. They are also less breathable and can cause irritation to the skin.

That’s why we research & select textiles content & construction carefully & consistently: where over 80% of our product range are made with environmentally certified natural fabrics.

These include GOTS-certified organic cotton, GreenPeace certified DETOX cotton knits, biodegradable linen &  bamboo, FSC certified viscose, traceable cashmere, recycled wool &  British Woolmark-assured merino & lambswool.

Not only are these more eco-friendly, they are of the finest quality that feels wonderful to wear and maintain their aesthetics & performance for years.

3. Innovating Groundbreaking Multi-Functional Garments

Conceptual design ingenuity, rigorous consumer research & fine-tailoring expertise enable us to construct each design with insights & thoughtfulness.

Optimal fit & multiple functions flatter all ages & physiques whilst facilitating the multi-faceted lifestyle of the contemporary woman.

A 5-in-1 coat turns into a dress or a jacket and skirt separates with perfect curve & hang in all the right places (see Abacus suit dress) — illustrating how DEPLOY’s groundbreaking innovation uses minimal resources for maximum versatility; turning systemic problems into creative solutions.

Imagine if the fashion big 5’s all ‘deploy’ this design-production strategy; our global crisis of garment waste could turn from 100bn to 50 in 1 season.

 

4. Decision-Making for Eco-conscious Packaging & Procurement 

Packaging accounts for 40% of global plastic waste. At DEPLOY, 70% of our fabrics are from the UK & Western Europe, whilst 80% of our collection is made locally in London & delivered to our global clientele in carbon-neutral packaging made of sugarcane & corn starch.

Along with streamlined logistics & new packaging, our decision-making throughout our business procurement from using renewable energy to the reuse of retail furnishing & equipment to the disposal of e-waste & appliances has reduced our overall carbon footprint by 50% within the past 5 years. 

 

5. Championing Equality with Respectful Remuneration 

Fairtrade & ethical practice is part of our DNA. All of our designs are exquisitely handmade in-house by our own team of craftspeople (remunerated up to 4 times the London Living Wage).

Our long-term boutique production partners, local to where we operate, are equally committed to ethical practices & execute  our zero-waste methodology.

We believe in creating equitable long term relationships with our suppliers &  partners, and as such, build supply chain resilience, reap a collective benefit, and create the values shift paramount for true sustainability.

 

We invite you to join this #FashionReformation mission by following us on instagram, visiting our website or joining us at our global popups & Changemakers event series. 

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"Takes ‘green’ to a new level" - BBC WORLD NEWS -

"Realises women’s long-standing dream" - VOGUE -

"It won't be long before the rest of the word catches on to DEPLOY" - HARPER’S BAZAAR -

"The ideal go-to for working women looking for chic, sustainable pieces" - GLAMOUR -

"DEPLOY's interchangeable clothes are a godsend" - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH MAGAZINE -

"Exciting innovation and lasting fashion" - MARIE CLAIRE -