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Is Deadstock Fabric Sustainable?

We’re proud to work with independent brands like Ilk + Ernie and BEEN London who make all their beautiful products from surplus and waste materials.

Why Is There So Much Surplus Fabric?

In the first 15 years of the 21st century, the production of clothing doubled. The industry produces over 92 million tonnes of waste per year (CNN). Waste from the fashion industry makes up 20% of the entire planet’s waste.

Big fashion companies throw away huge quantities of fabric each year. This deadstock ends up in landfill, polluting the ground, or it’s incinerated.

Ilk + Ernie’s founder Jess travels to India each season and spends weeks sourcing deadstock fabrics from markets and warehouses. This is then turned into their head-turning clothing, with offcuts used to make accessories. Left over samples and unused garments from their factory are collected each year and distributed to the homeless in Delhi.

The Problem with Deadstock

Independent brands using deadstock in order to address fashion’s waste problem is certainly worthy of support, and deadstock can be a more sustainable option than virgin fabrics.

But the very existence of this deadstock fabric is a result of the fast fashion business model, which relies on over production. There are growing concerns that fabric mills are intentionally overproducing because they know the excess will be purchased anyway. This perpetuates the cycle of over production and over consumption. It can also mean that a consumer will pay more for a ‘zero waste’ garment made from poor quality fabric that will ultimately end up in landfill sooner rather than later.

In an ideal world there wouldn’t be any deadstock fabric. Until the issue of over production is addressed at an industry level, supporting ethical brands like Ilk + Ernie and BEEN London that use quality left over materials is a great option.

Shop the Ilk + Ernie collection 

Shop the BEEN London collection 

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