Whether you care much for Greta Thunberg or not, you’ve got to admit that the girl has got substance. The fashion industry in particular, should be paying more attention than ever to its carbon footprint. With over 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted by the fashion industry yearly, it is one of the largest culprits of the corrosion of our planet worldwide. As all eyes are on luxury and fast-fashion brands, it’s no surprise that some have started to really listen and pay attention to what consumers want and need: clothes that won’t harm do more damage to our planet. Iris & Ink, the label recently re-launched under The Outnet, is one of the brands that is listening to their customer and providing effective solutions. Emma Mortimer, the Head of Buying at The Outnet, tells us all about the brand’s mission and strategy to provide chic clothing whilst curtailing the harm done to the environment.
The private label just recently released their autumn/winter 2021 collection, and with it came new initiatives, including circularity. The brand aims to “offer customers considerable improvements that align with the Infinity sustainability and circularity guidelines, that combine sustainable and timeless designs,” says Mortimer. The brand aims to be become fully-sustainable and circular by 2025, by “using only regenerative, low impact, renewable or recycled fibres.”
What is most interesting about Iris & Ink, is their commitment to be transparent with their customers, especially at a time when everyone is frightened of saying too much. According to Mortimer, 66% of the latest collection will be made using “more considered materials and processes in line with sustainability and circularity product guidelines set by Yoox Netaporter Group’s Infinity strategy.” To go into more detail, the Infinity strategy is a ten-year commitment to encourage longevity in the lifespan of products. “We will stand behind quality craftsmanship, designed well, designed to last, designed to be re-loved and re-made. We will unleash the potential of our business ecosystem, the innovation and creativity of our people, our technology and data expertise, and our drive to collaborate to deliver lasting luxury fashion that leaves a lasting positive impact.” It’s evident that Yoox Netaporter Group is dedicated to leave their footprints in the sand whilst reducing their carbon prints.
The Infinity strategy implemented by the enterprise has been inspired by The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and aims to be in alignment to achieve certain goals. Mortimer boldly admits, “where we do not yet have all the answers, our commitment is to ask the question, empower our colleagues to seek solutions, work with our industry, peers and partners to learn, collaborate and continually refine and strengthen our approach.”
Whilst Iris & Ink has been around for about 10 years, its placement in the market has changed drastically. The brand has tried to reposition itself as a formidable player when it comes to sustainability, and even its identity and mission statement have evolved with its age.
According to Emma Mortimer, she’s noticed that consumers are thinking more of the lifespan of their products, and want to invest more in luxury pieces that will last in their wardrobes longer than a polyester sweater. Other consumer trends that Mortimer mentions are noteworthy include a higher interest and demand in brands that are inclusive, charitable and sustainable – characteristics that have achieved more importance in a time where we face serious struggles as a society, such as the peak of a pandemic, rises in gun violence and wildfires caused by global heating. Consumers are learning to care more about a brand’s long term goals, missions and charitable work than ever before.
Shoppers and consumers are also more interested in impeccable customer service and building a relationship with brands, both which The Outnet seem to be committed to. “With a focus on exceptional customer service, we want to continue offering a seamless shopping experience across mobile, tablet and desktop. We also want to continuously create inspiring editorial content that resonates with the region alongside curated style edits and stand out trends. All while offering our customers a wider selection of regional designers and high-end designer collaborations,” says Mortimer.
Iris & Ink have also launched a ‘Considered collection,’ in which if feasible, products are made of 100% organic fabrics, including cotton, merino wool, silk or cashmere (of which 50% or 65% is recycled). These production processes are not easy to obtain, and yet Iris & Ink is aware that the consumer they are targeting in this day and age has different priorities than those they had dressed in 2012. The new Middle Eastern target customer is more conscious of her consumption than ever before, and that is the gap in the market that Iris & Ink have taken advantage of in the Middle East.
Whilst there are several practices that each one of us can take on to ensure we contribute as best we can to preserving our environment for the future generations to come, possibly the simplest and most efficient way is to avoid the over-consumption of any products. When we shop, it is our duty to do so mindfully and sensibly. Rather than purchasing our clothes from fast-fashion retailers where the lifespan of a garment is shorter than a bouquet of flowers, we can begin to shop from brands taking strides to achieving a circular strategy, such as Iris & Ink. When asked what steps we can do as consumers to shop more sustainably, Emma Mortimer explains, “Sustainability starts from investing in key pieces that are durable and can be passed down instead of thrown away. Making conscious decisions and becoming more educated on the topic of sustainability and circularity in fashion is also very important to ensure that you as a customer are making well-informed purchasing decisions. Understand what works best for you and don’t compromise on style! Iris and Ink’s FW’21 collection is the perfect example of having a considered collection without compromising on quality or style.”