Sustainability - why our sustainable fashion journey should matter to you!
When I launched The Croft House in 2012, I not only wanted to share my design passion for colour and pattern, but wanted to create a sustainable fashion brand which had the values which I as a consumer longed to find. Having worked in retail for many years, I saw first-hand what was wrong with the industry, and wanted to change it. Fast-fashion was king and the exposés and images of polluting manufacturing and mountains of fashion in landfill sites had not yet entered public consciousness.
Like me, I know that there are many people who want to be a concious consumer and make the right choices to do their bit for the planet. We want to help you achieve that!
The Croft House has at its very core the ethos of social responsibility and low environmental impact. This is how we achieve it....
All our products are made from pure wool or cashmere which are both natural fibres which are 100% biodegradable and renewable. Only our socks use a small percentage of synthetic nylon which we have to do for shaping and strength. If we thought we could make these without it...we certainly would! We also produce a selection of jumpers made from pure undyed yarn - the ultimate in ecofashion!
Many of our garments are knitted seamlessly which is a zero-waste technique.
We use only organically derived buttons rather than plastic ones. These are either natural shell buttons (a by-product of the shell fish industry) or from the Tagua palm tree. All our buttons are made for us in small batches, based on the garment numbers we are making.
Our garment tags are made from 100% recycled polyester. It's important to us that the synthetic fibres already in existence do not end up in landfill so we are helping to give these a second life.
Responsible production and consumption
With all manufacturing of not only our garments, but also our raw materials being within the UK, our environmental and social objectives are met due to the stringent controls which are in place for industry in the UK. Many customers looking for ethical fashion look for British made clothing.
In 2021 we made the move to new premises. Our new building is more energy efficient due to increased insulation. It is light and airy, meaning we only need to use artificial light when necessary and when we do it is modern, energy efficient LED lighting.
We use a 100% renewable electricity supplier for our light and power.
As a small business, it's been hard to be innovative when our packaging needs are so tiny compared to bigger companies. However, we've always been aware of the research being done with an eye on these developments until such a time when they were within our reach. For many years we used 100% recycled polymailers for posting our knitwear. They may not have been the prettiest bag due to the mix of recycled plastics used to make them forming a uniform grey, but we were determined not to use unnecessary dyes.
Despite being several-times more expensive, we have now moved our standard domestic and international parcels to 100% paper mailing bags, making them easier to recycle at home. These are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified which means they come from responsible forestry sources. As customers may have a need to return or exchange our sized knitwear, our large knitwear bags have a second adhesive strip allowing them to be reused for your return parcel....or any other parcel you have to send.
We currently use a mix of plastic and glassine paper bags to store items after they are made and keep them safe and secure in transit. We reuse plastic bags as much as we can and recycle all plastic waste from our warehouse at its end-of-life. This includes any plastic packaging which may be sent or returned by customers to us. We are currently trialling glassine paper as an alternative. This is a semi-opaque paper product with no other resins, waxes or plastic and yet it is air and moisture resistant due to the unique manufacturing process it goes through. It is 100% recyclable and biodegradable just like your other paper household waste. Being so new, it is still unfamiliar to many customers and we have had products returned to us in our glassine and paper bags within plastic!!
Our product swing tags are made from recycled paper with natural vegetable dyes meaning they are totally recyclable. We are looking for alternatives to the plastic kimbles and fastenings as currently all alternatives we have sourced have a lifespan which is too short for the way our business operates.
All our products are manufactured within Scotland using yarns produced in mills within Scotland or elsewhere in the UK. The carbon footprint of these garments is therefore very low compared to the majority in the fashion industry, with most having a journey of less than 20 miles from raw wool to finished product at our premises.
We are aware that we have customers all over the world who want to support what we are doing. We use a carbon neutral delivery for our express parcels, which includes all those we send to the United States.
Our standard domestic parcels are sent with Royal Mail which has the lowest average parcel carbon footprint of any UK courier.
But can there be such a thing as a sustainable fashion brand in an industry which promotes consumption?
At The Croft House we do not follow the normal fashion model.
We don't have seasonal collections - a lot of effort goes into designing and making all of our garments. We make them to last and hope you will wear them for many years to come. We can sell our styles over a number of years, making in small batches and remaking these based on customer demand when they sell out. This is slow fashion.
We don't have sales - we don't want you to buy something you don't need or because it's a "bargain"! We sell our clothes at the price needed to cover our UK manufacturing costs using high quality natural materials and that needed to run the business. We do NOT use the model of inflated prices in order to discount product at the end of each season as an incentive to buy. On the rare occasion we may reduce an item, it is a genuine discount meaning we will be making little, if any money on that product.
Charitable donations - as an alternative to the mass-consumerism of Black Friday, we give a percentage of our sales for the weekend to charity each year during our "Gift & Give" event. We've supported a wide range of charities by donating thousands of pounds to these good causes, thanks to the help of our customers.
Care and Repair - with the right care, our garments can be worn season after season. We encourage you to repair them to increase their lifespan by providing free darning yarn on request if still available from our yarn spinners.
This is such an important part of our business. We are aware that there are things to improve, but we know what these are and are constantly on the look-out for new innovations. We have ideas in the pipeline and hopes for the future!
Let us know if you have any ideas or suggestions on how we can make things more sustainable for all of us by contacting us here.