Responsibility is in our fabric. When it comes to cleaning up fashion, material choice alone can account for up to 80% of a product’s social and environmental footprint. In 2021, we collaborated with industry experts from The Right Project to map out our Responsibility Roadmap. We’re proud to say that over 90% of our 2022 collection was made from responsible fabrics. This season we’ve continued to improve by producing a spring/summer 2023 collection made from over 95% responsible fabrics.
Our ambition is to create every collection from 100% responsible fabrics and we’re working hard to get there through the exploration of new materials and embracing textile innovation with key partners.
Here at Nobody’s Child, we have a positive vision for the future. We believe thoughtfully created clothes should be the rule, not the exception, and we’re dedicated to making responsible and affordable pieces, whilst being as transparent and honest as possible.
We define a responsible fabric as one where at least 50% of the composition is certified as being recycled, organic or lower impact than traditional fabrics. This spring/summer 2023, 73% of our products have a responsible composition of 75% or more. Primarily, we have sought to find responsible alternatives to three of the most widely used materials in the fashion industry which have a negative footprint on the planet. These are cotton, polyester and viscose.
2022 saw us branch out from our core product range of predominantly dresses to athleisure, swimwear and tailoring. This brought challenges surrounding fabric choice which we’re proud to say we overcame. Categories such as knits and outerwear have added further complexity, as they’re often made from synthetic materials like acrylic and Nylon. Wherever possible, we seek to use recycled synthetics and we remain dedicated to reaching our target of every collection made from 100% responsible fabrics.
Materials we don't use
Along with finding more responsible fabrics for our collections, there are materials that we’ll never use.
- Animal fur including Angora
- Exotic skins or hides – we’ll never source any species listed on the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and IUCN (International Union for Conservation Red) lists of endangered species
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
- Virgin animal derived leather, virgin down or feathers
We also restrict the use of certain chemicals from entering our supply chain. This list applies to our fabrics as well as to our trims and components. We carry out independent due diligence testing annually to check on this requirement.
Transparent supply chain
We take immense pride in the fact that over 90% of our 2022 collection and 95% of the spring/summer 2023 season was produced from responsible fabrics. Our commitment to trace every step, from raw material to manufacturing, reflects our unwavering dedication towards being a truly responsible brand.
In fact, most of our collections come together through collaboration with our suppliers to purchase fabrics directly from the mills. This approach allows us to gain a deeper insight into potential social and environmental risks, and proactively seek opportunities to enhance our positive impact.
Furthering our commitment to transparency, we openly share the factories our suppliers employ on Supply Hub, an open-source tool that maps garment facilities globally for most clothing brands.
As part of our close-knit relationship with the fabric mills and suppliers, we’re diligently working with them to comprehensively map their supply chains. This joint endeavour will ensure the fullest transparency possible, extending from raw material sourcing to the sewing factory. The following table illustrates our progress towards a complete view:
|% Mapped (by units) SS23
These are direct suppliers of the final product to Nobody’s Child
The majority of tier 2 suppliers are fabric mills. This includes the subcontractors carrying out our secondary processes such as dyeing, washing, embroidery etc.
|100% by 2023
This includes the post-processing of raw materials such as cotton ginning mills, viscose processing centres and recycled polyester sources
|100% by 2024
Raw material sources such as the fields where cotton is grown or the responsibly harvested trees that produce our viscose
|100% by 2025
*For viscose suppliers, both LENZING™and Aditya Birla Group’s procured wood is 100% traceable to the forest of origin. Formal traceability systems ensure that the origin of all purchased timber is known. Both companies have publicly shared their list of suppliers and locations of all pulp mills they are using here.
To add to this, we’re also working on a trial for product QR codes which will allow our customers to simply scan to find out where it originated from, what fabric it’s made from, how to care for it and dispose of its responsibility at the end of its life.
Investing in a circular future
A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use and regenerating natural systems.
For fashion this means:
- Keeping clothing in use for longer
- Making them from safe and renewable materials
- Ensuring they’re made to be made again
- Designing and sourcing with the intention of clothing being reused and circulating again and again
We’re members of Textiles 2030, a new ground-breaking, expert-led initiative, harnessing the knowledge and expertise of UK leaders to accelerate the whole fashion and textiles industry towards circularity and system change in the UK. Textiles 2030 targets include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water and the amount of virgin materials used.
As well as participating in Textiles 2030, we’re reviewing all areas of our business to assess how circular they are, then we’ll develop our own circular strategy and set appropriate targets.
We’re pleased to have been accepted to be part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation community. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a charity committed to creating a circular economy, which is designed to eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials (at their highest value), and regenerate nature.
We launched on Hirestreet in November last year. Since then we’ve been working closely with them and their data to increase options and curate the range on style and sizes to make our rental proposition as efficient as possible. We’re now working with Hirestreet to integrate our rental proposition into our own website so our customers will have the option to ‘click to wear’ on our product pages.
We’ve been trialling sending faulty customer returns to a company who assess, repair and clean the garments then list them on auction sites such as eBay, keeping them in use for longer. All repair information is fed back to our technical teams who can then continue to improve the quality and longevity of our clothes.
The most responsible clothes are the ones already in your wardrobe. That’s why on Earth Day in April 2023, we collaborated with SOJO to encourage our customers to keep their clothes for longer. We offered free repairs and alterations in our Carnaby Street boutique. Next we’re looking to work with them to offer customers repairs and alterations through our website. Watch this space.
Take back schemes
Our clothes are produced to high quality standards and are made to be durable. Through research we’ve found that when customers do want to part with their products, they often pass it on to friends and family, re-sell or donate to charity. In terms of a take back scheme, we work with Re-Fashion. Our customers can order a pre-paid responsible bag to fill with unwanted clothing. They then send this to Re-Fashion who’ll resell, repurpose or recycle it on their behalf. None of our clothing leaves the UK through this take back service.
Our product tags are made from certified paper sourced from responsibly-managed forests.
We’ve upgraded our packaging to brown paper that’s also sourced from responsibly-managed forests. Just like our previous bags we were using before, they’re recyclable. To ensure your delivery arrives in top notch condition, you’ll still find a certified recycled and recyclable plastic inner bag inside. However, we’re aiming for a plastic-free future at Nobody’s Child and will continue to review the most responsible solutions on the market as they’re developed.
We’ve also explored paper, oxo-degradable and biodegradable plastic however, such materials need to be properly composted and meet very specific conditions in order to break down into natural matter. In some cases, this type of packaging can contaminate waste streams. When thrown in the bin, they’re likely to end up in a landfill without the proper temperature and oxygen needed to decompose. We’ve opted for recyclable packaging so our customers can help the planet with minimal effort.
- Continue to grow our responsible fibre mix towards our target of 100% as this has the largest overall positive impact on our carbon emissions, water usage and biodiversity
- Continue to review and introduce new innovative fibres and fabrics to ensure we’re using the most responsible choices
- Finish complete mapping of tiers 2 and 3 in our supply chain before publishing on our website
- Continue integrating circular design principles into our product creation process using our new scorecard to influence SS24 designs
- Launch our partnership with SOJO and offer alterations and repairs online for the UK as well as holding additional awareness raising events in our stores
- If the trial is successful, integrate the process of repairing faulty items and selling pre-loved garments on marketplaces
- Offer and incentivise our customers to repair rather than return item via our online returns portal
- Continue to work collaboratively with Textiles 2030 and openly share our projects with the wider retail community
- Implement our rental ‘click to wear’ button on our website product pages to promote and normalise the rental of clothing
- Review our customer takeback offering and educate customers on the most responsible options available to them