Updated: Aug 3, 2020
'Wear clothes that matter...'
Becoming more sustainable onboard isn’t just switching out single use plastic bottles for a refillable (although, a great start!), sustainability needs to encompass everything, from where things are sourced to how things are carried out and managed.
This means crew uniform too...
This month marks the 1 year anniversary of uniform supplier, Ethical Yacht Wear, so this week we spoke to Lauren from Ethical Yacht Wear, the leading company supplying the yachting industry with a sustainable ethos and product line, committed to providing the most superior uniform to the industry, as consciously as possible.
We would love to hear a bit about your background and what made you start Ethical Yacht Wear?
I launched Ethical Yacht Wear as I realised a gap in the uniform market and wanted to bring a company that supplies 100% ethical, 100% organic cotton/recycled, 100% fair trade uniform to the table. Being in the industry myself and unfortunately as it is environmentally adverse I wanted to create a company that could give back a little, or hopefully a lot! I launched Ethical Yacht Wear after an article in DockWalk about my other company One Back (a line of surf style t-shirts giving back to ocean pollution, while rioting beach cleaning). I started to gain a lot of interest in my other companies clothing and received inquires wondering wether I could adapt my current 100%organic cotton, fair trade, ethical line to yachts. I said YES! And Ethical Yacht Wear was born.
Can you tell us a bit more about your uniform brand? and exactly, how you are ‘ethical’?
At Ethical Yacht Wear we start from the beginning. Every item we supply is made with 100% organic cotton, meaning there is no pesticide and fertiliser run off into the water ways, in the cotton manufacturing. As regular cotton has a largely detrimental impact on both the land and sea through pesticide and fertiliser run of; being a large creator of “dead zones” (areas of the ocean where no life can survive) we make sure we only use 100% organic cotton. If an item is not made with organic cotton, it is made from recycled material (generally consisting of recycled plastic bottles or post consumer materials). Furthermore we make sure that all our uniform supplied is fair trade- meaning everyone in the manufacturing process through to distribution has been paid a fair wage and provided with safe working conditions.
We understand that your business is also committed to giving back through removing plastic from the ocean, tell us a bit more about how you do this?
Yes that is correct! I give back 10% of profits from every sale to a company called The Plastic Bank. The Plastic Bank pays people in less fortunate countries to pick up plastic (as jobs), sells the plastic back to large corporations, therefore reducing poverty and savings millions of tonnes of plastic from our oceans. We have been able to sponsor the removal of 4 tonnes of plastic so far (the equivalent of 150, 000 500ml plastic bottles) from the ocean!
You have quite a varied range of uniform on offer, how do you ensure quality and durability whilst also producing sustainably?
We make sure we know where everything comes from and how it is made with our suppliers, vendors , and factories carrying international recognised certifications provided by International governing bodies ensuring the upmost sustainable & fair trade practises are in play for everything that is produced. Quality is never compromised especially using such material as 100% organic cotton, with feedback from all of customers of how amazing and better it feels!
We know there are quite a few logistics when it comes to changing uniform suppliers, what is your turnaround time and do you deliver worldwide?
We do everything we can to make the process as easy as possible. We offer help with art work if need be. We have a free samples system customers can try, to asses the quality and style before purchase. On top of that even though we provide all of the above which costs more for us, we do not pass that on to our customers. We do our best to stay within a yachts budget as we would like to make sustainable, earth positive uniform just as accessible as any other within the industry. Although every order is different, we have quick turn around times and have never not met a deadline yet! As we know what’s it is like to get a last minute charter and need extra uniform!
In terms of sustainability, how do you see the future of the yachting industry developing?
There are some amazing things happening! I was reading today in a recent DockWalk article about natural teak that does not impact the environment adversely, as well as a company that is recycling and creating wonderful things out of unwanted boat inflatables. I also saw a brand new 100% environmentally friendly, electric powered tender, just launched, and of course sustainable uniform! I believe with enough desire and like minded people we can take an environmentally un savvy industry and make some incredible changes in a positive direction. At the very least this is one industry that has the means to do it!
Thank you to Lauren, check out Ethical Yacht Wear today. A sustainable uniform switch you won't regret!