Sustainability. It’s become a bit of a buzzword of late, but how can you tell if the brands you are buying from are truly trying to effect change?
One brand that has sustainability sewn into its fabric is Baukjen. We go behind the scenes to learn more about what the Anglo-Dutch brand is doing to make a difference below.
Meet the makers
A look inside the factories Baukjen works with
““You are not just buying into a brand – you’re purchasing an item that’s been meticulously crafted and lovingly made. Transparency and personality are important to us.””
Baukjen makes regular visits to their factories and has a strong and committed relationship with all of the owners. They are truly experts in their fields and are exceptionally passionate about what they do. Every factory that Baujken works with is required to sign a code of conduct agreement. The agreement centres around fair employment practices including offering safe working conditions and fair working hours, ensuring staff are paid living wages and aren’t discriminated against. This ensures that environmental, ethical and social needs are upheld and protected to improve the quality of life of the people that the brand impacts.
Each design is made to last
““Sourcing and using high-quality materials that will last and can be worn for many seasons to come is vital to us.””
With 70% of Britons throwing away unwanted clothing rather than re-using it or recycling, it is crucial that brands make clothing that will last beyond a single season. Baukjen’s collections are timeless and designed to offer customers the ability to shop less, but better. Reviewed to ensure that it can be mixed and matched with at least three other products, each item is created to be hard-working, high-quality and stand the test of time.
Baukjen also encourage their customers to increase the lifespan of their clothing by washing pieces less often at lower temperatures and storing them in a way that will protect them for longer.
The brand is also careful to not over-produce their clothes. They are reactive season-by-season – meaning that only if a style is doing well will they order more stock. They donate their samples (several hundred each season) and textile scraps to charities including women's shelters, Women's Aid and Save the Children or recycle them to reduce the impact on landfills and help those in need.
Caring for the earth
Reducing waste and minimising carbon footprint
“Simply we care – about you and the environment. It’s our overarching philosophy.””
Many fabrics used in the clothing industry contain plastic and will never biodegrade if they end up in landfill. Most of the fabrics Baukjen use are derived from natural fibres and they work with sustainable fabrics including lyocell, viscose and merino wool. Lyocell and Viscose are man-made fabrics created from cellulose and are both biodegradable. Merino wool is also bio-degradable and Baukjen only sources non-mulsed wool from farmers that practice safe sheep husbandry methods.
Animal welfare is important to the brand so they ensure that their suppliers adhere to the Five Freedoms (which outlines the five aspects of animal welfare under human control). The majority of leather used by Baukjen is from Portugal and the other small percentage is from France. All of their leather is a by-product, meaning that the animal is not slaughtered for the sole use of their skin.
Packaging is also fully recyclable, as are catalogues and Baukjen is working towards eliminating single use plastics from their supply chain. The brand keeps things local wherever possible – miles per garment matter, so samples are created in-house and 90% of Baukjen collections are manufactured in Europe to minimise the brand’s carbon footprint.
As for many brands, becoming more sustainable is an ever-evolving process. Baukjen leaves us with a final thought: “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying and striving to do better. We’re constantly learning and adapting our methods to maintain a high level of commitment in keeping our collection ethically sustainable.”