Behind the Seams | View on Sustainability
Welcome to the first instalment of our new journal series, ‘Behind the Seams’. In this series of posts we are going to give you an insight into how we operate at WAWWA. We're kicking things off with a run down of our past practices, our current ones and our targets for the future.
From the get-go, Co-founders Sean and Andrew have been mindful of the materials used in WAWWA products. The very first tees that they printed on, back in their uni days, were made from organic cotton and they still are. This was because their initial research into clothing composition shocked them due to the harmful processes used in the making of garments.
However, to transfer Andrew’s artwork onto these tees they were screen printed using plastisol-based inks. Although such inks are the popular choice for the printing of most tees in the fashion world, they are pretty harmful. Not only are the inks themselves plastic filaments, they require strong chemicals to clean the screens once used. Thankfully, we have found a new method (see below).
As the range has expanded so has our knowledge of materials and how we can limit our impact on the planet further. Our cotton is still organic and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified, and the majority of our T-Shirts are manufactured in a factory that is powered by renewable energy. Added to this, all of our factories are family run and Fair Trade. We make the effort to visit them every year to ensure they meet our environmental and ethical standards. We’ve also started to make garments from recycled materials and constantly try to reduce our reliance on virgin materials. The Recycled Pocket Tees for example are 40% recycled polyester which is derived from recycled plastic bottles. The zips used on our garments, such as the Jonah, are also made from completely recycled plastic. The new method of screen printing has seen us adopt water-based inks, not your standard ink that is usually plastic based. These inks don’t require any nasty chemicals to clean and actually make for a better quality and durable finish. Finally, our labels, essential to every garment, are all 100% recycled polyester.
It isn’t all about the environment, however. We want to make sure that people are being looked after. All the workers that play a role in manufacturing a WAWWA garment are paid fairly and work in pleasant environments. We also want to do our bit to help people less fortunate than us, that’s why we launched the 1+1 campaign a few years back. For every garment sold as part of the collection, we donate another to someone in need. So far we have donated almost 4,000 hats to homeless charities nationwide and intend to extend the distribution to help people living with a wide range of difficulties, such as refugees or those suffering with mental health issues.
We are always trying to find new ways to make our products better for the environment and the people who make and buy our clothes. Our ultimate goal is to have complete control of the production process, have our own warehouse, with our own staff to make things as transparent as possible. It would also be cool if that was powered by sources of renewable energy. But, we're not quite there yet.
For now, we are experimenting with new materials and collaborating with innovative people who share the same passion as us. Post-consumer waste is one area we are really trying to tackle. We want to utilise the perfectly usable fabrics that are discarded on a daily basis.
Stay posted to see how we get on, we’ve got some exciting plans in the pipeline!
We hope you enjoyed the read and a little insight to what we do at WAWWA. Stay tuned for more ‘Behind the Seams’ features from us soon...