Since the new IPCC climate report came out and Greta Thunberg has been on the cover of Vogue magazine, the impact of fashion on Global Warming has been back on the table. Today, we would like to tell you why Ethletic sneakers are not as fast and fucked up as most of the rest of the fashion world. Here are the reasons!
Following the IPCC report’s new findings, the Fashion Revolution Movement has put together some major requests for the fashion industry to reduce its impact. The brands, it says, must:
– stop overproduction
– reduce waste
– switch to renewables
– urgently transition away from fossil fuel-based fabrics.
Well, what can we say? Check, check, check, and… check! Yep.
But, let’s be honest, our efforts didn’t yet reach the end of the line, that’s for sure. And we’re here to show the big names how to do it! And we’re actually happy when they follow our example, like, for real, not in the greenwashed way.
So here’s a list of things that Ethletic is doing… quite well.
1. Our fashion is fair.
From the beginning, Ethletic has been a project that has the workers in mind. The people who sewed the footballs – the first Fairtrade footballs ever to be made, by the way, because that’s how our story began -, now the people who make your sneakers. We are doing everything to make sure that they have safe, healthy working conditions and earn a living wage. We actually know these people, we visit often. One US-Dollar per pair that is sold goes directly to the Workers‘ Welfare Society.
When start-up tip me asked us to be their development partner and first shop to go online with, we said Yes! Via tip me, our customers can tip the workers directly, making their everyday life easier and adding a little person-to-person fun to the idea of global exchange. In the true sense!
Greta says: „The fashion industry is a huge contributor to the climate-and ecological emergency, not to mention its impact on the countless workers and communities who are being exploited around the world in order for some to enjoy fast fashion that many treat as disposables.“
We as a brand don’t support any kind of exploitation, be it of people, ecosystems, or animals. And we’re an example to the fashion world that we can easily do without! But, there’s one major difference then…
2. We are small.
And we might stay that way. Forever. Buhuhuhu.
The positive side is, as Greta said: „You cannot mass produce fashion or consume ,sustainably‘ as the world is shaped today. That is one of the many reasons why we will need a system change.“
As a small brand, we ARE system change. We personify it in our everyday actions as a pioneer in the field of fair fashion. We started our venture right after the millennium (ok, that sounds really old! ;-)). We wanted to offer customers an ethical alternative to conventional sneakers.
As the „Vogue“ just put it: „Small businesses can hold some of the most exciting solutions for a clean, safe, fair and transparent fashion industry – solutions that don’t rely on unsustainable growth to measure success.“
Well, we grow organically. Which means: Slow(er). Sometimes, it seems like we don’t grow at all, like, during Corona lockdown times, when sales dropped.
Still, when you are small and you do not focus all your energy on making money but on making the world a little bit better, of course, you can make decisions based on values rather than profit. This is what we do. Plain and simple. We as a team love to live off this work we do for Ethletic – that’s it. There’s no need to build an empire, buy a yacht, or fly to outer space. As tempting as it is!
This is the freedom the big corporations usually don’t have. So they are, up to now, always, always bound to monetary reasons. This leads us to the next point…
3. We are free.
Unlike many other brands in the fair, vegan area we haven’t been bought out by a big player, and we don’t rely on big bank money. We are, so to say, independent. We only spend what we have earned. And that, let us tell you this, feels really good and makes up for many sleepless nights. : )
4. We don’t re-invest the money we earn in huge players like Facebook/Instagram.
We still try to do it the old-fashioned way, word of mouth, organic growth, interesting, relevant content. We don’t think it to be too sustainable to invest more money in marketing than in our social work.
5. We offer transparency.
Unlike most others. Greta has put it this way on her Twitter: „Many make it look as if the fashion industry is starting to take responsibility, spending fantasy amounts on campaigns portraying themselves as ,sustainable‘, ,ethical‘, ,green‘, ,climate neutral‘ or ,fair‘. But let’s be clear: This is almost never anything but pure greenwash.“
With our new tool TRACE YOUR SNEAKERS, on the other hand, everyone can precisely track the path of the Ethletic sneaker from the cotton field to the dispatch center. The new German supply chain law makes companies liable – and we are the first sneaker manufacturer to fully disclose to others, by way of example, where we get the raw materials from and where they are processed. Step by step.
6. We don’t use plastic packaging.
This might seem like quite a small contribution, but it sure makes a difference to send a cardboard shoebox wrapped in paper rather than in a plastic bag. Right?
7. We rarely overproduce.
Sometimes, we lack some sizes of sneakers that you really like. Then it takes a lot of time to restock these styles, since the sneakers are made in Pakistan and then shipped to Germany (which is much more sustainable than flying them here). This is slow fashion, and it means that not every demand will be satisfied. Is this a big drama? We don’t think so, do you?
8. All of our stuff is organic.
This means, no pesticides, more biodiversity, better soil for future generations. And future is what it’s all about, right? Starting… with a better tomorrow.
Thanks to you, who value our efforts. Thank you so much.
Text: Annika Langhagel
Coverphoto: Blooming Memories
Photo “Planet over Profit”: Markus Spiske of Pexels