Creating a Sustainable Loungewear Collection
by Rebecca J Mills Designs
Creating a loungewear collection has been a dream of mine for some time. It only became a reality last year when discussing business ideas with the two fabulous ladies (@cassandraflowersandstyling and @patternmistress), that I run my pop up shop with.
These two very creative ladies helped me to visualise my ideas. I wanted to design a collection that offered the ultimate comfort whilst being beautiful. I had a vision of a lady lying in a gorgeous dreamy slumber, as the sun goes down, suddenly waking up with a start and realising she’s supposed to be at a party! She jumps up, throws her eye mask to one side, grabs her shoes, bag and scarf and runs.
After lots of chatting and idea bouncing, the concept for my loungewear collection was born - ’From sofa to soiree’. The collection consists of 10 individual pieces of beautiful loungewear. Each piece is comfortable to lounge in, but could equally be worn out to a party. It includes a kimono, halter-neck dress, skirts, kick split trousers, full length pyjamas and a cami top and shorts.
In terms of production, I knew I wanted to take a similar approach to the one I use for my homewares, with local production and sustainability being key. One of my biggest goals recently as a business owner has been to ensure my products are all environmentally friendly and my business ultimately sustainable. I’ve always had an awareness, but this has been heightened by my two daughters who are both eco conscious, pushing me to ensure I’m being responsible.
Therefore the pieces in my loungewear collection are made locally in the UK. This enables me to react quickly to customer requirements and make to order in most cases. It allows me to avoid waste and unnecessary stock.
All my designer fabrics are digitally printed in the UK, which helps lessen any carbon emissions. They print in the most eco friendly way using special inks; no water is required in the printing process and it uses 95% less energy than traditional screen printing. Although I absolutely love the craft of screen printing, this is virtually a zero waste process and there are no residues from production.
This all results in very little carbon footprint as my loungewear collection is made out the back of the shop in Teddington. The great thing about working together in the shop with @patternmistress is that we have been able to get even more creative.
For example, any offcuts of the fabric used to make the main collection, we have been using to make other products like hairbands, scarves and eye masks. Not only is this giving me some great accessories to complement the loungewear, it is also eliminating more waste and pushing me to be more sustainable as a brand.
The final step in keeping the loungewear production sustainable is the packaging. Across all my products I’ve replaced cello bags with tissue paper. Soon all plastic bubble wrap will be replaced by a cardboard version. For plastic mailers, I'm using up what I have at the moment, but then I'd like to move to a paper version with fluted card padding inside.
Finally for poly bags, I plan to move to biodegradable or compostable bags that are made from potato starch.
The packaging is not only important for me as a business but I also want customers to feel they are not impacting the environment by purchasing from me. They can purchase their beautiful piece of loungewear and not only feel good wearing it but also know that they are not increasing their carbon footprint.
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