We are not perfect, but we are constantly trying to get there.
New products, regardless of how well-sourced or eco-friendly they are, will always have an environmental impact - so minimizing that impact is key. Using high-quality materials that have environmental certifications and sourcing labour from manufacturers that pay their workers fairly is, of course, the obvious place to start. But you can’t stop there.
The exploitation of people and ecosystems that happens around the world in the name of fashion is, unfortunately, something that is very much embedded into the industry at the present moment. It’s an industry that's responsible for 10% of emissions and 20% of wastewater production worldwide. Nearly a fourth of the world’s chemical production serves the fashion industry, and for every kilogram of cloth roughly 23 kgs of greenhouse gases (GHG) are emitted.
While fashion employs nearly half a billion people worldwide, less than 2% of them earn a living wage. According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), every week UK textile workers receive a total of £2.1 million less than they should because of systematic underpayment.
What makes it worst is that the fashion industry’s exploitation of the planet and most of the people living there often goes unnoticed. Buyers and customers alike are often misled when it comes to the sustainability of garments, and not always intentionally. The fine margins of the fashion industry, and the relative lack of regulation, mean that production of all kinds of items may be outsourced without the brand’s knowledge - making it impossible to verify the impact of the clothing production process. Add in the fact that the EU only requires manufacturing labels to acknowledge “the last substantial, economically justified processing,” and it's easy to see why so much of what gets sold as “sustainable fashion” really isn’t.
We want to do something about that. We know that as a small brand we’re limited in our capacity to effect change, especially further down the supply chain. But we still see it as our mission to push for improvement wherever we can and to hold ourselves to the highest standards.
We're not going to claim that we're completely sustainable, and there might be numerous areas where can improve. We will, however, be completely transparent with our practices and decisions and speak openly about how we affect people and the environment - and what we’re doing to improve.
The real issue with sustainable fashion is that sustainable fashion is not a precise term. Ask 20 different people what sustainable fashion really means to them and you’ll probably get quite a few different answers. This makes the concept a bot overwhelming, confusing, and prone to being used in contexts where it shouldn’t - which then leads to misunderstandings and greenwashing.
For us, sustainability means transparency, learning, and improvement. That means constantly striving for improvement in the sourcing of materials, the treatment of those materials, and the treatment of all the workers that contribute to this platform while having an open dialogue with our suppliers, manufacturers, and customers about what we’re doing and what we’re trying to achieve.
Being sustainable requires us to make efforts like visiting our suppliers and factories in person (which is why we currently only source and produce in Europe). It requires us to orient the entirety of our design and production around sustainability and plan with the supply chain in mind to ensure we are reducing our carbon footprint and overall environmental impact as much as possible. The Dyás also adjusts the scale, frequency, and content of our drops to ensure that the items on sale are made with high-quality sustainable materials that won’t go to waste.
Sustainability, as such, is about honesty even more than it is about publishing data. Honesty with our customers, our workers, our suppliers, and ourselves.
The Dyás is a platform to share mutual passions for craftsmanship, art, fashion, and sustainability. Just as we want to be forthcoming with our customers and collaborators, we want them to come forward to us. If you’ve read this statement and you’ve got something you think we’ve missed, or you want to just have a chat about it, please do get in touch with us.
The following are our sustainability commitments:
Sustainability is impossible without transparency. There are a lot of things to consider when creating a garment, and if you want the process to be as sustainable as possible you have to consider every single item that the garment requires. That includes the threads, the closures, the finishing, and the insides. Does it need shoulder pads? Fusing? Lining? These are all items that you can normally buy from the same supplier, but if you want those items to be as eco-friendly as possible you have to source each individually due to the limited scale of sustainable production. That means adjusting production to meet minimum order requirements, dealing with longer waiting times, and paying more - but it’s worth it.
We will regularly share content on our website and social media accounts to let our customers know what’s going on with the factories and suppliers we work with, where the fibers in our fabrics comes from, and every step of the material
sourcing from trimmings to labels, fusing, buttons, threads, and so on. We’ll share our successes, and our mistakes, in the hopes that we can establish an open dialogue with our customers and share our work with other creatives. While we’re very lucky that sustainability is starting to become a priority across all industries and there are some amazing innovations out there, there’s still a lot of work to be done - and we hope you’ll join us for the journey.
Water & Chemicals
When it comes to chemical pollution fashion is also a major culprit, using roughly 25% of all chemical production. The colors in our clothes, and everything really, are created using these chemicals - and finding sustainable alternatives is rather difficult. There are innovations out there such as natural dyes or micro-organism dyes, but they’re still too far and few between. Moreover, many are unable to produce the same bright colours that you get from non-sustainable dyes. Oh, and there are also a lot of other chemicals that are used in different stages of production to make fabrics non-slip, fire-resistant, easy-care, crease-resistant, and so on.
We currently use an Eco fast digital printer, a Sedex-certified printer that uses direct-to-fabric green tex pigment inks that are Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) 5.0 certified and inks that are OEKO-TEX standard 100 compliant. With this machine, the amount of water required for reactive digital and conventional screen printing is drastically reduced. At the same time, we also work with Bluesign system partners who have committed to eliminating over 900 potentially harmful chemicals from textile production.
Moving forward, we will continue to look for partnership opportunities with brands and organisations that are driving innovation and finding ways to drive down the environmental cost of fashion -and we’ll keep you in the loop!
Reducing waste is one of our most important commitments at The Dyás. Even though we encourage our customers to not dispose our garments, and instead treat each piece as a work of art that can be passed down, we’re aware that this might not always happen. So having an end of use plan is key.
Some of our fabrics and trimmings are certified as compostable and biodegradable - such as the TENCEL branded lyocell filaments we use. Others are recyclable - the Ny2life
zippers we use can be recycled over and over again and our woven labels are all 100% recycled. Moreover, we’re always concerned with the longevity of our pieces, and so we take care to choose the best possible materials when producing new items.
We also offer services to help reduce waste, such as repairs on all our garments (which you can currently arrange over email. We also repurpose existing items such as vintage curtains, tea towels, and sofa covers to create new garments that will be made available on the repurposed section of our website. These garments are one of a kind, unique, and made exclusively in our studio in London.
In terms of our own excess inventory, we have put in place a pre-order model to reduce over-production. Any excess fabric or unsold items will be repurposed into new ones. We also promise that not a single piece of excess from The Dyás will end up in a land field, and will continue to find new ways to extract the full value from every item we use or produce.
We want to change that. By sharing images, videos, and even interviews with and about the craftspeople making our garments, we hope to celebrate the talent, effort, and devotion that goes into each item of clothing - and give them their due credit for their work with The Dyás.
Making a garment is a very hands-on process. Even today, in the biggest factories, human labour is needed
at every step of the production process - and each one of those humans has specialised training. When clothes are extremely cheap, it’s almost always because the people producing the clothes aren’t being fairly paid.
Our prices may seem high, but that’s not because we’re turning a large profit. In fact, we’ve reduced our profit margins. Our prices reflect the quality of the materials used, and the sheer amount of labour required in production (and the cost of paying that labour fairly).
Fashion relies on the people in the supply chain. The individuals who make our clothes, grow our materials, or ship goods, need and deserve recognition and respect. We’re committed to adhering to all regulations and laws regarding working conditions and ethical practice, as well as going above and beyond to facilitate open communication with and between our workers to ensure their needs are met.
We avoid the use of synthetic fabrics (except recycled ones) since they release microfibres when washed that end up in rivers, lakes, and oceans. Instead, most of our fabrics
are natural, biodegradable, certified, and pure (since recycling blended fabrics require you to separate them which is a process that creates quite a bit of pollution. Our packaging is also 100% biodegradable, or re-usable in the case of our handmade bags.
Certifications can be a bit complicated, especially since there are so many and we’re currently so small. As we grow, however, we’ll be applying for the same certifications our partners have to formalize our commitment to sustainability.
We also avoid using any blended fabric since the process of separating mixed fabrics it’s too polluting and complicated. Certificates can sometimes be complicated, there are so many and hard to acquire as a small company, but as we grow, we will be applying for certifications to ensure our practices as company, for now, we partner with certificated businesses to ensure the most sustainable and fair practices.
Any business activity generates emissions, and the production of new goods generates even more. Capably measuring, reducing, and reversing (where possible) that impact is the only way to ensure that the overall impact of the business is not a net negative - and we’re committed to doing that. By planning production around the availability of items and taking pains to ship them as efficiently as possible, we hope to minimize our initial impact. Additionally, by giving back to our local community by offering education and opportunities for creative exploration and collaboration, we hope to create a positive social impact that can help make up for the inherent cost of producing clothing. As a business, it is our ambition to become fully carbon neutral. Doing so, however, is easier said than done. There’s no certification system for offset programs, which means that NGOs can publish misleading data with little to no repercussions. For instance, Verra (a US nonprofit that administers the world’s leading carbon credit standard) was discovered in 2021 by the Guardian and Unearthed (Greenpeace’s investigative arm) to have published data on multiple occasions which overstated the amount of carbon their forestry preservation program had offset. That said, we’re not opposed to offsetting our carbon impact altogether. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for reputable programs that are interested in working with us closely to either offset or further reduce our emissions - and we’ll keep you updated on our progress via social media.