If you have been following me for a while you know that I have been struggling with this dilemma: I really want to have a sustainable and ethical clothes but the available options are either too expensive or too much not my style. You can read more about my thoughts regarding the subject here.
At some point, I almost gave up my search and settled down for second-hand options, which were more sustainable than regular shopping for sure, but still not what I was looking for.
Well, I am glad I kept my hope alive and I kept looking. I found something, that is my dream and vision of ethically produced clothes come true.
When I found EDIS and talked to Gabi and Ana for the first time, it felt like we have exactly the same ideas and vision. We want to have and promote a clothing industry that produces environmentally friendly and ethically made apparel that suits you perfectly. And they are doing it already! At EDIS you can order a specially tailored item according to your body and your style. You get to know your tailor directly, everybody involved in the process gets paid fairly and the materials are sustainable.
Do you want to know how it works? I prepared an interview with Gabi, the founder of EDIS so you’ll get a chance to know them better and see how it works.
What is your name and where are you from?
I’m Gabi Champagne from London.
What do you do at EDIS?
I am the founder.
Do you remember when for the first time you started to think about sustainability issues in the fashion industry? Do you remember why and when was it?
I first started to become aware of sustainability issues in the fashion industry when I started shopping at the Reformation 6 or 7 years ago. Reformation is amazing at portraying an important message through their really awesome clothes. This is our inspiration for EDIS which is to persuade even those who wouldn’t traditionally shop sustainably and ethically to do so, through offering an exciting new experience.
Fortunately, I have always had a natural sense of dressing sustainably from a very young age. Many of the clothes I still wear today, I have had for more than 10 years, and I always repaired my clothes when they broke, just because I loved them, and tried to avoid polyester, because I didn’t like the feel of it. This was long before I knew about the sustainable and ethical impacts of the fashion industry.
Do you remember the Rana Plaza disaster? What do you think, how many people are aware of this terrible accident today?
How many people are aware of the fact that their every day seemingly little actions horribly affect thousands of people?
Yes, of course, I remember the Rana Plaza disaster, it was and still is awful. Why it happened is simple. Factories compete to produce for brands on prices and turnaround times. To do this, they have to cut costs elsewhere. Whether it is through wages, infrastructure or safety regulations – it’s the garment workers that suffer the most.
A lot of people aren’t aware of it, and I don’t think it’s their fault. A lot more money goes into marketing fast fashion clothing than the negative impacts that it has. If we put as much money into publicising its negative impacts, many more people would think twice before buying a fast fashion item.
Education needs to change too. How we can become more environmentally and ethically conscious should be at the forefront of education. This is the kind of thing that should be taught in schools. Not something you should be in the ‘know’ and spend time researching.
Understandably, it is hard for people to change a lifestyle that they have been used to for so many years. That is why incremental steps are key!
Even a few months ago it looked like nothing can stop meaningless consumption, but now that the world has been “on hold” for a while and people can see that they don’t need all that stuff that they got used to, do we actually have hope for a better, more sustainable future?
Yes, I think it is a combination of things. People have more uncertain futures, especially when it comes to their incomes, they are going out less and need less clothing, they are not being impacted by what they see other people wearing on the street, and they are beginning to understand what really matters to them. All of it will help and may continue to for the next year or so. But I think people are going to want to get their fashion fixes (fast or not) as soon as this is over, so there is still a lot more work to be done.
How does EDIS work and why it’s better than regular or even sustainable shopping?
At EDIS we connect users to fashion designers to co-create unique pieces of clothing in their size. Each item is made on-demand, and out of deadstock fabrics wherever possible. The designer receives 80% of the price, turning the traditional brand/designer model on its head, and we don’t hold any stock, leaving very little room for waste.
We believe it’s better than regular and even sustainable shopping because you can still get almost exactly what you want made in your size. You have had a say in the design process of the piece you buy, which means you will love that item for many years to come. It means that you can make your own choices in the fashion industry when it comes to designs, sizes and the environmental impact you have. So you can start making change now, rather than waiting for the cogs fashion industry to change in years to come.
What kind of materials do you use and where do you source them from?
We have a partnership with a company called AmoThreads. They connect users to premium deadstock materials in small quantities. We try to use materials from them wherever possible. They are as new as we are though, and sometimes they don’t have exactly what we need. We will then buy materials from other locations, but we try to make sure as a minimum it’s made in Europe. We think it’s still more sustainable and ethical if the user buys clothes using these materials rather than going to a brand, but we are working on having sustainable only materials by the end of the year.
Who makes clothes at EDIS? Where are your designers from?
We have a range of talented designers that have varying expertise. Whether it is bespoke clothing, embroidery, upcycling, pyjamas or lingerie – we have it all. They are mainly based in Portugal, as that’s where we started, and we also have some in the UK. We are very open to collaborating with more talented designers across Europe.
How do you do the packaging? Is it sustainable as well?
At the moment we don’t have proper packaging. The item is sent in a normal envelope from the post office. We try to recycle the envelopes as much as possible between us. We are about to get our packaging from NoIssue – who sell compostable packaging.
How does the shipping work? Do you ship worldwide?
Shipping is included in the final price we quote to the customer. We do ship worldwide, but we are currently focussing more on the European market.
And finally, what does EDIS stand for?
It stands for Exclusive Designs, Inclusive Sizes.
Well, I think the words speak for themselves. I thank Gabi for this great interview and for her work at EDIS.
Did you get excited as well and do you want to try it out and order an item for yourself? Use the code of ANNALOGIC10 and get -10e from your first order here.
*an update from Edis – at the moment they are focusing on orders mainly from Europe*
Cover photo was kindly provided by Gabi Champagne.