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Why a sustainable approach to fashion and retail is more important than ever

As many of us have slowed down and taken stock of the world around us, now has been a time to appreciate a more considered mindset. We put some questions to our friends and fellow sustainability advocates, Dreamers & Drifters founder Verity Wilson, and Kukukachu creative director Alana Gunn.  

Both based in Byron Bay and both passionate about sustainability, Verity Wilson and Alana Gunn share their insights on the need for sustainability.

Verity Wilson is a fashion designer that saw some of the big overseas factories up close and personal in countries like China, India and Mauritius. It was first hand experience facing the issues of fast fashion that inspired her to start her own label, Dreamers & Drifters, in 2015, which then grew to become her own boutique – one that we’re very proud to have designed with her.

Dreamers & Drifters boutique

Through her label and her popular boutique, Verity has been championing the sustainable fashion movement. “The first step of sustainable fashion is the shopper being mindful of their purchases. We shouldn’t be replacing things that could be washed, mended and handed down. Sustainable fashion is smaller production runs, the designer knows their factories intimately, and they’re using conscious fabrics,” she says.

While the world has taken a pause, now is a time to truly contemplate our buying patterns. It has also thrown into relief just how reliant we are on supply chains. “I truly hope that COVID stops the disgusting cycle of deliveries pretty much going straight on sale. Companies need to take responsibility for unnecessary overproduction,” says Verity.

Alana Gunn, creative director at Kukukachu

On her own but somewhat similar trajectory, creative director Alana Gunn set up her textile studio – Kukukachu – creating prints for fashion labels with a focus on ageless design and a strong consideration for minimal waste and ink usage. “Our artworks focus on the process of printing with thought for the amount and types of inks used. This is what contributes to a large portion of the waste that is polluting our environment,” shares Alana.

The process of selecting and creating a unique fabric has not drastically changed, but Alana sees now as an opportunity for designers to take a moment to really assess the decisions they make in their production. She says: “I believe that designers should be focusing on what sustainable fabrics are available to them before choosing an artwork instead of the other way around. Given that many designers have been forced to slow down, now is a great opportunity to do just that.”

The value of in-store interaction is key for Verity

For Verity, the value of face-to-face customer interaction cannot be understated. It’s an imperative tool in the customer journey, and one that many are in fact craving right now. “There’s nothing like face-to-face customer engagement, I’ve worked really hard on the brand’s in-store customer experience and I think that’s where most of my growth has come from,” Verity says.

While many brands, stores and companies have been utterly disrupted, and an uncertain future looms around the corner. This slower, more considered approach to how we make and what we buy is where the true inspiration lies. A feeling that Alana well and truly shares, “I really do hope that the industry does not go back to the way it was but is excited about a new a positive outlook on what it could be.”

Here at whitewood, we see this time as a great opportunity to rethink and streamline our services, which is why we launched our online packages.

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