Because there is no planet B
Sustainability is how we ensure our existence in the future. At our current rate of consumption and production, the world will become a very unlivable place in just a few generations. Although existing companies have the excuse that they are simply continuing their traditional production methods, which were developed at a time of low awareness and different global priorities, new companies have no such excuses. For us it is unfathomable to ignore all the warning signs and put profit ahead of environmental and social responsibility.
The fashion industry is claimed to be the second most polluting industry in the world. It pollutes waterways by releasing toxic chemicals from fabric dyeing and washing, plastic microfibres end up in our water from washing polyester garments, water resources are used unsustainably in cotton farming, the cross-global transportation of garments results in high carbon emissions, and the environmental pollution from textile waste is enormous.
Our fabrics are made from innovative natural fibres. We are aware of the oftentimes harmful fabric production and therefore invest significant time and effort into choosing sustainably produced fabrics. Our fabrics are either made from organic cotton, which means that there is no detrimental effect on the local environment or resources during growing, or Tencel Lyocell from the Austrian fibre manufacturer Lenzing. Tencel Lyocell is a cellulose fibre extracted from wood grown through responsible forestry using organic solvents in a closed-loop system that recovers 99% of the chemicals.
Our fabrics are dyed and treated in Europe, where environmental and worker-protection laws are better than in third-world countries. Rejecting monopolies and seeing the fabric sourcing as a multi-layered problem that cannot be grasped by a single certification, DIFFAIR does not restrict itself to a single certification authority. We however do try to source fabrics that are produced in accordance with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), or the OEKO-TEX Standard 100, both of which ensure no environmentally-harmful or health-hazardous chemicals are used. We follow a holistic approach and judge each fabric according to the high standard we demand for a sustainable ecology, in which humans and the environment are interdependent on each other.
DIFFAIR supports local fashion designers and the local fashion industry. For each collection, we work with two fashion designers: one for the women’s and men’s collections, the other for the genderless line. We see the talent that is around and create jobs and visibility for it. We also provide an opportunity to many Swiss trained tailors entering the job market every year, giving them a chance to practice their chosen profession.
Another aspect of our social responsibility is to our customers. By rejecting the standard sizing of typical fashion brands, we cater to those people who don’t fit into the five or so sizes usually offered. Our matrix sizing provides access to all those who are taller or shorter than their width might imply. Furthermore, our rejection of the binary gender classification by introducing a third gender category, addresses the social reality of gender fluidity and provides a realistic option for gender fluid clothing.
Our unique business model revolutionizes the fashion industry. We offer made-to-measure clothing specifically for the height and size of our customers, which means that we produce much less waste than traditional fashion brands that manufacture large quantities of clothing - usually abroad - that may never even be sold.
The current globalized economic model is unsustainable. It relies on the existence of poor countries with cheap labour to produce the goods consumed in the high-wealth countries, yet none of the social benefits from the high-wealth countries are available to the workers in the poor countries, and in most cases, the working conditions in the poor countries would actually be illegal in the countries where the goods are sold.
Furthermore, as responsible human beings, we should wish that no country has a worse standard of living than our own, and that at some point this is a realisable goal. At that point, there would be no cheap-labour countries to exploit and the current globalization model would break down.
Because DIFFAIR produces in the country of sale, our model is economically sustainable and most of our revenue flows back into the Swiss economy.