John believes that, while the fashion industry needs to accept a level of responsibility for the impact it has had on the environment, companies that are bringing about a change in consumer mindset and behaviour need to be acknowledged. She was disappointed that the recommendations by the Environmental Audit Committee within the fashion industry were rejected by the government earlier this year.
The means to validate sustainability, believes John, will only be a good thing for companies because, as she explains, “one of the hardest things about sustainability is how companies can be fairly measured and recognised for what they are doing.” What is needed is an official process because, explains John, that will mean “consumers and citizens have access to make fair and informed decisions of who they are spending their money with.” Education and information are vital to bring about universal and long-lasting behavioural change.
It’s a change that John feels excited about within the fashion industry as innovation and new business models pave the way for sustainable models to be just as successful, if not more so, than legacy behaviours. This means consumers can make more mindful choices, adds John, “whether that is looking for brands with more transparency within supply chains or investing in something to keep, or to rent it out or give it a second life with resell and many other avenues.”
Reaching your consumer
The Restory recently rolled out a partnership with Selfridge’s. This followed a similar partnership with Harvey Nichols last year, which created physical drop-off points where consumers can bring their much-loved bags, shoes and leather items to be repaired and restored. The brand is due to launch more partnerships with “retailers, renters and resellers” alike in the new year while their goal is to eventually “provide on-demand aftercare for the full wardrobe.”
As the brand has grown, the challenge has been says John, to maintain the level of customer service they started with while keeping up with the growing demand. From here, the brand’s intention is to scale, both at home and internationally and reach new clients, something John says is made easier through their use of Instagram and an online editorial of case studies.
John cites the “ecological sneaker” brand Veja as an example of the growing importance of sustainability to a broad range of consumers. She explains, “I think Veja as a brand have done an amazing job at being transparent with their supply chains and impact whilst being able to sell at a relatively accessible price point and yet managing to engage with luxury clients.”