FFDI is a proud ambassador of Close The Loop “Without sustainability there is no future for fashion or human kind“
Sustainability is one of the most important values that Flanders Fashion Design International is committed to every day. That is why we joined the Close The Loop project at the end of 2018, a coaching project initiated by Flanders DC and Flanders Circular. The platform wants to encourage the industry to move away from a linear “take-make-waste” system. It is important that the manufacturing industry looks forward and embraces the circular model, with a focus on a longer product lifespan and avoiding waste.
Sustainability has always been part of the FFDI’s corporate culture. It is a broad concept that is inextricably linked to quality. We opt for quality products that have just that “little bit more” or are made a little bit “differently”. We strive for a qualitative finish so that our items also last longer. In addition, “a people-oriented work philosophy” is essential. We want our suppliers and people on the shop floor and in the workshops to be able to work in qualitative conditions and are valued for their work. We want to force back respect for the manufacturing industry from the end consumer.
As a fashion entrepreneur you have the opportunity to make a change and influence the life cycle of a garment. This is divided into the following phases: from raw materials to design, production, sale, use and end of life; recyclability at best. Below we explain for each phase what we are already doing or will do step by step to contribute to the sustainability process.
Fabrics and raw materials
In the field of fabrics and raw materials, FFDI takes a close look at all the suppliers. Our team consistently chooses those who in their production process have already taken steps towards sustainable entrepreneurship. This can be in terms of the materials themselves as well as in the manufacturing process. Today, more than 80% of FFDI’s fabrics and raw materials come from Europe, in order to reduce transport. Specifically for Furore, we focus on qualitative, sustainable and timeless materials that can last a long life.
To date, Julia June, Amania Mo and her. follow the traditional system of seasonal collections. With Furore we are already opting for an alternative approach in which the terms slow fashion and season-less (70%) are key. With this brand we offer an answer to various ecological challenges that the fashion industry is currently facing, such as overconsumption, fast fashion and fierce competition with business models that are unsustainable for our planet.
90% of our production takes place in Europe. In fact, some of those European ready-to-wear companies are fully Belgian-owned. Our team visits these production houses several times a year and has build long-term relationships with them. Flanders Fashion Design International recently developed its own “Code of Conduct”, which all suppliers will also sign – conditio sine qua non. For the remaining 10%, FFDI is looking for a sustainable alternative.
Within FFDI, we try to reduce plastic and paper use by respectively combining several items of clothing per cover. We try to limit the amount of brochures and leaflets by addressing the underlying climate problem to our B2B customers and our end consumers, after which a change of attitude can occur. In addition, we keep checking whether we can creatively ‘reuse’ the shop window material for events and/or showrooms.
FFDI would like to go even further by achieving more sustainable sales. We want to make our carrier bags, hang tags, brochures and the (limited) POS material from FSC®-certified paper and cardboard and set up a return system for our coat racks. At the beginning of March 2020, FFDI already switched to sustainable coat racks from WPC (recycled Wood Plastic Composites) for transport to its own stores as well as to our B2B customers, this for the four brands.
FFDI attaches great importance to informing customers so that they will take care of their clothing in a more sustainable way. We fully realise that if we want to save the planet and work future-proof, customers must be willing to go along with it. We will therefore encourage our B2B customers, for example, to tell the end consumer more about the options for using clothing sustainably. Less but better!
End of life, or not yet
FFDI also wants to provide end customers with explicit information to maintain their garments properly and to make them aware that they can pass their items on to their daughters, their sisters and beyond. Furore is a sustainable “timeless” story in itself. The brands Julia June, Amania Mo and her. aim for “zero overstock” per season. If there are still items left in our own retail stores, we will offer them at a later stage in the outlet “More brands for less”. Our team wants to go even further in this regard and, together with the end consumer and B2B customers, offers options to give the clothing a second or even third life, through some form of recycling.
In short, FFDI stands for “future-proof” thinking, developing and acting or “close the loop”!