What are reclaimed fabrics?
Does reclaimed mean recycled? Remade from old clothes? Nope. Reclaimed fabrics are offcuts and surplus of fabric that was bound for landfill. Our fabrics are reclaimed luxury lingerie textiles in brand new condition. Every year, millions of tonnes of textile go to waste because brands or factories decide to discard material. This could be because a certain style or colour isn’t selling well or a something is dyed slightly the wrong colour. We work with a supplier that buys surplus from all around the world and brings it back to a warehouse in England.
The impact of conventional fashion fabric production
All of these fabrics have environmental impact at various stages including growing the fibre (if it’s natural) or making the fibre (if man-made), knitting, dyeing and washing. Much of this impact occurs because every stage of production is done in different factories, often in different countries. For example, chemicals used in dyeing can be saved and reused in the next dye bath - creating a closed loop fashion ecosystem. In reality, fabrics are coated with chemicals and dyed at one factory and washed at another factory. The latter factory has no incentive to keep the chemicals from the previous stage because they don’t perform that part of production. Chemicals from manufacturing will often be discarded into local waters, especially in developing countries.
China, the world’s largest producer of fashion, discharges an estimated 2.5 billion tonnes of wastewater each year from fashion production.10-15% of fabric in fashion ends up wasted on the cutting room floor and often ends up in landfills. In underdeveloped parts of the Far East, textiles are often left by the side of the road or burned - leading to air pollution. We believe it’s time to make these fabrics in a more environmentally friendly way and reduce the amount of textiles that are wasted.
How are ethical fashion brands different?
In recent years, people around the world have learned about the unglamorous side of fashion. As a result, many ethical or sustainable fashion brands have popped up. These brands often choose to work with organic fabrics, local production or implement a zero fabric waste scheme to reduce their environmental impact . While these are fantastic solutions, there’s often tradeoffs with sustainable materials. Organic cotton for example uses less pesticides than conventional cotton but still requires a lot of water to produce.
Why did we choose reclaimed fabrics?
Our founders have always loved buying from vintage and charity shops. They feel good when they buy something that already exists, rather than demanding new environmental impact. That’s the same logic they used when starting Lara Intimates: it’s better to use something that already exists rather than create something new. Reclaimed fabrics are the most sustainable choice, in our option, because they reduce what’s being sent to landfill. Right now, all our underwear for women is made from reclaimed nylon mesh. This luxury lingerie fabric is sheer, stretchy and very soft - which makes our underwear super comfortable too. All our gold hardware and hook and eye closures are also reclaimed.