Thursday, 31 May 2012

Top Shop Goes Ethical (a bit)

Top Shop are the latest high street retailer to dip their toes into the ethical fashion market. It's a tentative, but hopeful start.
They are working in conjunction with Reclaim To Wear, a company set up in 1997 to come up with a solution to the problem of textile waste. Together, they have created a capsule collection made from production offcuts and repurposed overstock items. The clothes are designed to be mixed and matched, and include a soft grey marl sweater, blouse and colour block panel maxi dress.
It's an admirable start, and Top Shop have chosen wisely for their first collaboration. The founders of Reclaim To Wear, Orsola de Castro and Filippo Ricci are the brains behind Esthetica, the eco-fashion offshoot of London Fashion Week. But the clothes are only available at Top Shop's flagship Oxford Circus store and online. For the Saturday browsing crowd that make up Top Shop's core consumer base, the clothes might as well not be there.
Can we throw out an accusation of greenwashing? Not in this case, I think. The feeling here is more one of "carefully does it". I'd like to see this as a soft launch for a more meaningful drive into the ethical arena. As Orsola de Castro puts it:
"This is the first step towards the creation of zero waste design collections. I trust that the Topshop team's commitment to new sustainable solutions will lead to the reconsidering of consumption versus disposal throughout the whole fashion industry supply chain."
You can't say fairer than that, and here at The Pier we wish Top Shop and Reclaim To Wear lots of luck in their new venture.
The collection drops on June 15th. More on the Topshop Blog. 

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