by Editor, Camy Sandford.
TALA talks cleantech, sustainability, and the future of the slow fashion industry.
The negative impact of the fashion industry has been well documented, ranging from ethical concerns over working conditions, to its extraordinary environmental impact.
According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the total footprint of clothing in use in the UK, including global and territorial emissions, was 26.2 million tonnes CO2, and 8 billion m3 of water in 2016. To put this in perspective, this means that the average annual clothing footprint for a British household (including washing and cleaning) equals the amount of CO2 produced driving 6,000 miles in a modern car, and the amount of water needed to fill 1,000 bathtubs.
Responsible for widespread environmental degradation, resource consumption, and waste, the biggest culprit has undoubtedly been the rise of fast fashion, and the constant cycle of replacement many deem necessary to keep up with ever-changing trends.
Despite the staggering effects of these consumption patterns, many outlets have been reluctant to change, blaming logistical difficulties, profit margins, or consumers for supporting their damaging operations.
However, with the emergence of British Athleisure brand TALA, these excuses no longer hold firm, as this sustainable label continue to break down barriers to sustainable slow-fashion consumption.
The Impact of TALA
Launched in May 2019 by fitness influencer and entrepreneur Grace Beverly, TALA exploded onto the athleisure scene, amassing a revenue of £5.2 million despite only recently celebrating its first birthday.
A market notoriously difficult to conquer, TALA’s focus on sustainable, high-performance activewear at the competitive market price has captured the interest of consumers around the world. Having recently diversified, with collections now spanning loungewear, streetwear and accessories, their launches are a testament to their success, regularly selling out in a matter of minutes.
“Sustainability is one of our key USPs and definitely a key factor in our growth,” a TALA representative told CleanTech News, with ethicality built into TALA’s business model from the outset.
Beginning first with production, TALA ensures that their garments are made using over 92% upcycled or recycled materials, using either offcuts or plastic bottles that would previously have gone to landfill.
Based in a cutting-edge facility in Portugal, the Polyamide used in manufacture is created using a recycled fibre called Q-NOVA. Certified and traced by the Global Recycle Standard system, the European ECOLABEL EU system and by the OEKO-TEX STD 100 CLASS I system, technology reduces water consumption by 90%, and emissions by 80% compared to other polyamide yarn.
In addition, through the use of recycled cotton in hoodies and joggers, TALA saves 4817 litres of water per tonne of recycled cotton used compared to cotton grown. Meanwhile, even their tags avoid waste, containing seeds and made of 100% plantable paper.
However, as their representative explains:
“Due to the emphasis we place on sustainability of materials, we have had to make sacrifices – we don’t have the profit margins of the bigger, non-sustainable brands, but it’s important to us that we stay true to our values and continue to deliver on our promise to our customers.”
The Future of Slow Fashion
“Through the launch of TALA, we have demonstrated that there is huge demand for sustainability across the apparel industry, and encourage our audience every day to vote with their money and choose to shop sustainably.
We use our social platforms to empower people to make better choices and to hold big brands accountable, so we hope to see brands across all industries continue to adopt a more sustainable and ethical approach to the production of their products,” TALA told CleanTech News.
However, for many businesses the rise of COVID-19 represents a significant, and unexpected obstacle. However, it seems one that TALA is well prepared to overcome.
“Our biggest concern is obviously that we are keeping the team and our workers safe.” TALA told CleanTech News. “We plan collections several months in advance so our stock for the last few months was already in our fulfilment centre in the UK and thankfully, TALA hasn’t been adversely affected. We are experiencing delays on samples for upcoming collections and we are working with third party partners to ensure we are communicating any delays in shipping orders to our customers.”
Looking to the long term, TALA told CleanTech News:
“Cleantech is important across all industries, and fashion as a major polluter also needs to make wholesale changes moving forward. We are trying to show there is another way. As the digital landscape continues to grow, this emphasis will also move to better options for consumer deliveries to be more efficient.”
Addressing the future impacts of COVID-19, TALA’s spokesperson said:
“The nature of the slow-fashion industry means our processes have a longer timeline and therefore need planning further in advance. We hope that fast-fashion brands have used this time to reflect on their processes and that we see a greener, more ethical future for the apparel industry moving forwards.”