I love companies who are ‘what it says on the tin’ and the ethical guys at Rapanui Clothing certainly tick that box and are ramping things up a notch and aiming for gossamer transparency too.
They make and stock a range of limited edition, natural, organic and ethically sourced garments and started as an underground t-shirt maker on the Isle of Wight. With degrees in Business and Renewable Energy between them, the Drake-Knight brothers Martin and Rob founded the company on an ambitious sustainable business model. It quickly established itself amongst the most ethically progressive clothing companies around.
With solid green foundations, they understand the importance of educating people about exactly where the clothing comes from and how it is made. On their website, you can see real photos, facts and figures and make an informed choice. There’s no spin, no green-wash, just open, candid information, welcoming and transparent and to put the eco-cherry on the cake, they also donate 5% of their profits to environmental charities.
But they go far beyond this; critically this company has a culture of ‘Doing not Aiming’. They believe it is their ‘duty’ to inspire people to consider their own effect on the environment, and on poorer countries, through sustainable design.
On my favourite topic of rubbish, Rob Drake-Knight, the Sales and Marketing Director told me, “As a company we use minimal packaging and the plastic packaging sent to us from wholesale suppliers just does our heads in! There’s no need for it at all! I’m not sure what the exact figures are but I bet there’s a shed load of unnecessary packaging generated by commercial wholesalers, heading straight to landfill.
In the office, all the staff do their bit to help out by growing a few bits and bobs – salad mainly but a few other bits of veg too and we buy our fridge stuff for lunches from local farms – eggs, asparagus etc. There is an epic organic farm shop nearby called Farmer Jacks where we buy a great deal. They tend to have zero packaging too, which is an added bonus.
We also have our own peely bin which we stick all of our office food waste in – it’s a lot easier than having a mangy pot and taking it to the compost heap every day or so, as the peely bin can hold a good few days worth of food waste (uncooked of course). Then we go and whack it in the composter at the bottom of the garden and it’s eventually reused in staff vegetable patches to grow more food – how simple is that?”
Rapanui Clothing have clearly got their own personal and business carbon footprint in good order, but their new campaign proposes to strip the fashion business right down to naked information.
Rob told me “We want to promote the availability of information to consumers, so we can all make informed choices and take responsibility for the fact that we may have bought something which affects someone we don’t know or can’t see in another country, adversely.
So we are implementing our traffic lights campaign, an online petition supporting our idea that, as with food, clothing should be rated in the same way, i.e. instead of the traffic light system indicating if your pre-made sandwich has a high salt or fat content, our traffic light system indicates the quality of working conditions or the energy used to make the garment.”
It’s clearly going to be a challenging campaign but they’ve kicked it off by clearly labelling their new range. Rob explained “All garments have + and – points next to them so our consumers can make informed choices, candid and open marketing – this is a true approach to behaving as a transparent brand.”
One thing’s for sure; your order will be pleasing to the nose, the skin and will not be wrapped in superfluous, irritating packaging!