Since the foundation of our company AMELI ZURICH, producing with integrity and having a mindful use of resources are part of our DNA. In recent years, our society has become more sensitive to environmental issues. The recent study of McKinsey & Company shows an increased engagement in sustainability during the COVID-19 crisis with the consumers demanding a more conscious, socially and environmentally friendly behavior of the fashion players.
As a young fashion company, we see it as our responsibility to actively position ourselves on this topic and tell you how we implement sustainability in our business strategy.
How the fashion industry contributes to environmental damage
Fashion in general is not known as an industry that usually supports sustainability. Known as the second-largest polluter in the world, the fashion industry has a disastrous impact on the environment: Approximately, 20% of industrial water pollution comes from textiles treatment and dyeing. Every year, 1,3 trillion liters of water are used by the fashion industry. On top of that, 23 kilograms of greenhouse gases are generated for each kilo of fabric produced.
In addition to that, we live in a culture of fast fashion. On average, a clothing piece is only worn seven times before it is thrown away for good! Every year, the fashion industry produces 100 billion pieces of clothing. Out of the 100 billion garments produced annually, around 20% are not sold. Worldwide, consumers are throwing away a total of 2,1 billion tonnes of old clothes and the average clothing item is worn 7 times.
To read more about the ways and routines of the fashion industry, you can check out Dana Thomas "Unfair Fashion" (2020), where most of the statistical data for this article has been drawn from.
Fashion and sustainability? How do these two words go together?
However, there are ways to minimize these global problems and developments and change the culture of production and waste. From a professional side, we at AMELI ZURICH aim to follow a more sustainable approach. As young entrepreneurs, we asked ourselves: What change can we make? How can we be part of the new wave of sustainable oriented fashion brands? How can we inspire our customers and producers to be more conscious? How can we learn more and help change the old routines of the fashion industry?
In our perception, the word “sustainability” is so often used with completely different interpretations (and maybe also misused for greenwashing by some companies?). So of course, there is always one aspect in which one could be “more sustainable” and also we are not yet where we want to be. Within the small frame we operate, we aim to do our best to spread more awareness and be more thoughtful with our resources and environment.
How our core values guide us into a more conscious future at AMELI ZURICH
Our main core values craftsmanship, integrity, and transparency shape the way we think and operate here at AMELI ZURICH. If applied to the concept of sustainability we want our customers to enjoy fashion for what it should be – a creative tool to express your identity and individuality – without having to have a bad conscience. We strongly believe that our values enable us to do so and do indeed represent our ambitions.
Valueing craftsmanship is for us a way to ensure high-quality products that endure over seasons.
For us, sustainability means less, but better. We want to produce products that last. For that, our designs are timeless and elegant, paired with high quality. We believe that creating high quality leather products requires combining modern and best in class materials with years of experience in leather processing and manufacturing. That is why our bags are exclusively hand-manufactured in Italy by a small, traditional family business, with utmost attention to details and the highest level of precision and care.
Our pieces are thus designed and manufactured to last over years and at least with our ambition and desire, that the AMELI products are worn more than 7 times.
Integrity means a conscious consumption of the resources we use.
We make sure that we always work with integrity. We create designs that can stand the test of time, but we are also very thoughtful with our resources. Our handbags and small briefcases are all made of real cow leather of the highest quality, sourced directly from Italian tanneries. The leathers that we use come only from agricultural livestock and thus are a by-product of the meat industry. This means that no animal is bred only for its leather and that we do not need lands or other resources that have long-lasting effects on the environment.
Further, we only produce small, low-risk batches at the time and make use of pre-ordering to avoid overproduction. Besides that, we have added small leather accessories to our product range, so that we can use the leftover leather, therefore minimizing waste.
As part of our transparency, we carefully select all our materials from Italy and can keep the emissions low.
Lastly, sustainability means that we are always honest and transparent about our supply chain and working practices. We want to be completely open to our customers because their trust in us is the biggest asset.
As part of our transparent supply chain, we source all our materials from Italy directly from the suppliers. Thereby we can keep the emissions low, in contrast to the global fashion industry, in which material production, garment production and final selling are often in different continents.
For further transparency, we want to involve our customers in our communication and give them regular insights, updates, and everything that goes on "behind the scenes". One example would be our blogpost "Made in Italy vs. 100% made in Italy?", that you can read here. In this article, we talk about the long journey of finding the best handbag producer in Italy and how we decided against worker exploitation and supposedly good quality with an opaque supply chain.
In summary, we want to be part of the new and environmentally conscious brands that emerged in recent times, and that form an antipole to the fast-fashion culture. We believe that our values not only represent our brand AMELI ZURICH, but also reflect how we try to be more sustainable in the present (and future!).
Finally, we believe that with this strategy, we will be able to produce premium handbags with excellent quality, to an attainable price, and under ethical and fair conditions!