I wrote my first feature about recycling wool in 2001. Since then, recycling in the UK has got worse rather than better. Currently 9 out of every 10 garments we own will end up in landfill or being incinerated - however diligently we try to recycle by putting them in textile bins or taking them to the local charity shop.
The synthetic clothing that we currently own will outlive us. Even buried in landfill, that irresistible polyester dress we didn’t even think was a problem, will still be a polyester dress in 200 years time.
As a guide for the future - avoid all synthetic fabrics - those made with fossil fuels like Polyester, Nylon, Spandex and Acrylic. Also avoid blends of fibres - like poly-cotton as these cannot be recycled either.
I once asked a very clever lady who knows a lot about pollution what my mantra should be - and she said ‘Never buy anything new. Stem the flow of perfectly good products to landfill. Reduce the need for new things.’
The system of creating fashion has broken. What could have been a win/win - less wealthy countries becoming more wealthy through clothing manufacture for the wealthy countries - that has failed. Instead, already-disadvantaged people are making our clothes, in conditions that are shameful and paid a woeful amount, in order that we can get a fast fashion fix.
I started Bee&Sons to see if it is possible to produce clothing in an ethically and environmentally positive way, using recyclable and recycled yarn.
Here is my small start.
This is not your usual sales pitch. At Bee&Sons we’d rather you saved up for one ‘good’ jumper than bought five ‘bad’ ones. Good means natural, using yarns that contain no synthetics, can be recycled into new yarn and won’t end up in landfill.
The quality of our yarns means you can love them a long time. We choose Italian yarn-makers who have been spinning yarns for decades. Our recycled yarn comes from Prato, home to an incredible community of world-expert recyclers. who saw the value of secondhand fibre centuries ago.
Most of us want to recycle our old clothes. We just don’t know how. Everything we make is designed to be unmade. Unlike most brands, we accept responsibility for the entire life-cycle of our garments.
So if it’s broken, we can fix it.
If you’re tired of it, we can resell it for you and give the proceeds to charity.
BUT, when your cardi has had it, hopefully in years to come, we want it back, to dismantle it, chop it up, re-spin into fresh yarn and start all over again.