Plant in hand
Rebecca Wayman

Ethical thinking: Swapping consumerism for sustainability with this Australian fashion brand

Sustainability is on the tip of everyone’s tongue these days.

But it has every right to be: the climate crisis isn’t going anywhere and is only getting alarmingly worse, day by day. But what if you could try to combat your carbon footprint with the life choices you made?

Meet Thought, a fashion brand made to cut out the desire to buy into fast fashion and shop with a more ethical approach.

John Snare is the founder and owner of Thought, which is an Australian fashion brand hooked on sustainability and was set up in 1995.

After moving from Australia, John now lives in London with his wife and daughter. Thought is said to be a company that aims to beat mass consumerism, but how do you pave your way in a competitive industry such as fashion?

Here, Bdaily chatted to John on what makes Thought an ethical brand and its plans for the future.

Hello! How did you get into sustainable, ethical fashion in 1995, especially when consumerism was rising and people weren’t so clued up about the impact fast fashion has on the environment?

“A lot of people didn’t think fashion and sustainability could work as a business model, so we created the brand to prove that it was possible.

“Since 1995, we’ve consistently proven that a sustainable business model not only works but is actually necessary to change the current fashion landscape.”

How did you meet your business partner/co-founder of Thought, and where did the idea stem from? Why did you both go along with it?

“We met in the fashion industry back home. I was already leading the way, making Hemp shirts in Australia, while Rachel was a junior buyer.

“I met her when I was selling to the business that she worked for. I decided to come to the UK and try my luck selling sustainable clothing here and Rachel happened to be travelling at the same time.

“When she ended up making her way back to London, she began working for me in my first shop in Portobello. It was so much fun! We had so much energy and passion to grow the business and we slowly started to find our feet in this huge city, as we slowly developed our business.

You use sustainable, recycled material to make Thought’s garments. Can you tell readers exactly what these materials are and why they’re used?

“We use a diverse range of fabrics including bamboo, Tencel, Modal, organic cotton, wool, hemp and recycled polyester. We use these fabrics as sustainable alternatives to materials that are damaging to the environment.”

How and where do you source the materials used to make Thought’s garments?

“Most of our materials are sourced in China where the majority of our production is made. Our secondary source is from India where our Fairtrade organic products are made.

“We make sure we work with factories that fit our production criteria and who we have long-term relationships with. I think that is really key actually, it’s certainly been one of the smartest things that we have done.

“Really investing deeply into your relationship with your supply partners, being committed to each other through the good and the bad.

“Helping each other through the different phases of your journey, skill development, capacity development, opening up good communication lines - it all takes time, patience, commitment and trust.

“We work with our suppliers to source material in the country where our production is made. We also go to sustainable fabric fairs and research what is in the market for new innovative fabrics which we then ask our supplier to source for us.

“All our organic cotton comes from certified organic farms and our Tencel & modal is registered with the Lenzing brand to guarantee sustainable production. All our recycled products come with a Global Recycled Standard certificate too.”

Naturally, your products cost more than the average high-street garment. How do you target audiences to buy into this and for them to understand the benefits?

“Unlike a lot of other fashion brands, our clothes are created to last a lifetime. The number of wears you’re going to get out of a timeless, durable Thought garment is exponentially higher than any ‘of-the-moment’ trendy polyester piece from a high street retailer.

“Our price point also reflects all the time and work that truly goes into the sourcing and production of a piece of clothing. If you buy a cheap garment, someone else is paying the price.”

How do you plan to market Thought to a wider audience? Is there a chance you could open a high-street store to make it more accessible?

“We love working with our fantastic wholesale partners and believe an online store has less of a carbon footprint than a physical store.

“The brand has a physical store on Portobello Road so developing into an online store has been the move that has made us more accessible.”

What does the future look like for Thought? How do you intend on expanding in terms of staff, resource and generally spreading the word about sustainable, ethical living?

“We have an amazing team at Thought HQ who are just as passionate as us about working to a sustainable business model and actioning our brand motto; Wear Me, Love Me, Mend Me, Pass Me On. We’re just going to keep on doing what we do best!”

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