Can fashion – something which is propelled by perpetual newness - ever be truly sustainable, or is ‘sustainable fashion’ simply an oxymoron?
In our pursuit of an honest, conscientiously produced wardrobe, it’s something that we find ourselves thinking about more and more – without trying to greenwash the issue or mislead anyone with overblown claims.
For Three Graces Founder, Catherine Johnson, establishing more environmentally friendly practices and promoting moderate consumption goes hand in hand with our central brand philosophy of thoughtful, timeless design, produced in small quantities and using only the finest fabrics from generations-old Italian mills; “we’ve always been conscious of creating timeless garments – it’s always been our philosophy. By making our products as beautiful as we can, we’re hopefully making it easier for women to buy less, but buy well-considered pieces that are made to last.”
Our obsession doesn’t lie in following trends, but rather in creating a slower, simpler wardrobe of graceful shapes that can be revisited year after year: “it’s about making careful decisions - choosing something that multi-tasks, and isn’t just a one event or one holiday wonder. Our pieces are understated and elegant. They’re designed to work season after season, styled with things you already own and love. What we’re trying to achieve is the exact opposite of throwaway.”
The process of creating a traceable and ethical end product is one of learning, refinement and development. As Catherine explains, “we want to be realistic and honest, but optimistic. We are trying to do our best and each season, we’re improving. We’re continually trying to do more to reduce our impact on the world around us, whether that’s cutting down our packaging, working with family-run mills that share our goals or using certified organic fabrics. It’s an ongoing journey for us.”
To join us on our journey, read on to learn more about what we’re doing to build a brand with purpose and integrity.
Certified Organic Cotton
Organic cotton uses significantly less water than its non-organic equivalent (it takes tens of thousands of litres to produce just one conventional cotton T-shirt), plus far less energy. Organic cotton is also completely free from toxic pesticides, which can end up in water systems and food sources. All of the organic cotton we use in our collections has been GOTS certified, meaning it has been fully verified according to the strict criteria of the Global Organic Textile Standard. We are currently working towards all of the poplin in our collections being made from GOTS certified organic cotton, with the rest being linen, ramie, or silk.
Natural resources are limited and should be treated with respect. We are a small, independent brand and so we’re able to keep waste to a minimum at every stage of production; ordering as little fabric as we can, keeping our cutting tight and only ever producing what has been ordered by our stockists. We find our creativity flourishes when we’re challenged to work within limits.
Innovative partners who share our values
The incredible European mills and talented makers we partner with share our aim of creating the best quality product with the least impact possible. They use pioneering methods to cut water consumption, reduce movement of goods, limit CO2 emissions and utilise renewable energy sources.
Repurposing unused fabric
New isn’t necessarily better. To avoid unnecessary waste, where possible any deadstock fabric is overdyed using sustainable methods and either recycled for use in future collections, or sold on to fashion colleges and sewing schools. This takes us one step closer to our goal of reducing the use of virgin materials.
Almost all of our designs are made from noble, natural fabrics like 100% Italian linen or breathable ramie. Choosing non-synthetic fibres helps to reduce the amount of harmful micro plastics being released into our oceans and wider environment. Natural fibres biodegrade much quicker than their man-made counterparts too, meaning a lesser long-term footprint.
No harsh chemical dyes
All of our fabrics and dyes are kind to skin and fully REACH compliant (the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals is a strict EU regulation).
Lowering our carbon footprint
Wherever possible, we off-set our shipment supply-chain carbon emissions through investments in internationally recognised climate projects, as verified by the Swiss-based auditor SGS. Our goal now is to make all of our shipments carbon neutral.
A force for good
We want our business to have a positive impact on not only the environment, but people too. Proceeds from our sample sales go to charity, and we regularly support causes close to our heart.