Recognition for our sustainability efforts
~ Marvell Lane got featured again, this time for our sustainability efforts! ~
It's been a while since I've updated everyone about Marvell Lane's specific sustainability efforts (hey, I've been a little busy) but just last week we were featured in Surfd's shortlist of the best sustainable swimwear brands. Thank you, Surfd!
I'm currently working on a new layout for the Marvell Lane website which will allow a better user-experience when it comes to reading our blog and sustainability efforts, but for now have a quick read below to get a little update on what I've been up to!
~ Marvell Lane & working on our third collection ~
I have many grave concerns about the environment, the impact we humans are having on the planet (we're rapidly destroying it) and how I can consciously run a swimwear company knowing the very specific and extremely damaging effect that the fashion industry is having on climate change.
Marvell Lane is a swimwear company which caters to a very specific category of women; fuller busted women. Our niche size range and my environmental concerns drive me to continue to develop and produce swimwear, albeit in as sustainable manner as I can at present. If I was launching a swimwear label which only catered to "straight" sizes (i.e. AU 8, 10, 12, sometimes 14) then I'm not sure the swimwear market is a market I could enter with a clear conscience as there are hundreds of straight-size swimwear labels launching all the time. In my very humble opinion the straight-size swimwear market is fairly saturated, whereas busty women are still largely neglected as a demographic.
So, what does 'sustainable' mean to Marvell Lane in the context of our production?
- Sustainably made fabric - Carvico Vita is the outer fabric we use for our swimwear. Like many swimwear brands, Marvell Lane uses Carvico Vita (made in Italy) because the Vita range utilises the regenerated nylon fibre made by ECONYL. This fabric is shipped to China for production and is very expensive to use. Marvell Lane would get to a position of profit much faster if we just used a stock fabric, however I'm more than happy to be patient in this regard because I believe sustainable manufacturing practices are more important than pure profitability. That being said, this is why you will tend to find that swimwear labels using a fabric like Carvico Vita are more expensive than swimwear labels who use stock fabric.
- Small batch production - I try to limit my production to only what I can sell. When you're manufacturing clothing or swimwear, generally you're required to meet a minimum order quantity ('MOQ') in order to commence production. So whilst you might be able to sell enough of the product to get to a position of profit, you might still have a lot of product you will never sell. Marvell Lane pays around a 30-50% loading to lower these minimums so we don't produce more than we can sell. The upside of negotiating lower minimums is that there is less product wastage, however, the downside is that we pay a lot more for production. This also contributes to a higher product cost.
- Efficient pattern cutting - My pattern-maker has ensured that our patterns are cut as efficiently as possible. Visualise this: when a pattern is placed onto fabric to cut out the individual pattern pieces, it kind of looks like individual puzzle pieces randomly laying out. Sometimes because the pieces aren't laid out to maximise the surface area of the fabric, there is a lot of wastage with fabric off-cuts. This is something that we've tried to improve and to help minimise fabric waste (and theoretically cost).
- Plastic bags - We've never used individual plastic bags for our garments. We had to fight for this in the first instance - but we did allow our manufacturer to group our product together (same style & size) into larger plastic bags for transportation. This year I asked my manufacturer how we can improve on this to reduce our plastic use even further and they suggested we tie all our product (same style & size) together with strips of unused production fabric and simply line the boxes with plastic to ensure it doesn't get water damage on the journey over here. The only plastic used in our transportation of product will be the box lining! Isn't this amazing?
- Sending out product - I had 100% cotton bags made for Marvell Lane which I use to send the product to the customer. They're extremely handy bra bags for doing laundry, storing phone cord and laptop cords for travel and make-up bags. I chose cotton because it wasn't plastic and thought I had made a good choice because cotton is natural and breaks down, right? Yes, and no. Cotton is a better choice as far as product breakdown goes, however, it is extremely taxing on the environment to produce cotton. It takes around 10,000 litres of water to produce around 1 KG of cotton*. For context, you as an individual will drink 10,000 litres of water over a ten year period. Think about that. Then couple this new-found knowledge with the major reason I had the bags made; because I wanted something pretty to put my product in and promote Marvell Lane (which let's face it, we all love a beautiful unboxing experience). But I can't reconcile this knowledge and have it sit easy with my conscience, so I have not produced any more cotton bags. Read this article by the UN about the fashion industry's carbon footprint. It is worth becoming informed.
These five things are only some of the steps Marvell Lane takes towards doing better. It doesn't even factor in our efforts to recycle in Australia and send our products out in compostable packaging, so I'll expand more on this is a separate post.
*This statistic was derived from the United Nations Climate Change article 'UN Helps Fashion Industry Shift To Low Carbon', 6th September 2018
~~ Reminder about Who/What/Wear with Marvell Lane ~~
For anyone who isn't familiar with Marvell Lane then welcome to the Marvell Lane club! I have designed and produced swimwear for women with fuller busts, who want to walk on the sexier, fashion-forward side of fuller bust swimwear. Our styles are underwired, plunge-style bikini tops and one pieces and I hope you love them.
If you need help with fittings then I can fit you via email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Marvell Lane stock the following sizes in our garments:
- Bikini top sizes 8DD - 16H (DD cup, E cup, F Cup, G Cup, H Cup)
- Bikini brief sizes 8 - 18
- One piece sizes 8DD - 16H
Just a few details to remember about Marvell Lane swimwear:
- Bikini tops and one pieces are fully underwired;
- External fabric is a luxe Italian fabric which is made from recycled water bottles, abandoned fishing nets and other waste (sustainably produced fabric);
- No padding in our swimwear so you can dry out quickly (and not have any extra bulk);
- All bikini tops are lined with power mesh - very strong, sleek and durable; and
- All orders are sent out in fully compostable, biodegradable post packs.
- Sign up to our newsletter (bottom of this page) to get access to a Marvell Lane discount code!