Woman holding shopping bags

Can the high street ever be truly sustainable?

We have all fallen victim to panic buys and questionable fashion trends-  cue the PVC skirts. I cannot even count the number of times I have scrambled to buy an outfit for a girls night out and quite possibly never worn it again. But who cares? We can just go and buy something new for less than £30 on ASOS and get it within 24 hours with the godsend that is next day delivery.

“No-one can do everything, but everyone can do something”

Today’s high street fashion changes in the blink of an eye. We see an ‘influencer’ wearing those new snakeskin boots or midi skirt to die for and fool ourselves into believing we can pull it off just as well. Before you know it they have a brand new wardrobe that looks incredible and you have to start all over again. But that does not matter because it won’t completely break the bank. Right?


We are damaging our planet with this toxic throwaway culture that has evolved. According to research from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, clothing production has doubled in the last fifteen years, but the number of times an item is worn has decreased by 36%.

Ever since Queen Stacey Dooley graced our screens with her documentary ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ about the shocking environmental impact of the clothing industry, my eco-conscience has started to weigh heavy on my shoulders…my permanent ‘floordrobe’ would suggest otherwise.

GIF: Emily Brewster

Gen Z’s awareness of climate change is changing, but Karen Ryan, a senior fashion lecturer from Bournemouth, says people are not being given the right facts to make sustainable clothing choices.


I spoke to a local children’s clothing company, Kite Clothing, which champions sustainability about how they have built up their eco credentials.

Kite Clothing is clearly an environmentally conscious brand. What steps do you take to achieve that?

Protecting our planet is at the heart of what we do. Our founder Jo started Kite with the simple mantra that ‘no-one can do everything, but everyone can do something’ and our ‘something’ is to ensure that we care for the planet in all that we do, alongside creating top-quality, wonderfully unique designs that children and adults both love.

How important do you think it is to create sustainable clothing?

The fashion industry is often described as one of the most polluting industries in the world and we passionately believe that creating sustainable clothing is essential to the future of the industry. We absolutely support the ‘Slow Fashion’ movement and the ethos of ‘quality over quantity’. A recent post on our social channels relating to this exact idea has become our most liked post ever on Instagram, proving to us that our customers and fans also are behind this idea. Seeing our clothes being passed down time and again is brilliant and we love hearing about ‘vintage’ Kite styles that are still going strong!


What happens to your stock if you are unable to sell it?

If after all of our efforts to sell our clothes we still have stock available we provide it to a local Dorset charity, Julia’s House, so they can sell it in their shops to help fund their efforts to provide care and support to families with children with life-limiting conditions. We never send any of our clothing to landfill.

How do you think consumer habits have changed with regard to environmentally-friendly and ethical fashion?

Ethical fashion has historically been a niche area and in many ways still is, however conscious consumerism is growing all the time and we see a rise in many ethical areas including for example organic food. This overall push towards living life in a more environmentally-friendly way is seen in a positive light and consumers are becoming much more aware of the impact of fashion on our environment.


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