The Twyg second annual Sustainable Fashion Awards were announced near the end of 2020. Jackie May, founder and editor of Twyg magazine says, “The awards celebrate South African designers who are leading sustainable, ethical, circular and regenerative practices in the fashion industry. The designers are intentionally improving fashion’s relationship with nature and people while showing that fashion can be at the forefront of positive, ethical, social and environmental change. The Twyg awards reveal the ideal good that can come out of fashion innovation in our country.”
The Change-Maker category sought to recognise sustainable fashion businesses whose design techniques minimise textile waste through innovative pattern cutting, the use of natural, recycled and up-cycled materials as well as reconstructive design and making techniques.
The brands all contribute to social development within their communities by providing employment opportunities. It’s evident that all the brands are dedicated to producing high quality fashion collections designed for longevity, quality and comfort through sustainable fabrics.
LARA KLAWIKOWSKI (WINNER)
Lara Klawikowski’s significant contribution to an all-encompassing sustainable business that empowers artisans was honoured with a R100 000 winner’s prize. Lara’s eponymous brand, launched in 2010, delights in its made-to-order business model with a limit to the quantity of ready-to-wear designs—you can rest assured that very few will be wearing the same outfit as you. This reduces the waste formed through the production and manufacturing. Lara plans to, “educate people about the value of investing in fewer items of better quality instead of impulsively buying unethically produced fast fashion whose production methods affect both the social and environmental processes of our society.”
THE SEWING CAFE
The Sewing Café, a non-profit organisation founded in Masiphumelele in Cape Town in 2012, has a philosophy of kindness and care for people and the planet. The brand’s involvement with the community’s social development ensures that not only do they make a profit from waste, their business model also encourages giving back through acts of service as well as teaching with local school projects and the community at large. Over the last eight years the Sewing Café has ensured that Masiphumelele equips itself with sustainable skills through which they can start small businesses. The organisation hopes to continue this work by extending these projects outside of South Africa in the future.
Sealand Gear focuses on functionality and nature to inspire form. “Our bags and accessories come with a lifetime warranty and are designed for repair rather than replacement. Sealand Gear values improvement more than perfection to foster aspiration, style and education towards sustainable development,” says Jasper Eales. The brand is growing towards an apparel offering and they plan on distributing directly to customers through physical retail stores, while also building more of an online presence for the business. As a local within the sustainable fashion arena and not engaging in mass production, it’s important to them that their pricing is competitive.
Anmari Honiball works to challenge the way in which stereotypical design dictates a garment’s use. This design thinking aims to amplify the use of each garment, extending its purpose and lifespan. “It’s all produced in-house allowing for precise design with minute attention to detail, which is unachievable through mass production. The organic manufacturing process allows for elimination of production waste,” explains Honiball. Their business model focuses on the production of small- run capsule collections. This also makes for faster customer feedback. Anmari’s philosophy of ‘fabric feels’ characterises her design collections – the feel and fit of each garment when in contact with the skin is as important as the shape, colour and style. She also uses up-cycled materials, treasured and saved up over the years of production, ensuring that nothing from the production process ends up in landfill.
The Twyg awards remind us that sustainability in the fashion industry is no longer an option. We need to view ourselves as part of a global movement towards responsible fashion solutions for the good of the planet. Intentional innovation and design are being heralded by creative and thoughtful change-makers in the fashion industry. It’s our mission as consumers to know who they are and to support them.