Making new stuff is always gonna be at odds with a goal of sustainability. There is no escaping that and I fully admit that the most sustainable action anyone can take is to not buy from me at all. Wear the things you already own, buy or swap second hand, mend or repurpose what can be reused. I don’t want to ‘greenwash’ what I do here.
But I know you care about the choices you make when you choose what clothes you buy.
However, just because I can’t do it perfectly doesn’t mean I should not be doing it at all. Here are the actions I have taken in Milk & Moon to move towards a more planet friendly way of doing business.
Like you, I am trying to find ways to reduce waste, quit fast fashion and make better, more sustainable choices.
So when you order a Milk & Moon tee shirt , the order goes directly to my printing partner, who orders exactly the tee shirt needed to print from Continental Clothing. That tee arrives with them and then my design is printed and shipped straight to you.
I use UK small business Two Fifteen www.twofifteen.co.uk to print and send my mugs and tees. Sometimes I will have local buddy Blackoak Printing do me a run of screen printed tees for events too.
Sweatshirts and other embroidered goodies come from www.inkthreadable.co.uk , with a similar made-on-demand model. The blanks I use from them are all from Stanley and Stella. Again, this is a no waste, no haste, slower fashion model.
Tell me more about these T shirts and their supply chain?
Go ahead and have a look at Continental Clothing. https://www.continentalclothing.com/
I use the Earth Positive range. I love their ethos and I love the quality of their garms. I do wish more of their products came in bigger sizes though.
And Stanley/Stella Our Path to Sustainability are again, great quality, with transparent chain and values in line with Milk & Moon. Again, I encourage everyone to email them and ask for bigger sizes across their range, properly patterned to fit plus size women.
Sustainability goes further than just what the Tee shirts are made of and how they are made. I am often told on social media “this Tee would be amazing in XXX colour”, or “can I get this in red/blue/green” etc. For the most part I stick to a monochrome colour palette of black and white, (which is hard because I LOVE colour) because whatever THE colour of the season is - lilac, burgundy, neon, navy… you can wear your Milk & Moon tee year after year. I know this is true as I still wear the shirts from the first batch I ever made, despite the ‘fashiony’ pieces in my wardrobe changing.
For the 2021 Sweatshirts I have included some colour (pinks and mustards) as honestly black and white sweatshirts just make me think of PE kits! On these garments I have kept the ‘design’ details small. Sweatshirts with big prints can be hard to integrate into a wardrobe, and I don’t want them just hanging there not being used.
Enamel pins and better choices.
Enamel pins are never a sustainable choice for making or for buying. I strongly recommend looking for collectors pins for sale or trade as many pin enthusiasts do participate in this!
That said, these are the choices I have made to make Milk & Moon pins the best way I can find. This has been a journey and I am always looking for ways that I can tweak it.
My enamel pin manufacturers
In the past I have used Made by Cooper - whose pins are made in China and directly with a Chinese manufacturer. This is a great business model for profit margins, but the combination of not really being able to vouch for the labour practices of manufacturers on the other side of the world and the air miles involved led me to seek another solution.
I now work exclusively with https://www.badgesplus.co.uk/ who are entirely based in the UK, and their workers enamel the pins by hand. They are paid a proper wage. All of this means that I pay prices higher for my Milk and Moon pins than any enamel pins made by labour abroad. Because this matters to me.
I also do my best to only order what I need, and what I know will be sold, to prevent stock wastages. However, because having enamel pins made only makes financial sense if you are having a large bulk made, I am now making new designs only for subscription boxes , and then moving the pins not sold in the New Moon Club into the shop.
I recycle packaging wherever I can. If you’ve ever received an order in a box with my own address scrubbed out, you’ll know this first hand!
The packaging I buy is all recycled or recyclable card and paper. I occasionally use a Jiffy style envelope with bubble wrap, and these I buy ‘ready for recycling’. (The bubble wrap neatly tears out so the envelope can go in with your card and paper collection and the bubble wrap can be reused.) This is currently my only single-use plastic and I am working on finding an alternative.
Both of the print-on-demand companies I partner with only use eco packaging.
My tissue paper is made by No Issue who use unbleached tissue, soy inks and all their packaging is sustainable https://noissue.co.uk/about-us/
As the founder of Milk & Moon, I am committed to finding the most sustainable ways to go about my business, which includes looking at labour practices and airmiles when I make new products.
I’d love to hear what you do to reduce waste, and how you approach the difficulties of fast fashion, especially if, like me, you are a plus-size woman who loves clothes! Leave a comment below or pop me an email here.