Shifting to more ethical and intelligent ways of working is the zeitgeist of fashion in 2020. Slowly but surely, more brands are placing an emphasis on environmental consciousness and, as ardent supporters of sustainable efforts, we’re celebrating the brands doing just that. Each week, we’ll be meeting the brands fashioning beautiful goods with the greater good in mind.

It goes without saying that knowledge is the strongest force for change. 2019 was the second hottest year on record, and with fashion accounting for over eight percent of global climate impact, it’s clear the industry needs some pioneers in disrupting the status quo.

Stepping up to the podium is Anna Foster, whose 15 years of styling experience influenced her drive to form the zero-waste brand, E.L.V DENIM. “E.L.V. DENIM was born out of a desire to create something modern and sophisticated out of post-consumer waste denim,” Foster explains. “I wanted to take unloved items and give them a second ‘loved’ life.” 

The brand takes unwanted vintage denim, and reworks the style into something the modern consumer wants to buy and wear. Working in East London - E.L.V is an acronym for ‘East London Vintage’, the brand's ethics go beyond just trying to be sustainable. “I also wanted to produce locally, to support the communities around me, which also means I have one of the lowest carbon footprints out of all the denim brands,” explains Anna, who also works in partnership with local neighbours the East London Laundrette, Cleanex, Walthamstow-based atelier, Blackhorse Lane and Tura London, a leather company in E10. As well as picking these companies for their close proximity, for Anna, their shared ecological vision was a vital component. “It is also important to work with like minded people, who essentially are kind, and great to work with. Social sustainability is also essential to the brand!”

Transparency is another essential cornerstone for Anna, “At E.L.V. DENIM we give you every part of the journey of the jean so you can see the conscious choices we make in giving you the most sustainable pair of jeans (EVER!)”. A few clicks along the main menu of their website will bring you to the ‘Sustainability’ section, where, along with a clear explanation of their eco achievements (her denim only uses seven litres of water to wash, as opposed to the 7000 litres that new denim needs), is ‘The Journey of the Jean’ a step-by-step guide to how each piece is made. For Foster, being a company that bares-all is necessary to promote this  sustainable way of thinking. “As a consumer you also have to make sure that you understand all the elements of the business. Ask where the goods are made, who made them and where the fabric is coming from.” 

With a pop-up at Selfridges under her belt, and now stocked on Net-A-Porter as part of their NET Sustain collective, Foster’s zero-waste approach to fashion is making waves. “Some retailers have definitely relaxed traditional ways of working and they understand that I make to order and do not overproduce in advance,” says Foster, highlighting how her more considered production can make it difficult for stockists to get on board with. “They realise this approach takes more time and it comes with a cost, but ultimately, it’s worth it.”

The plan for 2020? Along with launching a kids capsule and menswear for the brand, Anna shares. “I have a few collaborations lined up and I’ll
also start work on my long-term project, which is to accept all the post-consumer denim waste I possibly can!” As Foster continues to reduce fashion's waste problem, we'll continue to support her as
she perseveres to save the world, one discarded denim cut at a time

Shop more of the collection at E.L.V DENIM.

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