Eight months ago a small brand was launched on the Isle of Wight by two twentysomething brothers, fed up with hopping over hypodermic needles on their way to surf their local beach. Since then their sustainable business model has won them a place in the Top 100 Startups of 2008, the UK Sustainable Business Award Finals and International recognition at the Green Wave Awards.
Rapanui has quickly established itself amongst the world’s leading sustainable clothing brands, using Natural Organic fabrics, Fair-wear Certified Manufacturing and Renewable Energy systems throughout the product life cycle.
Frustrated by some retailers in the clothing sector misrepresenting ‘organic clothing’ and masquerading as eco-friendly. Rapanui is offering an honest solution to ‘greenwash’.
Simply described as transparency; this year they have committed to providing open and candid information alongside each product, educating consumers to make informed choices. On their site you can investigate their product life cycle and view facts, figures and real pictures to show exactly where their products come from.
The backbone of this is their own system of packaging information, using a colour-coded “traffic-light” system applicable to all clothing. This new campaign proposes to strip the fashion business right down to naked information.
Rob says “We want to promote the availability of information to consumers. Many of our day to day choices adversely affect a person or an environment we don’t know or can’t see in another country.
So we are implementing our Traffic Lights Campaign on our new collection, backed up by an online petition supporting our idea that, as with food, clothing should be rated in the same way, i.e. instead of the traffic light system indicating if your pre-made sandwich has a high salt or fat content, our traffic light system indicates the quality of working conditions or the energy used to make the garment.”
It’s clearly going to be a challenging campaign but the guys at Rapanui are enthusiastic about the future of the clothing industry. Mart told me “If people really knew where there clothes come from, or how they are made, they would choose differently. We need to lose ‘greenwash’ the solution to a sustainable future is education.”
For further details of Rapanui Clothing including their new 2009 range, check out their website at www.RapanuiClothing.co.uk
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