We all know that the way to keep up with the times this new season is to shop sustainably. Many of us are not ready to give up fashion, but are all too aware of the ramifications that disposable clothing has. The industry is slowly changing tact, as it acknowledges that shoppers don’t want clothes that quite literally end up as rubbish.
One of the biggest deterrents in why women don’t shop from the numerous desirable sustainable brands available is the cost. Paying garment factory staff well, ensuring that they work in good working environments and sourcing ethical and sustainable materials isn’t cheap and so the prices are higher than standard high street fare, leaving many unable to change how they shop. It has remained up to those who are able to pay the higher prices for sustainably-made fashion to do so – for people who are in a position to save their money to buy a more long-lasting, better-quality piece to at least try to. After all, the higher the demand for eco-friendly, ethical clothing, the lower the prices will be.
However, one new brand aims to make sustainable, timeless fashion more widely accessible. Aligne offers easy, versatile and well-made clothes at a price point that largely falls below £250 – we’re talking & Other Stories prices rather than H&M, but it’s still a marked difference in terms of what’s currently available.
“Creating premium, quality clothing is essential to our brand, but we’ll never be able to make change if we're too niche or unattainable with our price point,” says Aligne founder Dalbir Bains. “We will always offer collections that are accessible and relevant to a wide range of people. Looking ahead, I anticipate that the industry will be able to move sustainably without a huge impact on cost, because - hopefully - there will be huge economies of scale behind it. From here, things can only get better.”
How is the brand keeping prices down? Bains has worked hard to find innovative ways of keeping costs low, crucially, working with factories who focus on sustainable fashion across all their partners to achieve good value on eco-friendly fabrics. Aligne also works digitally with international factories and creates half the collection in Europe to reduce its travel budget and carbon footprint.
Currently, there is a minimum of 50 per cent sustainability in every style, with over half of the collection being 100 per cent sustainable. Aligne’s goal is to make 80 per cent of its collection 100 per cent sustainable by 2022.
Bains, who has worked as a fashion buyer and product development for over two decades, has been working on the launch of Aligne for years now, using her countless supplier contacts and challenging them to work differently so that they can be a part of the brand.
“Years of working in the fashion industry has made me incredibly aware of how collections are created,” she says. “Today’s consumer needs to know where and how their clothes are made, and I believe that you shouldn’t have to go above and beyond to learn about a garment’s journey. I live and breathe fashion and I’m passionate about transparency.”
Bains has struck when sustainability rod is at its hottest, but she’s also aware of the challenges that launching a brand in the middle of a pandemic might present. “It’s affected everyone and everything,” she said of Covid-19, “but like any industry or retailer, we can only power through. We just need to make careful, considered decisions and try to embrace the reactive nature of the current climate.”
So what does Aligne’s debut collection look like? These are enduring, modern staples that will serve as buikding blocks for the rest of your wardrobe – easy silhouettes, comfortable, conscious fabrics and versatile prints. Highlights include a floral dress that can be worn now with bare legs or with boots and roll neck when autumn arrives in earnest; the oversized oatmeal ribbed tank with its quietly luxe appeal; and the elegant high-waisted wide-leg Aislyn trousers, which exude a Katharine Hepburn nonchalance.
“The Aligne woman is style-conscious, but doesn’t chase after disposable trends,” muses Bains. “She makes considered purchases and wise wardrobe decisions; she’s confident in her skin and knowledgeable about the pieces, colours and cuts that make her feel great. She avoids buying a new outfit every week, instead choosing timeless pieces that she can style her way, now and always.”
Now how’s that for the woman we all want to be in 2020 and beyond?
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