Delivering enduring, considered luxury products to our customers, is at the heart of what Sills + Co do. Making quality garments to be enjoyed well beyond a season is core to our business and the right choice for our planet. We work closely with our suppliers to ensure alignment with our values.
Environmental issues in the fashion industry are complicated and far reaching. At Sills + Co, we know we cannot change everything overnight, but our commitment is to Evolve Responsibly towards becoming a fair, regenerative and sustainable business.
Evolving Responsibility Cornerstones are our company values, and outline our goals and achievements for a sustainable business. These are at the heart of every decision we make, and are under constant review, ensuring we are satisfying best practice.
The fashion industry has taken a toll on our planet. It has been linked to the increase of greenhouse gases, deforestation, plastic pollution in our oceans and waterways, and depletion of natural resources. We are happy to share our current initiatives to reduce our impact.
As a responsible company, we are reviewing the materials we purchase, and selecting fabrics that have minimal impact on our planet. So far, we have transformed 50% of our cotton to organic cotton. Organic cotton farming eliminates the use of toxic fertilizers and pesticides on the farm, and helps to maintain soil health and vitality, and reducing pollution to waterways. We have also started to use recycled polyester to replace our virgin synthetic materials. Currently 30% of our synthetic fabrics are made from recycled sources. We are also working with our suppliers to ensure the processing of our materials is done in the safest way possible, and ensuring any toxic chemicals are not used in our garments in the dyeing and finishing stages.
Our beautiful knitwear originates from farms located globally. We are aware that every yarn we use has been extracted from animals, and we want to ensure that all our yarns come from animals that have been treated with respect, and farms that are not practicing over-grazing to ensure soil and vegetation health. We are working on our traceability of all our yarns to ensure responsible practices have been upheld and have so far managed to work with our cashmere and merino yarn suppliers to ensure this is traced back to the farm.
We are constantly reviewing the materials we use, and reducing our dependency on synthetic fibres, and instead select materials that are from renewable and regenerative resources. Our ambitions for responsible materials are:
• By 2025 we aim to replace 100% of our cotton to organic or recycled cotton materials.
• By 2025, we plan to replace all virgin synthetic materials to recycled or other natural alternatives.
• By 2025, all our knitwear yarns will be traceable back to the farm, and we will prioritize suppliers who have achieved animal welfare certifications, such as the Responsible Wool Standard.
• By the end of 2022, all our factories will use Oeko-TexTM certified dyeing and printing mills to ensure toxic chemicals are not used in any of our fibres.
REDUCING WASTE IN OUR SUPPLY CHAIN
Wastage happens at most parts of the garment life cycle. At Sills + Co, we strive to reduce waste at each part of the process. During the garment production process, fabric is cut into pattern pieces, leaving fabric scraps, which can sometimes waste up to 20% of the original fabric bought. At Sills + Co we are trying to reduce this wastage by reusing fabric scraps where we can, or for our New Zealand made product, we are donating these scraps to local schools or community groups. For all our natural fabric scraps, we are working on sending these locally for composting or recycling. We are also working with our overseas suppliers to ensure waste is minimised, and recycling is used in each of their operations.
Plastic packaging is filling up our landfills and oceans with waste and chemicals. We have committed to selecting packaging products that are functional, yet kind on the planet. In 2019, we switched all our plastic poly garment bags to compostable materials, hugely reducing plastic waste in our supply chain. For our local production, we moved to compostable cellophane bags, made here in New Zealand. These are made from tree fibres from sustainably managed forests. We are developing and innovating our packaging products to ensure all resources are from sustainable and traceable sources. In 2022, we will be looking at our paper products – such as our carrier bags, tissue paper and swing tickets to ensure these materials are not sourced from endangered rainforests and are FSC or PEFC certified. We will also ensure these are designed with recyclability in mind. Going forward we endeavour to remove plastic packaging from all our operations.
At Sills + Co we design each garment with care and consideration. We stay away from fast-paced ‘fashion’ trends, and create seasonless, quality, luxurious garments that will last. We use beautiful hand chosen fabrics and yarns, and work closely with our vendors to ensure uncompromised attention to detail and the highest standard of workmanship.
"Our mantra is less but better, buy something that lasts and get longevity from your fashion” Ange, Sills + Co head designer.
Designing timeless, quality pieces is our way to help move towards a circular economy, by helping keep garments in use for longer. We are constantly innovating and developing initiatives to help extend a garments life cycle, and hope to have new models in place by 2023.
PEOPLE + CODE OF CONDUCT
To ensure our overseas suppliers uphold our values and practices for human rights, all vendors are required to sign our Vendor Code of Conduct, and we are working to ensure compliance in every area is followed. This Code has been based on internationally agreed standards set out by the Ethical Trading Initiative , International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations Global Compact. It outlines the minimum standards we expect of all our suppliers. We work closely with our suppliers to educate and mitigate any issues found in their businesses to ensure compliance with our policies.
We are working hard to knock down the opaque walls in our supply chain, ensuring every part of our garments journey is made responsibly. We started our traceability journey with our beautiful cashmere garments, mapping the journey of the cashmere fibers back to the farm in Inner Mongolia. All our Merino knitwear is now certified ZQ Merino. This transparency allows us to ensure responsible practices, and animal welfare is upheld.
We currently enjoy contributing to the following organisations:
Since August 2020, we have been donating $5 from every sale of our face masks to Lifeline – who have been helping New Zealander’s who are in crisis for over 50 years.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
We have been donating clothing to Dress for Success whose mission is: "To empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and development tools to help women to thrive in work and in life”.
AUCKLAND CITY MISSION
Sills + Co have been gifting much needed food and gifts for Auckland’s families in need. The Mission supplies people in need with food, clothing and support when they need it the most.