Earth Day: Making your mark

Earth Day; ‘Our World needs transformational change. It’s time for the world to hold sectors accountable for their role in our environmental crisis while calling for bold, creative, and innovative solutions.’ Earthday.Org

We agree. We are part of the story; and so are you.

‘That’s where you come in: As an individual, you yield real power and influence as a consumer, a voter, and a member of a community that can unite for change.’ Earthday.Org

What’s the aim? To be sustainable? Unfortunately all too often this is now used as a sales buzz word, with the meaning being manipulated to suit the user, resulting in misguidance to the consumer…

Making your Mark; we all leave our mark, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it cannot be avoided, it’s simply part of life.

Whilst out walking over Easter with our children on a Norfolk beach I noticed how they both stopped at different points to write their name in the sand. It made me think about how we all make our mark. It’s human nature, it is a way to identify ourselves, whether it’s your name in the sand, your work, the places you visit, the things you do. How we make that mark, or leave that ‘footprint’, is in many ways our own choice.

How ‘Andrea Hawkes’ as a brand leaves its mark is really important to Andrea and myself.

We want to be remembered for the quality and service we deliver, equally with the personal relationship our team have with our brides and the emotion and memory that your Wedding dress holds. We believe this is only possible if we deliver a sustainable product; otherwise surely we risk being remembered as just another planet harming brand…

So how do we do that? We already use natural fabrics for our garments, namely silk, alongside cotton and bamboo, as we have for the past 10 years. This was an important aspect when we first started the business, for both quality and sustainability. Man made Polyester (plastic) and similar fabrics will never be sustainable, they are derived from fossil fuels, require significant processing to manufacture and releases toxic substances whilst taking hundreds of years to breakdown; meaning these have never been an option for us.

However, as time has gone on and our understanding has grown of the fabrics we do work with, progression and developments have continued with fabric options, and we believe it’s time for us to go further. This does take research, time and dedication towards change. Other options have appeared, for example ‘Peace’ silk, which on the surface sounds like the answer to certain issues, but remains globally uncertified and in practise has more impact on the environment. So change has to be considered and tested..

Our first decision is to choose Biodegradability over Recycled or Reuse. Why? because we believe it truly holds the key to circular sustainability..

There are multiple new sources and platforms for recycled vintage designs or renting your Wedding Dress. Although these might be good options for pre-existing dresses, we don’t consider this a sustainable practise for the future. A dress made from Polyester or similar man made fabrics, whether worn once or 100 times will reach its final use (like any of our clothes), at this point it is difficult/near impossible to recycle, certainly without high levels of processing or energy, with their own negative impact. Likely then at this stage ending up in landfill. These garments will outlive you and me, so surely their full life has to be considered. Is this still a sustainable option?

So how do we reach a fully organic and biodegradable product?

Silk even when GOTS certified is traceable from yarn to fabric (which is of course a good start), but can be difficult to trace prior to this from field to yarn as raw silk. This we want to change. We want to say our silks are fully traceable, from field to dress. To utilise mills using Regenerative Agriculture, delivering positive outcomes from soil nourishment, farm biodiversity, improved water quality, climate resilience, carbon capture and regenerating the land.

Vegan fabrics; our other approach is to introduce new wood fibre fabrics to our collections. We have already introduced TENCEL fabrics with some dress designs and our Pyjama range, but we will be continuing sampling with a wide range of options to allow us to fully integrate these as options for our future collections and Brides Wedding dresses.

Sustainability continues to be an ongoing part of what we do, we are educating ourselves, listening and willing to make changes where improvements can be made.

Other areas of what we do?

We will be focusing on the improvement of other areas of our business and documenting this over coming months; including on the ground how we run our studio and showroom, how we approach wholesale and global markets, how sustainability alters design and the cost of integrating sustainability, our continued Tree project alongside others..

We hope you all enjoy Earth Day. I hope we can all use it to consider the power and impact we all have through our choices as consumers. ‘Andrea Hawkes’ as a brand and team want to use Earth Day as the springboard into new discoveries and improvements, seeing these as positive changes ahead…

Daniel, Production Manger




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