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Asquith: Ethical and Eco Friendly Activewear

Over the last few years I have become increasingly interested in living a more sustainable life. Like everyone, I am probably not doing nearly as much as I should, but I am really trying to do my bit in saving this wonderful planet of ours. I have become a vegetarian, I avoid “fast fashion” and I buy second hand where I can.

On this blog, I also like to regularly devote posts to highlighting small businesses and companies whose products I have tried and liked, that are sustainable, ethical and eco friendly. Asquith are one such company.

“I founded Asquith in 2002, combining my love of fabrics and design with two other passions: Yoga and Pilates. I wanted to make elegant, naturally breathable activewear in a way that benefited people and minimised the impact on the environment.” Alice Asquith

As we are all slowly becoming aware, there are staggering problems currently affecting our planet and it’s future: Plastic pollution, deforestation, climate change and water wastage are only some of them. And unfortunately for us clothes lovers, it is the fashion industry which is a frontrunner in causing a lot of these issues.

The process of making clothes is massively harmful to the environment and globally, we are making more clothes than ever before. The processes involved emit greenhouse gases on a breath-taking scale, which are contributing to global warming. You may be surprised to learn that a lot of the clothing in your wardrobe are likely to be made of materials and chemicals derived from fossil fuel based crude oil, including polyester, acrylic and nylon, all requiring not only a mind boggling amount of energy to produce, but also polluting our air and water.

Sustainable companies like Asquith on the other hand, use materials from natural or recycled fabrics that require significantly less, or even no chemical treatment, little water, less energy and no fertilisers or pesticides to grow. Most organic fabrics are also biodegradable.

Asquith make all of their incredibly soft clothing using bamboo and Bambor®, a blend of bamboo, organic cotton and Elasthane. Bamboo is a great choice, as it is sustainable and has a low-impact on the environment. It grows faster and absorbs more carbon dioxide than hardwood trees and does not require nasty chemical fertilisers and pesticides. All organic cotton and bamboo fabrics used by Asquith, come from FSC certified, well-managed forests. Notably, bamboo also needs very little water in order to grow, and only relatively small amounts are required in its manufacture.

Water is a massive resource for the manufacture of clothes, primarily in the dyeing and finishing process. It takes 2,700 litres of water to make one single cotton t shirt! One! Cotton in particular is highly dependent on water, and is usually grown in hot and dry areas where water is a scarce resource already.  By contrast, organic cotton reduces water consumption by 91%. And I think this is one of the facts that we need to start talking about. I genuinely believe that people just do not realise the enormity of the problem and how relatively easily it could be turned around. Think of the incredibly positive impact if we were able to switch completely to organic cotton!

Asquith promote the processing the fabrics without the horrible chemicals that are usually used in clothing manufacture. Asquith’s fabric is Oeko-Tex certified which is the global testing and accreditation standard for the screening of harmful substances within consumer textiles. The brand is cruelty free and none of the chemicals are ever tested on animals. Another point that means a lot to me as a consumer.

Asquith is also dedicated to producing clothing that does not produce microbeads (as sadly most clothing does) If you read previous posts on this blog, you will know about the problems with microbeads. These are manufactured solid plastic particles of less than one millimetre (in other words hardly visible to the naked eye). They stream out of our polyester and nylon clothing during washing, and end up in the oceans causing vast pollution in our oceans and the death of countless marine creatures.

As well as creating fabrics that are sustainable and eco friendly, Asquith have also thought carefully about the issues of packaging, including being able to recycle and reduce packaging waste whilst limiting their carbon footprint. All packaging used is PVC free and biodegradable.

Asquith advocate for providing humane working conditions, health care and fair wages for their workers, All their clothing is made in a GOTS certified factory in Turkey. The dedicated team work team work no more than 8.5 hours a day, do not work weekends and have paid holiday. Most employees have been there for many years and children and young people are not employed.

“It’s wonderful to see how much more aware people are about their clothing choices and how they impact the environment and the people who make them. This, combined with how great our fabrics feel against your skin, has meant that demand has grown and allowed us to increase our range of activewear and include more lifestyle clothing” Alice Asquith

We all want look good in and feel great about our clothes. We all love that feeling of finding that gorgeous item that really suits us, and the joy of wearing it for the first time. But can we not spread that joy a little further? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to ALSO feel great knowing that the conditions under which that garment was made were pesticide free, did not hurt animals, was fair to the workers who manufactured it …. and was kind to our fragile environment?

If you would like to know more about Asquith and their range, please visit their website:

Asquith

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