For me, one of the biggest struggles of shopping more ethically is finding brands which match both your style and ethics. This is one of the reasons I created the shop page on this site as well as starting a meet the maker interview series. Once you find the right ethical brands for you shopping ethically becomes so much easier. Today’s brand S.bon founded by the lovely Inna is one of those rare brands that I feel is 100% my style. Seriously if I could have everything they make hanging in my wardrobe I’d be one happy lady. Sbon is a beautifully curated collection of timeless wardrobe staples.
Could you introduce yourself and tell me about your brand?
I spent almost a decade working as a financial consultant in an international company. For the last 6 years, I moved to 4 different countries. The amount of clothes I left behind with every move was scary. Most of them were bought impulsively, worn a few times as they were of not an ideal quality and/ or did not match other items in my wardrobe. Feeling overwhelmed rather than happy with my clothes, my concerns have been supported by the statistics how fast fashion provokes wastefulness and overconsumption making fashion industry second largest polluter in the world. I looked which items I carefully packed and love: these were the classic versatile garments made of high-quality fabrics, simply tailored, that fit me perfectly rather than being ‘on trend’. That’s when the idea to create a sustainable fashion brand offering fair-priced timeless must-haves appeared.
S.Bon is a clothing brand that produces timeless wardrobe staples made of premium fabrics (silk, wool, cashmere) following the concepts of slow fashion, such as quality and transparency.
Our intelligent capsule wardrobe means quality over quantity. With minimum garments, you can effortlessly maximise your outfits for any occasion, and our carefully designed cuts flatter many body shapes.
Why do you think Fashion Revolution and the slow fashion movement are important?
I think that with a huge number of fashion retailers, which push people to trends rather than garments’ quality and necessity, people are drowning in their belongings. Typical problem of a modern woman is a huge amount of clothes with ‘nothing-to-wear’. In addition, ethical and environmental issues of fast fashion, including recycling issues, poor labour conditions and usage of child labour, have been increasingly coming to public attention.
I think that Fashion Revolution and the slow fashion movement is a well-timed response to these issues. It stimulates people to make conscious shopping decisions, understand the ethical side of the product they buy, seek quality over quantity with an ultimate goal to make the world a better place.
Could you tell me about how you ensure your brand remains ethical/sustainable?
– We encourage our clients to make conscious shopping decisions and invest in the items that have timeless style and are long lasting.
– we learn about our suppliers’ sourcing details and working conditions to make sure they are sustainable. For example, we source our cashmere yarn from the Italian factory Cariaggi, which is a member of the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute Committee (CCMI), an association that safeguards prized textile fibres around the world ensuring sustainability and ethical standards in the industry. Since 2009 the whole of the Cariaggi’s output is traceable. This goes as far as raw material used for every single cone of yarn to ensure that yarns being humanely sourced and ethically produced.
– we are transparent about our design and production, as well as where we source our fabric and how much we pay for it. Our customers deserve to know what they are paying for.
Price is often given as a barrier to ethical fashion. Could you tell me the average price of your pieces? (If they are £100+ please explain the higher cost eg fair wages, quality, materials etc)
The average price for S.Bon pieces is about £150. The fabrics used for our garments are high-quality silk, pure wool and cashmere. This explains the cost, for example, we use heavyweight sand washed silk which is one of the most expensive types of silk because of its quality, which we source in the UK and Italy. All the prices we pay for the fabrics are disclosed on our website, so the customers can check what they are paying for. Currently, all the garments are made in London by highly experienced tailors which impacts the price as well. Our plan is to move to a sustainable European factory when we have larger volumes.
What are your top tips for consumers looking to make more ethical purchases?
- try to choose durable wardrobe staples, which are figure-flattering and can be easily combined with other wardrobe items and accessories and fit any occasion. This will enhance a chance to leave only meaningful beloved items in your wardrobe;
- try to buy from the brands where you can trace the supply chain understanding where the items were produced and what are the working conditions at these factories;
- try to think what you are paying for. If the garment costs £5, which would probably include margins of a retailer and manufacturer, think how much is paid to a person who made this. Low price should not be the only factor that influences your purchasing decision.
Photos shared with permission from S.bon