Eco Smooth: The verdict is in...
The Covid pandemic led to lots of warm words about how human wellbeing and our planet’s wellbeing would be seen as conjoined in the future. There was a widely held, if somewhat vague, belief that the virus had become so deadly because of our mistreatment of the planet and that our insistence on living globalised lives disconnected from the natural world had fanned its flames.
At an emotional level this made sense, but rationally would this really add up once we were living in a post pandemic world? As the world emerged from its lock downs we reckoned it could be interesting to test the waters and so we conducted a research study among spa operators in partnership with The Spa Collaborative Making Sustainable Spa Uniforms A Priority. Frankly, the findings for spa uniform suppliers appeared disappointing.
While the respondents agreed that sustainability was in general a top priority, when it came to uniforms the most important issue was price – more important than ‘style’ and certainly more important than sustainability. Most recently the cost of laundering had also become a consideration which in turn had made durability and easy care at lower temperatures more significant.
43.8% of surveyed spa operators stated there was a decrease in their budget post-pandemic, aligning with the significant impact Covid-19 has had on the wellness industry as a whole.
Rather than rolling our eyes in despair at the thought of our eco effort, we saw a glimmer of light and opportunities for new products. Innovative, more sustainable fabrics combined with thoughtful design might be more expensive up-front but, when the textile has also been developed to be more durable and easier to launder and when the uniform wearers feel more comfortable and proud of their attire, the clothes will also be treated with more respect, they will last longer, and the associated cleaning costs will be reduced.
We were struck by a report on the Sustainability Canvas website SDG 12 - Sustainable Consumption and Production. Yes, it’s now two years old but, sadly, its thesis and call to action is probably even more urgent today than it was back then. The argument made is that if companies adopt a more circular approach to their businesses - reusing, reducing and recycling waste, creating low-waste products and ensuring transparency of their entire supply chain - long-term value beyond short-term cost will be achieved.
An illustration showing the continuous flow of materials in a circular economy. Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation
At the beginning of 2020, we declared a new eco pledge New year, new pledge, new sustainability initiatives and described our approach as “… more of a marathon than a sprint”. Since then, our marathon has delivered a new version of our Cotton Performance Fabric, called Eco Smooth. Customers are telling us that they are delighted first and foremost with the textile’s silky glamorous look and they are pleased with its easy to maintain qualities and its durability, apart from the benefit of investing in sustainable, environmentally responsible uniforms.
This view has been expressed succinctly by Kaitlyn McKissick (Morro) of Infinity Group Gibraltar:
"Fashionizer Spa’s garments tick all these boxes – customers love to see us looking chic, the design supports our individual shapes, and we appreciate the fact that Fashionizer Spa has taken the initiative to create their garments with sustainable fabrics. The age of gorgeous and ethical uniforms is here.“
Eco warriors might object to our customers’ apparent order of priorities. We do not. In the real world, price/value and look and feel of the uniforms are very important. The great news is that they can be all these things while also being more ethical and sustainable.
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