Updated: Jun 4
Kindred of Ireland is built upon a deep commitment to preserving our environment and supporting our local community. We believe in sustainability as a holistic concept—it's about the environment, the people, the skills, and the community.
We aren't perfect. There are areas in which we can, and are, striving to improve. But we are committed to putting sustainability at the forefront of our decision-making, striving to create pieces that work hard while treading lightly on our planet. This blog post is an explanation of the steps we take to move us closer to this vision. Our journey is a continuous one, learning, improving, and innovating on the path to a more sustainable fashion industry.
A Heritage of Sustainability
With heritage being at the core of our mission, we believe in drawing the wisdom from our past. Our ancestors lived in harmony with nature, their lives interwoven with the seasons and the land. They sourced locally, using what was available in their immediate surroundings, and took only what they needed.
This ancient way of life did not just limit their carbon footprint—it was a manifestation of a deep respect for nature, a belief in taking and giving back in equal measures. And when it came to clothing, our ancestors believed in quality over quantity. Each garment was crafted meticulously, with the intention to last, and was often passed down through generations.
At Kindred of Ireland, we channel this ancestral wisdom into our modern practices. We understand that the journey to sustainability does not always involve finding new solutions, but sometimes means looking back and learning from the sustainable practices of the past.
Linen: Woven with Sustainability
Central to our commitment to sustainability is our fabric of choice: linen. Linen's story starts with the resilient flax plant. Thriving in poor-quality soil, requiring far less water than crops like cotton, and tolerant of a natural environment free from chemicals and pesticides, flax sets the foundation for an eco-friendly fabric.
But the sustainability of linen doesn't stop with how it's grown—it carries through the entire lifecycle of the fabric. Every part of the flax plant is used, from the long, strong fibers that are woven into linen, to the seeds that provide oil for various purposes, ensuring minimal waste and a circular economy.
Linen is also breathable and biodegradable, completing the cycle from nature back to nature. It allows the skin to breathe, is hypoallergenic, and at the end of its lifecycle, it returns to the earth, leaving no trace behind.
The durability of linen is another aspect that enhances its sustainability. Unlike synthetic materials which degrade over time, linen is known for its exceptional durability, strength, and longevity. Remarkably, linen garments not only last but get better with age. Each wash and wear makes the fabric softer and more comfortable, enhancing its natural beauty and texture.
Honouring Local Resources
By sourcing all of our linen locally, Kindred of Ireland contributes to a more sustainable fashion industry in numerous ways. The decision to utilise local resources negates the need for long-distance shipping or air freighting of materials. This substantially reduces the carbon footprint usually associated with the transportation of fabrics from various parts of the globe.
Moreover, we choose to work with local mills—all of which are family-run—further deepening our connection to the community. This choice resonates with our brand name, 'Kindred', symbolising our familial bond with these businesses and our shared commitment to preserving Irish craftsmanship.
By opting for local materials, we are advocating for a closer relationship with our supply chain. This allows us to ensure the ethical treatment of workers, which align with our commitment to transparency and integrity.
Upholding local craftsmanship
Our pledge to keep things local doesn't end with sourcing. Every piece is thoughtfully brought to life in Ireland by our local seamstresses and Irish crochet artisans. In an age of automated mass production, we are choosing to invest in and champion human skills, and by doing so, we are playing a role in preserving a valuable cultural heritage.
Local production not only furthers the reduction of our carbon footprint, but it also allows us to support and uplift the local economy by providing jobs and continuing the lineage of traditional Irish craftsmanship. This embodies our belief in sustainability as a holistic concept—it's about the environment, the people, the skills, and the community.
Made-to-order is another powerful strategy that Kindred of Ireland employs in its pursuit of sustainability. By producing items only as they are ordered, the brand significantly minimises waste, sidestepping the detrimental overproduction often seen in fast fashion.
This approach results in a reduction of wasted materials and energy, creating a streamlined process that directly benefits the environment and customers alike. The made-to-order model means that each piece is crafted with the customer in mind, heightening the value and personal connection each individual has with their chosen garment.
Our minimal waste approach extends to creating beautiful scrunchies from waste materials. By turning would-be waste into charming, functional accessories, the brand further lessens its impact on the environment and extends the lifecycle of its materials.
Our dedication to sustainability intertwines with our mission of social value of giving back to our community. We are proud to partner with Flourish NI, a local charity committed to providing long-term support for survivors of human trafficking. We actively invest 10% of our profits in their 'Sew & Skill' programme, an initiative that not only empowers individuals with new sewing skills, but also provides an upskilling element develops confidence in areas such as time management, personal budgeting and CV creation.
Commitment going forward
Our unwavering commitment to utilising local Irish linen, supporting family-run mills, and upholding the invaluable skills of our local seamstresses and artisans, can all be perceived in the tangible form of our pieces. This approach does translate into both a different price structure when compared to mass-produced fashion, and also a slight wait for your made-to-order piece to be lovingly crafted. But we see these as small concessions to invest in a narrative that not only honours the environment and respects our people, but also carries forward our rich Irish heritage.
We believe that the true value of a garment isn't just in its appearance, but in the story it tells and the impact it has. We're choosing to try and weave this story of sustainability into each piece we create.