What We Aim For
We all know that the clothing industry - and fast fashion in particular - is hugely damaging to the environment with a poor record on both pollution and human rights and we at esmé studios think it’s about time we did something about it. Starting our company, we were passionate about change and wanted to look at the whole process - from the first drawings in the design room through to how we make the clothes and even how we wear and look after the final garments. We were convinced we could do better and be slower and more sustainable. With complete transparency about how we work and who we work with, esmé studios has - with a lot of hard work and determination - grown from a great idea to actual reality. Now we are proud to show how much we care about our planet and the people on it by providing stylish clothes that last a long time and are worn by men and women who share the same values as us. Together we can make a difference.
The 'Slow Living' Movement
The world has never changed so much and so fast as in recent history and, looking at a lot of the environmental and social consequences, it is about time we slowed things down a bit. A growing movement over the past few years, ‘Slow Living’ tries to inspire people to change the way they do things - from travelling and everyday living to shopping and dressing - all with the express desire to provide a more sustainable and ethical world. Going that little bit slower not only reduces consumption but it gives you time to reflect and enjoy - it’s a win win situation!
ésme studios is part of this movement and has from the very start wanted to offer its customers a new and different way of wearing sustainable, easy and comfortable clothes. We figure that it’s good for the body, good for the mind and good for the soul! Every product we create should have a purpose and everyone should be given the opportunity to put their money (and clothes!) where their conscience is. As we see it, wearing your values is the only way to a more sustainable future.
SLOW DOWN TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND BE CONSCIOUS!
What We Design
ésme studios is a lifestyle brand as well as a statement about you and your values. We combine the very best in terms of eco-friendly materials, comfort and design and make sure that it is produced in an ethical and socially responsible way. We live by the rule ‘buy less but buy better’ and that starts the moment we pick up a pen in our design studio. And we can’t ignore our Scandinavian heritage which speaks of minimalism and timeless design - something in itself that works well with slow fashion and inclusivity.
Our clothes are meant to be worn for your everyday life - and for a long time! They are soft and comfortable for relaxing at home but stylish and refined enough to be right for most workplaces too. We use fabrics that not only are better for the planet but that still feel great next to your skin (after all, clothes should never be hard work). The end result? Slow fashion that will become your favourite pieces in your wardrobe, season after season.
Why The Name 'esmé'?
People often ask us why we call ourselves ésme studios. ésme is derived from the French verb esmer which means ‘to hold in high esteem’ or ‘to love’ and we thought it shows the pure meaning of the brand itself: we care and take responsibility for the world around us as we have esteem and love for two things: humanity and our planet. This shines through in our designs as well as throughout all our values and actions. ésme is also gender neutral and so reflects our determination to create long lasting and contemporary clothes for both men and women: it’s up to you what you like and wear, not us!!
It’s no surprise that fabric is central to what we produce. We do our best to only use organic, recycled or sustainable materials in all our collections and for this we are really helped by recent huge advances in lessening the environmental impact of fabric production. We mainly use natural fibres as they biodegrade much faster than most synthetics and also they don’t release dangerous chemicals into the environment as they do so. And of course we let you know as much as we can about the fabric your clothes are made from and how it is produced: transparency and strict control are key features in our whole supply chain.
We use organic cotton instead of conventional cotton as it is grown in fields without using any chemical fertilisers, pesticides or defoliants. Organic cotton also has a lower negative impact on water quality, biodiversity and global warming. It’s clearly the only choice of cotton for us!
Most of the organic cotton we use at esmé studios is produced in India. We aim to use GOTS certified fabric as we are sure that it is produced correctly to our exact standards - that is, the cotton is sustainable and contains a minimum of 70% organic fibres and made with high water reduction, minimum waste and as little carbon dioxide pollution as possible. In fact, it uses a staggering 91% less water, leads to 46% less carbon dioxide emissions and uses absolutely zero pesticides and fertilisers compared to conventional cotton.
Chetna Organic Cotton
We like to partner with businesses we trust and have the same principles as us. That’s why we get our cotton from the GOTS and Fair Trade certified textile company The Rejlakschmi Cotton Mills or RCM for short. Working with RCM means we support the Fair Trade ‘Chetna Organic’ project - a wide ranging initiative that works with more than 15,300 small cotton farmers in order to help improve their livelihood options and helps them make organic cotton a good and profitable business. The farms in the project are from the rain-fed regions of Maharashtra, Odessa and Andhra Padesh and cover about 35,000 acres in total. Chetna Organic helps the farmers with everything from better welfare for their families and fair working conditions to education about organic farming methods. It also helps them with contracts, bank loans and interest free pre-finance for their harvests. Social conditions have been improved as well as the local environment and drinking water is no longer polluted with toxic chemicals and pesticides. Working on a human and an environmental level, Chetna has had a positive affect on the lives of thousands
Tencel, Modal and Eco-Vero Viscose
These are materials all derived from natural, sustainably grown woods - mostly FSC certified eucalyptus and beech trees. The fibres are called regenerated as they are produced by breaking down the wood and then building it up again to make a useable thread. Both the growing of the trees and the production is eco-friendly.
The fibres we use are produced to a very high standard from an Austrian textile company called Lenzing. They ensure environmentally responsible production from the sustainably sourced wood right through to the production which uses a new method that has fewer chemical steps and allows 99% of the chemical to be reused rather than washed away into the water supply. This is called a closed loop process - a huge improvement on days past when the fibre production process involved huge amounts of chemicals that were then released to pollute rivers and oceans.
PET might sound cute but in reality it means polyethylene terephthalate and is the type of plastic derived from petroleum and is most often used to make soft drink bottles. Our polyester supplier uses these PET bottles and recycles them by melting them down and re-spinning into a useable fibre. A staggering 51 billion plastic bottles - none of them biodegradable - go to landfills worldwide each year so anything we can do to reuse them instead of allowing them to pollute the environment is a good thing.
Our recycled polyester is produced according to the standards set by the Global Recycled Standard from the Textile Exchange.
They verify and track recycling from raw materials to end product and also promote responsible environmental and social practices.
Recycled polyester uses 70% less energy, produces 37% less carbon dioxide and uses 90% less water than conventional virgin polyester.
Colour is important to our wardrobe but we do our best to make sure you get that without environmental damage. All the fabrics we use are dyed responsibly and meet the international standards like REACH regulations. We take it even further but using eco friendly Global Organic Textile Standards certified dyes with no harsh chemicals that cause pollution and skin irritation.
Water is a valuable commodity and should be protected from pollution. All of the above fabrics and production methods help us reach our goal of minimising water consumption in manufacturing and dying. This can also be done by using rain water - a method used by our farming partners in India where they trap and reserve rainwater to use as irrigation during the dry seasons. The farms also maintain good soil quality by crop rotation rather than the use of damaging fertilisers, insecticides or pesticides.
We are proud to tell you, that esmé studios is provided with the GOTS-certification. The Global Organic Textile Standard is an internationally recognised organic textile standard and so is a very important certification for us. It includes both organic, environmental and social criteria from raw materials right through manufacturing to the final product and so gives the customer complete assurance that the garment is responsibly produced.
The Global Recycled Standard, or GRS for short, is issued by the Textile Exchange to guarantee a standard of eco-friendly recycled polyester made out of PET plastic. The goal is to increase the use of recycled materials and it also includes criteria for social and environmental processing requirements and chemical restrictions.