Over the past year, I got to 'meet' incredible people from all over the world & different walks of life via Zoom calls and workshops.
I've explored subjects such as food waste, sustainable parenting, recycling & composting and of course, the fashion industry.
When I came across Aoife Rooney from Aoife, a gorgeous Irish lifestyle brand I knew something rather special was happening there...
Aoife is a driven lady with exquisite taste - check her website and you will see what I mean! - and most importantly, an incredible message - that luxury brands CAN be sustainable, that is.
I was truly excited to see a luxury brand putting our planet first, so much so that I've asked Aoife to put together a brief summary of her brand ethos for us.
Because we need to normalise sustainable - luxury or not! - fashion.
So without further ado, here it is: Aoife - A (Truly) Sustainable Luxury Brand
The fashion industry is amongst the most polluting industry in the world and one of the biggest threats to humanity. To limit the damage done, every industry needs to play their part and a responsible role and cut net greenhouse gas emissions by zero by 2050.
The fashion industry loves to warm our planet, making a sizeable contribution to climate change and responsible for 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse-gas ( GHG) emissions in 2018, roughly 4% of the global total according to Mc Kinsey research this percentage is growing. This sector faces global scrutiny due to its contribution to climate change, water scarcity, and human rights, with major pressure to reduce its carbon footprint.
Our products do not have a lifecycle of a start, middle and end but are designed cradle to cradle within a circular framework model, which can be equally beautiful with a luxury appeal. Luxury fashion brands appear to be more immune or outright excluded from such scrutiny based on the assumption that fast fashion brands are the only ones that need to be held accountable.
However, luxury doesn't inherently mean sustainable. Although an increasing number of luxury brands claim to align with the definition of “sustainable,” very few embrace sustainability practices through their entire supply chain.
We launched Aoife® ( EE-fa) www.aoifelifestyle.com behind the scenes in 2017, it has been slow and sometimes difficult to get a completely circular brand to fruition but it has been worth it. We’ve been developing recycled fabrics with our partners, designing innovative products and testing these fabrics for functional performance. I am so proud of our Irish heritage, the people , the language , the country and the brand is ethically committed to the care, beauty and preservation of nature while promoting a sustainable lifestyle.
We make no compromises concerning our ethically made luxury bags and we hope to demonstrate how brands can be innovative, modern, and be fully sustainable while maintaining high-standard, desirable designs.
Luxury fashion is, above all, environmentally and socio-economically sustainable — from scratch.
“Sustainability is about people and the health of our community. It’s about environmental conservation, economic development and social responsibility. You can have luxury from an original source of waste, this is the beauty, the beauty of regeneration, just like the seasons changing.”
“I am inspired by nature and committed to preserving it, in the long run I would like to see us handing the Earth back to our children in a much better state then we received it."
“Designers have the opportunity to make substantial environmental change. The best advice I have received as a designer was, ‘waste isn’t waste until you waste it’.”
“Nature creates circular systems, while humans set up linear ones. For this reason, there is no ‘waste’ in nature. We need to work in harmony with nature to preserve life and create a closed-loop, circular fashion process understanding the whole life-cycle of a garment. It’s all a shift in the mindset: a circular economy and circular product like ours is restorative, regenerative by purposeful design. It replaces that idea of end-of-life with a sustainable shift in mindset to restoration. At Aoife, we provide products for the conscious community.”
A combination of versatility, comfort and timeless elegance, Aoife markets designer bags made of regenerated Econyl ®nylon and crafted in Italy, ideal for a busy lifestyle with the “Tote to Backpack” as our signature product.
Every aspect of production is carefully planned to establish a circular model – redesigning waste into new products. Rather than using virgin materials in the production process.
From waste to wear, we transform waste into new textiles. The products embody smart, traceable solutions that recognize the interconnectedness of the world and the human element associated with it. This approach makes Aoife fully transparent. To combat carbon footprint, fabrics, metals, and manufacturing all take place in immediate proximity of each other.
Rescue - The exterior and interior fabrics of Aoife's iconic pieces are made of ECONYL®,
a regenerated fabric that includes fabric scraps, carpet flooring, plastic waste, and most importantly, recycled fishing nets sourced by Healthy Seas (healthyseas.org), an initiative that rescues ghost fishing nets from the oceans and prevents the accidental capture of whales, turtles, birds, and other marine mammals.
Regenerate/Recycle – Through a radical regeneration and purification process, the nylon waste is recycled back to its original purity. That means that Econyl® regenerated nylon is precisely the same as virgin nylon.
Remake – This nylon is then processed into textile yarn which is sent to an artisan mill in Italy who turns the yarns into the most beautiful compositional fabrics.
Redesign/Rethink – Aoife’s circular designer bags are then beautifully handcrafted in an atelier in Italy. The reason ECONYL® regenerated nylon is so innovative and ahead of its time is that it has the potential to be recycled infinitely and never lose its quality.
Two and a half percent of each Aoife® sale is donated to Healthy Seas, the non-profit that removes plastic and waste from the oceans and reforestation in Ireland.
The recently-launched luxury Irish brand was featured recently in the British Vogue and already placed on the designers' board for change with other well-known international designers like Gucci, Prada and Stella McCartney. Aoife is expected to unveil additional reclaimed luxury products. Stay tuned!