How to Build a Sustainable Supply Chain


Hello this is Joy. I am the founder of Evanana Active. There are lots of difficulties in these challenging times when many places are in lockdown. Employees lost their job. Small businesses are struggling to survive. I was confident or even naive to believe that I can build a sustainable activewear line during this time, but there is voice in my head saying if I don’t do it this time, I will never do it. So, I decided to quit my corporate job and work on Evanana Active with my full heart. Evanana is an eco-conscious activewear brand to help women live sustainably and move in style. We inspire women to feel confident about their body through our bright colours. Our target customers are women who want to live a healthy and active lifestyle. They take workout for health benefits, rather than for competitions or performance. They are passionate about sustainability and the environment, and enjoy spending time in nature, camping and hiking. Join our Facebook group to connect with like-minded women just like yourself.

 

How to build a sustainable supply chain

According to Business of Fashion ‘inspiration trips are often a starting point for many ready-to-wear designers.’ Fast fashion supply chains are built based on convenience, costs and standard aesthetics, while quality brands hire high-end designers, which is a lengthier process and involves much more creativity. That’s why we want to work with someone who are talented and have the same values about sustainability as us. However, it was impossible to meet someone in person and understand their working portfolios and most importantly their personalities and working ethics. Luckily, online communication platforms make it easier to talk to anyone from anywhere around the world. That’s when I met Tiffany, and UK-based designer who have more than 20 years’ experience in fashion industry. She has worked on various products including sportswear, womenswear, menswear and children's wear. She was trusted by the fashion industry and recognised globally for product development. She helped me greatly to deliver the perfect fit and construction, stylish and bright deign.

 

The next part of the supply chain is material production, which implies the fabrics needed to produce the clothing designed. When we look for workout clothes, two main factors are considered, which is moisture management and breathability, and feel and fit are important too. With the intention of building a sustainable fashion business and making a positive impact on the planet, I spent 6 months to source the right fabrics. It was challenging to find fabrics which are eco-friendly and can fulfill our requirements about performance and functionalities as activewears. Covid makes everything more slow than usual. I sometimes found myself receiving a whole pack swatch from unknown fabric suppliers. Until I found Econly fabrics, made from 100% regenerated yarn. It is a new polyamide yard boasting the same features as virgin nylon. Our Italian fabrics suppliers cooperate with “Healthy Seas” to work with fishing communities and volunteer to collect fish nets and ocean wastes. After the nets are recovered, together with other materials (carpet fluff, tulle etc.), they are delivered to the regeneration centre to go through a sophisticated process to produce our new recycled fabrics. The fabric can boast excellent recovery power and always the perfect muscular compression aimed at decreasing the production of lactic acid, thus boosting a faster recovery of energy. It is ultra-soft and very pleasant on the skin. It is compact and breathable in any kind of exercises. It is also highly UV protective (UPF 50+). Then our experienced manufacturers will take over to make them into the activewear babies you see on our website now.

 

After all the clothes are made, the last step will be shipping from factories to retailers and then to customers. The biggest problem we found is that lots of packaging of the garment are thrown away by suppliers and customers, which will end up in the landfill again and add to the world’s plastic woes. One of the measures that we took is to use compostable and biodegradable packaging. Once the biodegradable packaging ends up in a landfill, it attracts the necessary microbes that break down the plastic into its natural components – returning to the Earth in a natural and healthy state. We also use compostable shipping labels and mailers to replace plastic. We are an international business, so in terms of shipping, we ship directly from manufactures to consumer. In that case our UK customers will receive Evanana from our UK warehouse, which reduce the carbon footprint from shipping overseas.

 

Building a business during Covid-19 is not easy, however one thing I enjoyed most is that we are taking everything at a slower pace. There is time for us to read, think and spend time with families. Although I can be overthinking about one simple process in the business, there are various technologies, organisations and initiatives supporting fashion start-ups to become more eco-conscious. Evanana is dedicated to building an ethical supply chain from day one of business, and we will continue to deliver our promise to our customers. We are launching soon on Kickstarter in June 2021. Don't forget to reserve your spot here to get exclusive gifts for early-bird backers only!