Clothes & Shoes

Rapanui: Affordable, stylish, sustainable and ethical clothing

Are you on the hunt for genuinely greener clothing? A proper antidote to those two dirty F-words: Fast Fashion.

So many brands pretend to care about sustainability but if you look a little closer, there’s loads of greenwashing. Where businesses make the right noises and have you think they give a damn about the planet. But it’s all just pretence to look like they’re doing “the right thing”.

Dig deeper and they’re anything but green. It’s easy to get caught out.

Step away from the polyester

Lately home-working has blurred wardrobe lines big time for many of us. Why bother dressing up for family or housemates or even yourself when you’re not getting out as much?

But of course looking like a scruff isn’t ideal now there are so many work and social video calls going on. No-one wants to flaunt their vegging clothes, right?

Of course, the greenest thing you can do when it comes to most things is to buy less, less often and also buy preloved, wherever possible. Sadly when buying new these days so many options are riddled with plastic. Manmade fabrics are full of it. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is terrible for the planet, especially marine life.

Also, shockingly, modern slavery is still rife in clothing supply chains. Those Fast Fashion tops are mega cheap for a reason. This is another important factor when choosing new clothing.

A great option

One clothing brand I recommend is Rapanui. It’s sustainable and ethical. And unlike some other ethical brands, its clothing doesn’t cost a fortune. T-shirts start from £12.

Rapanui’s factory in the Isle of Wight is truly hi-tech and was built with sustainability front of mind. Renewable energy is used to make t-shirts to order. In real time.

And what’s more, through its Teemill operation, Rapanui shares its t-shirt supply chain and processes at no charge with charities and start-ups. So they can use its factory to create t-shirts too.

But it’s not all about t-shirts. Rapanui also produces and sells hoodies, trousers, dresses, underwear and other things. You can also buy bundles containing a mix of various products which is cheaper than buying them separately.

Most of these other items are made in Rapanui’s factory in India which operates to the same standards as the Isle of Wight one. Staff are treated properly and farmers get a fair government-guaranteed price for their cotton. The factory is audited for various social and sustainability criteria and is SA8000 Certified (which is a social accountability audit – to find out more, see here).

What goes around comes back around

Rapanui operates a closed-loop system. All its garments can be be sent back when worn out to be recycled into new ones. Because the source materials are so pure, this can be done again and again.

UK postage for returning old items is free. And Rapanui gives you a voucher for money off your next purchase. A bit like a longer-term bottle deposit scheme for clothing.

What’s the clothing like?

I bought a hoodie, two t-shirts and a jumper. All made of organic, GOTS certified cotton. They are beautifully soft and thick and come in a great choice of colours.

The fit is good too. The jumper cuffs are a bit on the tight side though so if you like to roll up your sleeves, go for a bigger size.

The t-shirts are a relaxed, oversized style. They look better tucked in and pulled out a bit and are also great for wearing under things.

The fabrics are thick and high quality. Everything has been wearing and washing well.

As well as clothes for women, Rapanui has a range for men. My husband recently bought some items and he’s just as pleased as me.

Avoiding waste

Rapanui is leading the way when it comes to using up potential waste. Seeds from harvested cotton plants that would otherwise be thrown away are pressed into food cakes for cows. Vegetable oil is extracted for use in food products.

Where dyes are used, water is captured, cleaned and reused. Waste products left over from the dyes are dried out and used for road-markings.

Packaging

Everything is delivered in a sturdy paper envelope printed with a design which drums home the plastic problem (see pic below). Larger orders come in cardboard boxes with paper tape.

The clothing items inside the bag/box are not provided in plastic packets. And there are no plastic swing tags or returns labels. Hooray!

If you’re after sustainable, well-made, plastic-free clothing and haven’t tried Rapanui yet, do check it out.  If you’ve discovered it already, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Rapanui clothing, short-sleeved t-shirts from £12, hoodies from £29, dresses from £20 and jumpers from £29. Plenty of other items too. All available online at www.rapanuiclothing.com

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