Meet the makers of Fair Trade, 100% organic cotton and sustainable swagger, jagger. From sweatshirts to t-shirts and tote bags - it’s cool to be ethical.
Where’d you get your swag from?
If you’ve been eyeing up Lush swag recently, or find yourself asking what makes your God Save The Clean sweater so soft, then the chances are it was made by Rapanui- producers of some super smart, sustainable clothing.
Built on sustainable values, this ethically focused company from the Isle of Wight keep the following values at their core, forever striving to improve their processes and to make more of a positive impact, socially and environmentally through trade.
Ordinary cotton is one of the most chemically farmed crops, using more pesticides and insecticides than any other. Alternatively, organic cotton substitutes chemicals for natural pesticides, crop rotation, and mixed planting.
Co-founder Rob Drake-Knight explains: “The traditional methods of farming with pesticides is massively damaging to the environment and for the people involved directly with farming. Choosing organic means that you don’t have to choose those harmful outcomes.”
As well as being better for both people and the environment, organic cotton is higher quality and far softer for your skin. So those sensitive souls who want to sport some striking swag can still turn heads.
Rapanui are encouraging consumers to return Rapanui products at the end of their life cycle so that they can then be recycled into new ones. This closed loop system benefits the environment by helping to remove waste from the supply chain.
Whether they’re using lower impact materials, finding ethically accredited manufacturing partners, bringing parts of the manufacturing process back to the EU or UK, investing in low waste printing technology or utilising renewable energy, Rapanui work diligently to maintain their ethically run company. Alongside this, they provide a higher than the average wage and help to employ long-term unemployed people on the Isle of Wight. By looking at the whole package, Rapanui is hoping to work towards a more sustainable fashion future.
A product from Rapanui has approximately 80% less CO2 than the average high street t-shirt, and that’s not by chance. Rapanui work had to keep their carbon emissions low. Their ethically accredited factory in India, where organic cotton is turned into t-shirts and sweatshirts, is powered by its own wind turbine. They’ve also harnessed renewable energy in the UK by building their own solar farm to power the factory, have chosen to use organic materials, and have invested in low waste printing technology. Their low carbon mantra has even gone as far as the wash care instructions.
Rapanui is all about transparency and traceability, taking into consideration the manufacturing process as a whole to prevent harm to both the environment and people in the supply chain. They also maintain fully traceable materials - right down to the small piece of hand picked cotton which ends up in your swag. Co-founder Rob Drake-Knight says: “Sticking an organic stamp on a product doesn’t solve the environmental problem, it’s about being pragmatic about the impact of the entire supply chain and applying sustainable alternatives at various points.”
By developing a traceability map in 2009, Rapanui allows consumers to find out more about each stage of the process ‘“from seed to shop.” By presenting consumers with this information, Rapanui empower them to make their own decisions based on their own values.
On top of all of this, these guys are all about sharing. Rapanui have opened up their supply chain, meaning people can utilise their incredible system to create their own t-shirts. Rob explains “This allows anyone, anywhere, to go set up their own Rapanui for free.”
So next time you get your swag on, you can keep your cool knowing that your clothing will look after you, the planet and those who made it. Find yourself some fresh new threads here.