Eleanor Bradley couldn’t find an ethical fashion business, so she started one on her own


The fast paced world of fashion often has a mentality here today, gone tomorrow … and with that a huge environmental impact.

A young fashion designer fed up with the impact it has on the planet wanted to work for an ethical fashion company … but couldn’t find one that lived up to her expectations.

22-year-old Eleanor Bradley took the plunge and started her own fashion house in her hometown of Huddersfield.

Eleanor, from Slaithwaite, said: “If I asked people to name the second biggest polluter in the world after the oil industry, I think very few, if any, would correctly guess that it is the fashion industry. … But it does and environmental damage increases as the industry grows.

“The only way to change this is to bring it into the public consciousness and people are ready to change.

“A lot of times we are faced with a ‘buy, buy, buy’ fashion mantra to buy clothes at incredibly low prices and that’s what’s wrong with the fast-paced fashion industry, with brands that compete to make the cheapest and best-selling garment to increase purchases and drive sales.

“But who needs that inexpensive fashion item that’s here today and gone tomorrow?”

“The short answer is nobody, but we are all fond of a good deal, so people buy a garment because it is there and because it is cheap regardless of the impact their purchase will have on the planet. .

“Often times these clothes will outlive 67% of the endangered species we are losing this century and the majority of their makeup is polyester, a fabric that is incredibly harmful and can release plastic microfibers into the air. and the environment just when worn or washed.

Tarangire denim jacket designed by Eleanor Bradley and modeled by her sister, Joanna. Photo: Codie Scott

According to the environmental website Sustain Your Style: “In most of the countries where clothing is made, untreated toxic wastewater from textile factories is dumped directly into rivers.

“Wastewater contains toxic substances such as lead, mercury and arsenic, among others.

“These are extremely harmful to aquatic life and the health of the millions of people living along these rivers.

“The contamination also reaches the sea and ends up spreading around the world.

“Another major source of water contamination is the use of fertilizers for cotton production, which heavily pollutes runoff and evaporative water. “

Eleanor, a graduate of the University of Central Lancashire with a first-class degree in fashion design, says: “People can do something about it just by making conscious and informed choices.

Ruaha shirt designed by Eleanor Bradley. Photo: Codie Scott

“So only buy clothes made in countries with stricter environmental regulations for factories such as the European Union, the United States and Canada, and always choose organic fibers and natural fibers that do not require not the production of chemicals. “

Sustain Your Style also claims that the fashion industry produces 10% of all global carbon emissions and 190,000 tonnes of micro-plastic textile fibers that end up in our oceans each year.

Eleanor leads by example. His company, Wild Strings, is committed to reusing as much of his fabric scraps as possible by using them in his clothing – scraps that would typically just be thrown away.

“With 5.2% of landfill waste consisting of textiles, fabric scraps can be used to make linings and contrast panels to reduce the amount of textile waste that we contribute to the environment,” he said. she declared.

“All unused tissue remains are kept for future use.

“We are very conscious of the fabrics we use, trying to strike a balance between quality and wearable fabrics while improving our environmental impact as much as possible.

Jean Arusha drawn by Eleanor Bradley. Photo: Codie Scott

“For this reason, we use natural fibers and do our best to avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester. “

Eleanor’s designed t-shirts are 100% recycled, made from 60% recycled cotton and 40% recycled polyester that carry a Global Recycle Standard (GRS) certification.

Salvage products like this are also Fair Wear certified, which means the pay and terms of those who produce these t-shirts are fair and equitable.

The Fair Wear Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that was created specifically to improve working conditions in the clothing industry.

Eleanor only uses tissue paper and recyclable boxes to send her clothes and she stays well away from plastics. She says people need to move away from a ‘wear it and throw it away’ mentality and insists that people need to be honest with themselves.

“If you don’t think you’re going to wear this purchase more than once or twice, it’s not worth buying,” she said. We truly believe that clothes should be worn over and over again and loved for a lifetime.

“According to Greenpeace, doubling the use of a garment from one year to two years reduces emissions from that garment by 24%.

And she has a handy tip to make your clothes last longer … and keep their color.

Fashion designer Eleanor Bradley. Photo: Codie Scott

“Wash your clothes at a lower temperature because 90% of the energy used to wash clothes is used to heat the water,” she said.

“It also means that the colors in your clothes don’t fade as quickly, so they’ll last longer. Avoid tumble dryers.

“Drying naturally saves a lot of energy and your clothes last longer when you dry them.”

She adds, “When you’ve finally worn out your clothes, find a textile bank to put them in place so they can be recycled. Or, if they’re fit to wear, take them to a charity store.

“Never throw them in the trash. “

Far from her environmental concerns, Eleanor is keen to keep her age-old textile skills alive and embroidery often occupies an important place in her creations.

She said: “It gives each garment a uniqueness that is not widely found in the modern age, where mass production is commonplace and creates a human bond between me and the wearer.

“For me, embroidery gives a much more personal touch and it’s something that we really need in the world right now.”

Eleanor is the daughter of Lynn and Steve Bradley, who run Huddersfield-based human resources firm Pennine Business Partners, and her sister, Joanna, models clothing for Wild Strings. wearwildstrings.co.uk.

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