Sustainability + Ava Innes

Sustainability + Ava Innes

From the beginning, Ava Innes’s ethos is 'doing good, by doing better” and continues to be the corner stone of every decision we make. What do we mean by this?  

It is simply about making conscious choices to do the right thing by people and the planet.

Making products that; do not rob our planet of natural resources or create mindless waste, to utilise the whole resource where possible to maximise the value, thus benefitting the complete supply chain.

We produce a quality product that minimises polluting the planet, during production, through consumer use and at end of product life.

We consider the relationships we forge, looking for like-minded industry partners to support and learn with. 

Proudly, using natural materials, sourcing by-products or excess stock, processing and manufacturing 100% in the UK including partnering with independent makers within the UK. Giving back to the environmental and supportive charities, producing and reducing a transparent carbon footprint.

Having worked in the textile industry for over 20 years, Joan chose to start a sustainable textile business that would be better for people and the planet.

Recognising the value of cashmere guard hair was the first step. Cashmere guard hair makes up 70% of the fibre brushed from the cashmere goat annually, protecting the pure cashmere on the underbelly creating cashmere garments that we all love. As cashmere guard hair is straight, it is not suitable for spinning and therefore the traditional knitting and weaving industries have not used it.  We were sure with some creative thinking, research and connecting with the highly skilled people in the UK textile industry, it would be possible to utilise this undervalued natural resource.  The appetite for fast fashion in society and the awful waste associated that continues to accrue due to this throwaway culture, needs to change. Ava Innes continues to extends it’s range utilising bi-products and overstocked luxury materials whenever possible.

We stand behind our sustainability values and practices and recently have been recognised for this by www.bluepatch.org having been shortlisted for the Sustainable Innovation Award and the Circular Economy award 2021.

Unlike other brands who use “sustainable” as a hollow marketing tool, we have concerned ourselves with structuring a business that fits a circular economy model.

Considering:

Ecological sustainability.

That is meeting a demand (producing a product) without compromising the environment. The resources used must be able to regenerate easily.

Economic sustainability.

That is to develop our business without negatively impacting on social or natural environments.  We intend to promote economic activity and make a conscious effort not to burden future generations. We contribute to economic activity through responsible partnerships with local& national businesses and independent makers. We choose to manufacture within the UK, pay above the living wage, knowing that all our products have been made in the appropriate conditions.

Social Sustainability.

That is identifying and considering the impact (good or bad) our business can have on people and making conscientious decisions.

We will encourage and promote healthy living, in our products and advertising. We endeavour to source our materials through respected agents with traceability and certification. We will pay a fair price for products and services and have zero tolerance to exploitation.

 These are mighty standards to set, and occasionally information first gained can be wrong or new information becomes available. We are committed to educating ourselves and sharing this with our partners and customers.  We support continued development finding new ways to improve the product, production, business methods and our global future.

 Materials Used

Cashmere Guard Hair.

Cashmere guard hair is a by-product of the luxury cashmere textile industry. 

Cashmere is one of the most revered fibres known to humankind. Unfortunately, only 30% of the fleece can be used by the fashion textile industry.  The guard hair is the long-haired fibre that protects the soft undercoat. Cashmere Guard hair has been ignored by the traditional fashion industry, as it is not suitable for spinning due to its straight nature and cannot be processed the same way.  Resulting in it becoming overlooked and under-valued.

Scottish Wool.

We proudly source Scottish wool for our pillows and to add to our duvets. The wool travels form the Scottish Borders to Bradford where it is cleaned and processed. Staying in Yorkshire it is carded and made into our pillows.

Wool is a natural fibre. It is a natural insulator and breathable, meaning it reacts to the user's body temperature and moisture levels, making it ideal for bedding.  It is sustainable due to sheep naturally growing a new fleece each year. It is fully biodegradable at the end of life and will break down quickly, adding nutrients to the soil rather than polluting it. It is available here in the UK, which helps to keep our carbon footprint low whilst supporting the farming industry within our local economy.

We have joined The Campaign for Wool, which has fabulous resources if you wish to learn more about wool.

Organic Cotton.

WE choose to encase our pillows and duvets in certified organic cotton woven in Europe. Cotton is ideal for bedding. Cotton's fibre's main characteristics that make it our choice are:

Feel. The cotton plant is soft and downy and results in a fabric that often retains that soft and comforting feel.

Strength. Cotton fibre has a cellular structure making it strong with a stable weave able to withstand years of use.

Breathability. The structure of cotton fibre makes it more breathable than synthetic fibres allowing moisture to wick away, making for a more comfortable user experience.

Historically Cotton manufacturing has had some bad press and quite rightly. For this reason, we only use certified and tracible organic cotton. This is an area of concern, and we are continually keeping an eye on developments ready to make changes when appropriate.

Over Stocked Fabrics.

There are multiple stages within the textile industry where waste occurs;

product development, faults in production, in the cutting room and sale stock.  We contact the mills directly and purchase overstock, end of line or materials that have a flaw which we can design around. This eliminates the need to order virgin cloth, utilising textiles already in existence and requiring us to design products in limited runs, offering the decerning shopper a unique product with great eco-credentials

Circular Economy.

It has always been our aim to build this business within a circular economy.

To consider the impact and cost to the environment from the cradle to the grave. At end of life our fibre used in our duvets and pillows is ideal for composting and can be returned to the ground. We continue to explore other end of life developments form our bio-degradeable materials.

Developing and promoting a natural fibre by-product.

Supporting the local economy and paying a fair wage.

Manufacturing long-lasting quality products/discouraging fast fashion. Encouraging to buy less and buy better.

Sharing this information within our customers through advertising and social media, to encourage a considered and responsible purchase.