When my mum and I founded arkitaip back in 2019, we set out on a mission to create clothing that embodies laissez-faire elegance, respect for our planet, and functionality. Ever since our aim has been to design pieces for those who appreciate fashion but are mindful of their responsibility to make responsible purchases.
100% MASTERS OF LINEN™-CERTIFIED LINEN ...
Before we started, we made a promise: we would create our first garment only once we had found the perfect material.
Our parameters? We wanted to find a natural, vegan, biodegradable fabric with a low environmental impact that we could easily source from Europe to keep our carbon footprint as small as possible. After spending months studying the environmental impact of different materials, we concluded that linen is the perfect fit.
Linen is made of flax, one of the most sustainable raw materials in the world. Flax is a blue flower that loves dry soil and grows on marginal land (hence, growing linen doesn't compromise growing food). It's a very sturdy plant that happily grows with rain water only and prospers without needing pesticides. In comparison: across its lifecycle, a linen shirt uses 6.4 litres of water compared to 2,700 litres for a cotton shirt! Plus, flax naturally grows in Europe allowing us to keep our carbon footprint low due to shorter transportation routes.
We exclusively work with 100% European, MASTERS OF LINEN™-certified linen to ensure a responsible and sustainable production. The MASTERS OF LINEN™-label certifies traceability at every step of processing, from field to yarn to fabric. It also supports local farming that respects the environment and commits to a zero irrigation-, zero GMO- and zero waste-process. Fibre extraction (called 'scutching') is done 100% mechanical, meaning that zero chemicals are used in the process.
... THAT IS OEKO-TEX®-CERTIFIED
All our fabrics carry the OEKO-TEX® 100 Standard-label, meaning that our materials have been tested for harmful substances and are harmless in human ecological terms.
Our buttons are made of biodegradable Corozo, casein (extracted from waste of the dairy industry) and shell sourced from France and Portugal, making our products are almost fully vegan. Please visit the individual product descriptions for further details).
We use the most eco-friendly packaging available to us: we have banned plastic from our shipping journeys and are using home-compostable shipping mailers instead. Each piece comes in a reusable tote bag crafted from dead stock linen, a hang tag made of sugarcane waste and an organic cotton care label.
We fully oversee our supply chain - from crop to shop, meaning that we can take 100% responsibility for it. We know where 95% of our raw materials* originate and have close relationships with our supplier community.
We guarantee that every person involved in arkitaip is paid a fair salary and is protected by the EU's European Employment Strategy. Solely working with EU-based suppliers allows us to ensure social protection and good working conditions for everyone involved in arkitaip's supply chain. Our small (if not to say tiny) team is 100% female-powered - we celebrate diversity and are proud to be an equal opportunity workplace. As we grow, we are committed to creating an inclusive environment for our future employees.
All our garments are made in Portugal in a small, family-run factory in Ermesinde in Northern Portugal. The factory is run by a mother and her daughter too, who, together, employ seven seamstresses. Fatima and Monica pay their female-powered team the national living wage and have put EU-conform, fair working hours in place: the production is open on weekdays from 9AM-5PM including a 1-hour long lunch break; on Fridays the production shuts at midday. We regularly visit the site to maintain our great relationship and to ensure that the above standards are fully met.
*We know 100% where our garments and finished materials are made. What we currently struggle with with is to verify the entire supply chain of our hardware (hang tags, yarns & care labels): for now, we can only guarantee that they were responsibly made using sustainable materials, however, we can't verify where the raw materials for those were sourced from.
Our products are designed with circularity in mind: our pieces are timeless and made with the intention in mind to be passed on for generations. Working with 100% pure linen will help us to one day close the lifecycle of our garments by recycling them.
Working with a trans-seasonal model allows us to not only use up all materials as our products never go 'out of season' but to also stick to our no-sales policy. Any leftover fabric is used to make cute scrunchies.
Our take-back-scheme: we believe that we are responsible for the afterlife of our products. Therefore, please consider returning your pre-owned arkitaip piece/s to us - we will cover the shipping costs and you will be rewarded with a £25-voucher code. We promise that we will make sure to give your piece/s a second life.
Our journey to transparency: we think that understanding and appreciating the true cost of garments is crucial to learning how to buy less and buy better - which is why we've decided to share the cost break-down of our garments with you. Learn more here.
In January 2021, we became part of the 1% for the Planet-initiative. We are committing to donating 1% of all our sales (not profit!) to the environment - forever! So, whenever you invest in an arkitaip-piece, we will automatically donate 1% of our revenue to environmental non-profits.
We're aware of the fact that currently almost every business takes more from the planet than it gives back, however, by committing to giving back, we want to keep pushing harder towards climate-positive change.
- Carbon neutral shipments:
To counteract the environmental impact of shipping, we have partnered up with Offset who are fully neutralizing our shipping emissions. We are now proudly shipping carbon-neutral.
- Carbon neutral production:
Our aim is to create products that inherently have a low environmental impact and that encourage mindful consumption, however, creating new products always emits carbon! Therefore, we have decided to offset the carbon emissions created by our pieces. We know that offsetting alone isn't enough but we want to at least acknowledge that we are emitting carbon. We have estimated that an arkitaip-linen piece emits roughly 5.5kg CO2 - to make sure that we cover everything, we offset 10kg CO2 per item sold using the platform CHOOOSE.
We always try to do our very best when it comes to making ethical and environmentally-responsible choices and want to be held accountable for our actions. Therefore, we’ve put together a roadmap for the next year that outlines our goals as a small, eco-conscious business.
Here are our targets
- We are currently testing bio-degradable yarns for their strength and durability - so far, this has been one of our biggest challenges.
- By the end of 2024, we want to use 10% less virgin materials and instead incorporate more linen dead stock and recycled natural fibers. Currently, we use dead-stock linen for our reusable tote bags and recycled linen for our entire crochet range.
- By 2028, we're planning on fully closing the loop of our garments by recycling them. Recycling fibers is still an emerging industry and hard for us to access as a small business*, however, we're always on the lookout on the lookout for new solutions.
* We're a young business that has only launched in 2019 so hopefully our customers aren't fed up with their pieces yet :)