According to market research company GWI, 60% of consumers in the US and UK say the high cost of eco-friendly products is a barrier to purchasing them, and I totally get it, I'm a fashion editor and even I have struggled to find sustainably minded brands that feel accessibly priced. Honestly, that's why I've always loved the comparative simplicity of shopping vintage. But then last autumn I was sent a press release about a new sustainable brand: Seventy + Mochi, and guess what? It was actually affordable.
I'm wearing the Suki Dunagrees in a size 10, but the fit is one the snug side, so I would recommend sizing up.
With accessories starting at £15 and ready-to-wear pieces from £55, the brand roughly sits in the same price category as the likes of & Other Stories, Whistles and Arket. I was instantly sold on the brand's nostalgic take on wardrobe basics, which included cropped-flare dungarees, ruffle collar blouses and high-waisted denim. I was kindly sent a pair of the brand's Suki Dungarees and have been wearing them constantly with both ribbed roll necks and collared blouses.
Seventy + Mochi is dedicated to producing its collections out of recycled materials in limited quantities at its own facilities and selling direct to customers to ensure minimal impact on the planet. The brand is also part of the Jeans Redesign Project, an initiative launched by the Ellen Macarthur foundation which aims to tackle waste and pollution associated with conventional jeans production. Oh, and a recycling scheme is also offered for the brand's old jeans in exchange for 15% off your next purchase. It's a win-win, really. You can read more about the brand's sustainability mission here.
I sat down (digitally anyway) with Haya Iqbal Ahmed, Founder of Seventy + Mochi, to find out more about the inspiration behind the brand.
I grew up in a family that has been in the textile business since 1949. My grandfather started off with a small apparel shop selling handicrafts—shop 70 on Mochi Lane—and over the decades the company has grown into a fully vertical apparel manufacturing business. Studying both business and fashion, I was inspired to create something to honour this heritage and use the expertise in apparel manufacturing, but I was conscious of doing it kindly.
Being so close to the supply chain, I could identify the choices a brand can make to lower their impact and I wondered why fashion had to come at the expense of damaging the environment. Our denim mill is a pioneer in recycled cotton denim and invests heavily in water and energy-saving processes. I consider myself lucky to be positioned in a place where Seventy + Mochi can create affordable, sustainable fashion and make it a reality for a large portion of the consumer market.
Seventy + Mochi's prices are more accessible than many sustainable brands, how do you achieve this?
One of our founding ethos was to make sustainable fashion affordable. To create an actual impact, and encourage a customer to choose kindly made clothing, we have to be mindful of not just aesthetics and quality, but also how much our customers are willing to spend on clothing. We start by designing waste out of our collections, which helps us maximise our resources. Then we consistently work on our sourcing methods and partners to be able to create savings without compromising quality and sustainability. Working closely with our denim manufacturer, Artistic Fabric Mills, and selling direct-to-consumer, allows us transparency and traceability, that we can transfer to our customers.
In your opinion, what are the key steps brands should be taking to become more sustainable?
Never doubt the impact of small steps. Sustainability is truly a journey and the first step is to adopt that mindset. I think brands should relook at their design philosophy and work closely with their supply chain to assess how and where sustainable choices can be made effectively. When starting out on this journey, it shouldn't necessarily be about how much you are doing, but how large of an impact a single change can make.