Many fashion brands that manufacture handbags and shoes, both in Africa and the rest of the world are turning to more sustainable practices in their brands. Brands like Thousand Fell, Nannacay, Mashu, AAKS, and SoleRebels have jumped on the sustainability bandwagon, and are riding with it.
While some of these brands make their items from natural fibres and materials, others, like the Rothy’s fashion brand, make theirs from plastic or other synthetic materials.
Rothy’s, which is inspired “by the remarkable women of today”, was founded in 2016 by Roth Martin and Stephen Hawthornthwaite. The brand crafts sustainable styles that help women “effortlessly move through their day.”
A footwear and handbag brand, Rothy’s makes all their fashion items from sustainable materials such as recycled plastic. Their bags and shoes, which are made almost 100% from recycled post-consumer plastic water bottles, are all machine washable.
Rothy’s applies the use of a 3D knitting technique, using their signature thread which is spun from single-use water bottles, to make their shoes and bags. Over time, they have been able to collect over 63 million marine plastics within 30 miles of coastlines and marine environments.
The knitting technique they apply in manufacturing their accessories results in far less waste the typical manufacturing. Since the knitting technique they use has a precision plus technology, they make shows in the exact sizes they want them to be, thereby eliminating the needs to cut smaller pieces of fabric from larger ones.
In an effort to be a more eco-friendly brand, Rothy’s uses elements like recycled foam insoles, vegan outsoles made from recyclable carbon-free rubber and Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), and vegan non-toxic adhesives.
Pros of the Rothy’s Fashion Brand Practices
1. They Help Reduce Plastic Waste
Since all their accessories are made from recycled plastic water bottles, the Rothy’s fashion brand helps reduce plastic waste in society. Also, seeing as they use marine bound plastics as well, they help save the oceans from plastic waste, and indirectly, save the lives of aquatic animals.
2. They Help Reduce Production Waste
Production waste from the fashion industry is a global problem. Through the use of their 3D knitting technique, they have been able to reduce the amount of waste they produce. Since all their shoes are knit to shape, they eliminate the need to cut small pieces of fabric from larger ones.
3. They Help Reduce the Number of Fashion Items that End up in Landfills
Seeing as Rothy’s is big on sustainability, they are a slow fashion brand. This means that they produce durable fashion items which, in turn, reduces the number of fashion items that end up in landfills.
4. All Their Items are Machine Washable
All of Rothy’s shoes and bags can be washed in a washing machine. This saves stress and time. It also makes their items easy to maintain.
Cons of the Rothy’s Fashion Brand Practices
1. Recycled Plastic Releases Microplastics
When items made from recycled polyester are washed, they release little fibres that the filtering of washing machines cannot catch so they end up in waterways and oceans where fish will eventually eat them.
2. Recycled Plastic is Not Biodegradable
When the accessories come to the end of their lives and have to be thrown out, they will end up in landfills and remain there for a long time since they are not biodegradable. This still causes harm to our environment.
As a handbag or shoe designer, what do you think about using recycled plastics to make your fashion items? How feasible do you think these practices will be in Nigeria?