The Brand Putting Sustainability First

The Brand Putting Sustainability First
The diverse models featured in a Tala campaign

The athleisure wear industry is estimated to be worth £2.5 billion in the UK alone; and is only expected to increase throughout the next five years. This rise could be attributed to the increase in social media influencers who make their living sharing exercise related content; and have generated buzz around exercise, especially for their younger audiences.  

In recent years, well-known high-street brands have reacted to this surge in interest for fitness by releasing their own range of sportswear. With most fast fashion brands, including Missguided and Pretty Little Thing, creating their own range of gym wear. But how could new brands establish themselves in an already saturated market?

Introducing Tala

Pictured is founder Grace Beverley

This challenge has been accepted by Grace Beverley, a 23-year-old social media influencer, turned entrepreneur, who has already sent shockwaves through the industry. Storming straight to the top of Forbes 30 under 30 list, Grace has founded two successful fitness businesses in just a few years; with Tala launching in May 2019 and selling more than 60,000 products within the first few months. But what sets her apart from her competitors?

Sustainability

One of the models featured on the website

Described as “the brand you knew you wanted but could never quite find”, Tala is a fitness brand, creating ethical products with sustainability at the core of the brand. While sustainability within brands is not necessarily a new concept, Tala has promised to deliver ethical products that “wont break the planet, or the bank”, something consumers can smile about. Companies striving for sustainability have notoriously sold clothes with a hefty price point upwards of £100, which is simply impossible for most customers, making it difficult for the everyday consumer to shop sustainably.

Tala has made sure to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of the business – from using recyclable materials to create the clothing, to selling Fibre Filer Bags, which cleverly catch the tiny microfibres released every time clothing is washed. The Fibre Filer Bag prevents the microfibres from contributing to pollution of our oceans as they can be disposed of from the Fibre Bags into the bin. The package is also made from 100% recycled material to ensure there is no waste ending up in landfill. Is there anything they haven’t thought of?

The models featured in one of the campaigns

Operating Ethically

While fast fashion allows its consumers to purchase clothing at discounted rates, it has become known that exploitation is a serious issue in this industry. Brands selling their clothing at lesser rates than their competitors, are often known to take advantage of their workers in the factories who may be working extended hours but seeing very little return in the rate they are paid. Tala has made sure to provide clothing at an affordable rate, but customers can rest easy knowing they are wearing clothing that has been ethnically created. Not only do they pride themselves on operating sustainably, but they also ensure the products are created with suppliers who align with their beliefs by ensuring their factories are operating ethnically.

The tag contains seeds, ready to be planted

If you’re looking for a brand who has put thought into every aspect of their business, look no further! The tag on each item of clothing is filled with seasonal seeds. This means you can cut off the tag and grow a different plant with every tag you get. All you need to do is put the tag in some soil, sprinkle it with a drop of water and watch your very own plant grow. Talk about going the extra mile!

Putting diversity first

The models show the diversity of the brand

Within recent years, consumers have not been reserved in calling brands out for not including diversity within their marketing campaigns, as well as holding fashion brands accountable for not featuring models of different sizes on their websites. While we can acknowledge that brands have been showing more diversity within their campaigns, there is still work to be done. In 2020, inclusive marketing is an obvious choice to reflect real people and remove the unrealistic ideals put forward by “perfect” models. This is not an issue for those browsing the Tala website, as women of all shapes and sizes are featured. The diversity is carried through throughout the brands marketing and is sure to attract the attention of a diverse range of women.

While this brand is certainly one of the first paving the way for inclusive, sustainable, and ethical approaches to creating and marketing clothing; hopefully, it won’t be the last!

Cheyenne Doyle is a final year BSc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Linkedin and Twitter

Supermarkets lead the way for a Zero-Waste future

Supermarkets lead the way for a Zero-Waste future

It is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic is used every year in the UK, nearly half of which is used in packaging. Plastic waste often does not decompose and can last centuries in landfill or in the natural environment, which in turn can pollute rivers and oceans, soils and harm the creatures that inhabit them. Most families throw away an estimated 40kg of plastic per year, which could otherwise be recycled. However, is recycling huge amounts of plastic the answer to saving our planet?

The UK Government had a strategic ambition to “…work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable and compostable by 2025”. In Particular, they have an “ambition” of zero avoidable waste by 2050 and a “target” of eliminating avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042.  Best get moving then.

Could there be an easier way to incorporate reducing plastic waste into our daily lives?

The latest innovation to our high streets are refill stations or dedicated refill stores. The concept behind this idea is to reduce waste and encourage reuse of plastic or glass containers to prolong their use and eliminate single use plastics.

The Co-operative

The latest supermarket to trial this concept is the Co-Operative. On 19th November 2020, The Co-op opened a brand new £3m eco-friendly concept store in Lichfield, near Birmingham. The Central England Co-op store features free water refills, eco-friendly fridges that reduce carbon footprint by 60%, and a zero-waste refill hub. The Zero-waste refill hub that is featured, will see them work with wholesale and DTC business Suma in a concept known as the Refillery.

The Refillery features large dispensers filled with Suma products that are 100% organic, vegan and Fairtrade and will allow customers to weight products into their own containers, in a bid to cut down on food packaging and waste. Other features include, free hot and cold water refills where customers can top up their own water bottles.

Asda’s Sustainability Store

Asda is another leading supermarket chain to trial a new sustainability store. The store is located in Middleton, Leeds and since opening it has unveiled their new plastic reduction strategy, with a promise that customers will not pay more for greener options.

They have partnered with some of the UK’s most popular household brands including Vimto, Kellogg’s, PG Tips, Randox and Persil to help shoppers reduce, reuse and recycle. This one store alone is set to save one million pieces of plastic per year!

Some of the new store features include:

  • 15 huge refill stations which include 30 household staples from coffee beans, oats, cordial, rice and even shampoo and detergents to name a few.
  • 53 fresh produce lines in total sold in a loose and unwrapped format.
  •  Asda’s first reverse vending machine for cans, plastic and glass drink bottles, and a hanger recycling facility which will be rolled out across all stores.
  • The store will also showcase sustainable fashion lines through George, including clothing made from recycled polyester and coat hanger-less denim. George will also feature a partnership with ‘Pre-Loved’, a vintage wholesaler who will be selling bespoke vintage clothing from well- known brands- A supermarket first!

Sainsburys & Ecover

Earlier this year Sainsburys teamed up with ecologically sound brand ‘Ecover’ to trial a cleaning refill station in a bid to cut back on plastic waste. A trial in one of their superstores in North London, allowed customers to fill up on washing up liquid and detergents or alternatively, purchase Ecover products and reuse the bottles up to 50 times.

This trial was part of Sainsburys plan to reduce, reuse or replace plastic across the business’s operations as well as reducing carbon emissions.

Tom Domen, Global Head of Long-Term Innovation at Ecover, said: “At Ecover we want to challenge the idea of single use packaging and our disposable culture. This partnership with Sainsbury’s is an important step in kickstarting a REFILLUTION® in the UK and realising our goal of making refills more accessible for everyone.”

M&S ‘Fill Your Own’

Earlier this year, M&S launched a new ‘Fill Your Own’ Isle into a store in Southampton and later extended it into stores in Manchester after a positive response.  They aim to address climate change challenges and encourage consumers to reduce and reuse with all products offering even better value per gram than the packaged alternatives.

After a few months trial M&S highlighted some key customer insights to the trial. Customers loved the idea as it brought an element of Family fun to shopping, portion flexibility and a chance to try new products that they normally wouldn’t purchase.

Is this what the future of grocery shopping looks like?

Will other leading supermarkets follow suit?

 I know what you are thinking, but when can we expect to see this concept in their Northern Irish Stores? Maybe 2021 is the year.

In the meantime, I have discovered a new refill store in Belfast, The ‘Refill Quarter’. Opened around a year ago, they offer an endless range of home staple refills to local yummy treats.  

Happy ‘Re-filling’!

Chanelle Quinn is a final year BSc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: LinkedIn.