Sustainability/Circular Economy – what do these words mean?

Sustainability and Circular Economy are words bandied about a lot in recent times. A lot of companies, especially newly formed ones, seem to want to jump on the bandwagon. But do these words really mean anything and how important are they in reality? Well, it turns out, very important indeed. We all know now that the earth’s resources are limited. Recycling and reusing make a lot of sense if we are to continue with human progress as we currently understand it. Harmful, mindless production has to stop. Before an item is created, another end use must be built in right at the beginning. Then after it has ended its usefulness to the original buyer, it can be repurposed for something else and for someone else. The designers of the item have to think the product through, right at the design table stage. They have to work out before it is created, how it can be taken apart and its component parts used in another way to continue its purpose from the original one, indefinitely into the future.

No throw away culture here – aoife® is a slow fashion circular brand

And there you have the meaning of sustainability. This type of production meets current needs, without depleting the resources needed for future generations. In this way neither profits, planet or people will suffer now or into the future and is therefore sustainable practice. Though Ireland is underperforming and is in the bottom third of EU countries when it comes to its sustainable development agenda, there is one Irish company getting top marks for its approach. aoife® started with sustainability as a core belief and built from there. Aoife Rooney, the brains behind this luxury brand did her homework meticulously. She sourced regenerated materials for her luxury bags, the production process she is transparent about. One such material she uses is called Econyl®.This virgin regenerated nylon material is repurposed from discarded nets, or ghost nets and other materials retrieved from the ocean floor. And even better, after it has finished its life as a luxury bag it can be taken apart and reused to create other items, becoming part of the circular economy. No throw away culture or fast fashion at aoife®; this is a slow fashion brand with heart.

Sustainable fashion- how does this relate to the ocean floor?

We are all well aware that the use/throw away approach has to stop. Why? Because throw away is a misnomer. Ok, you may dump an item in the black bin, it gets collected and you forget about it. But what happens to it then? Most likely the refuse truck upends your item into a landfill site where household waste ends its days. There it lies for many years, or in the case of plastic waste practically forever, leeching harmful chemicals into the earth and interfering with the animal and plant life of the location. The ecosystem of the coral reef is damaged by discarded fishermen’s nets and other waste material. The ocean floor is strewn with all manner of waste and sea creatures get entangled and injured or die in its dreadful clutches. Retrieving this material and cleaning the ocean floor is a great idea, better still if it didn’t happen at all. In the meantime, aoife® designs with a conscience and they are using this new material created from this waste to create beautiful, sustainable luxury bags, and in so doing are ticking a lot of environmentally sound boxes while also contributing to the circular economy.Follow us to learn more about our circular brand @aoifelifestyle.

A big thank you to our guest creative writer and blogger Joan for writing this article.