IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Foxology
Updated: Feb 19, 2021
The importance of ethical, British made clothing in an ever-changing world. By Ellie Kirkman.
For the first issue of our 2021 ‘In The Spotlight’ blog series, we chatted to Dawn Foxall, Founder of Foxology Clothing, about how to develop a sustainable, British-made fashion brand.
Where did Foxology Begin?
Working in ethical fashion since the early 2000’s, Dawn Foxall established Foxology in 2017. Utilising supply chain contacts that she had acquired over the years, she was able to build a British brand that she believes in.
Foxology produces beautiful, durable knitwear in merino wool and cotton. The brand is the epitome of slow fashion.
'Designed to be timeless and […] see our customers through season after season. The fabrics and workmanship are of the highest quality and long-lasting'.
There are many challenges when creating a sustainable fashion brand, we asked Dawn to talk us through some of the issues she came up against and share learnings. She felt it was important for her to “spread the message about sustainable, ethical production” and illustrate to others in the industry that operating in this way was both achievable and economical.
Creating a Sustainable Fashion Brand
1. Get your strategy right
Sourcing “a supply chain that is completely transparent and authentic” - which you know you can trust – is vital. However, once your supply chain is established, the focus then needs to move to the economics:
How will your cash flow work?
How will you make profit?
How can you grow the business to make more profit in an ethical way?
Working responsibly is important, but ensuring you have a commercially viable business is equally necessary for success.
2. Ethical Materials with Provenance
Foxology chooses to produce garments in Organic Egyptian cotton, Merino wool and lambswool, rather than synthetic fibres, as they are recyclable and biodegradable. Whilst she knows the origin of her cotton, Dawn hopes that one day her consumers will be able to track their wool jumper back to the herd or even the sheep that it came from. At the moment, due to the size of the brand’s orders, they are unable to meet minimum order quantities needed to pin down the exact origin, which reduces transparency.
3. Zero Waste
Using 3D whole garment, seam-free technology when making their garments ensures no waste is created during the production process. This reduces the brand’s environmental footprint hugely when compared to other waste creating methods of production.
4. Sourcing trims
Sourcing British made and/or ethically sourced trims has been a real mission. Through sheer perseverance, the brand has managed to source UK made labels and find zips with teeth made from recycled polyester and an organic cotton tape. To achieve this, Foxology had to be flexible as designers - creating multiple products incorporating the same length and style of zip to meet minimum order runs on the more sustainable version they wanted.
5. Sustainable Packaging
To fulfil its growing online sales, the brand has chosen to invest in low impact consumer packaging. Buying in paper bags may be more expensive, but when bought in bulk they become both economical and environmentally friendly. Some will even biodegrade in garden soil.
6. Disrupting the retail model
Instead of following the example set by larger retailers who promote Black Friday sales, Foxology released a ‘Green Friday” campaign, where every online purchase made a contribution to charities that protect rainforests.
This was facilitated by One Tribe Global’s Trbe scheme, a Climate Action Platform for business engagement. Just seventeen pence is donated per sale, yet this can have a huge impact on atmospheric CO2 reduction, diminishing deforestation and supporting rainforest communities.
Improving the Foxology brand is an evolving process. Making continual improvements amounts to big change over time. Here are some of Dawn’s tips:
Foxology Top Tips
Research your market to gain a thorough understanding of what your consumer wants and needs. Producing a sustainable product simply isn’t enough.
Ensure your customer understands your USP, and create a desire for your product through relevant, exciting marketing channels.
Know who your competitors are and how you can differentiate yourself from them.
Understand modern business strategy, particularly the online marketplace.
Use the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for business structure and development. This is a great planning tool and allows you to set targets right from the beginning of your brand creation process.
Have faith: it will take lots of time, investment and patience but it will be worth it in the end.
If you’d like support on building a sustainability strategy for your fashion brand, please get in touch. Want to read more? Here’s our top tips for surviving the Coronavirus pandemic using sustainable strategies.