True Icon is an ethical brand. The clothes we sell have been created or picked due to their ethical credentials, and the message that we spread is a positive one.
Our aim is to give consumers an option that causes no harm to the planet, and even have a net positive effect through supporting charities and positive projects across the globe. We know that the world can't continue in the way that it is currently going for much longer, and we truly believe that we can make a positive impact on the fashion industry as we grow.
We judge everything we stock on a case-by-case basis, meaning there are no checklists or criteria that a product or brand must fit. We feel a strict ethical criteria could exclude some products which are having a net positive effect, even if there's a couple of things they could do better regarding supply-chains or material selection. We go into this in a bit more depth in our FAQ section.
We will detail what each product does right in the description, and, to make your browsing easier, look out for our little badges on each product page to get a quick idea of where each garment sits ethically.
In general though, here are some of the ethical values and aims we adhere to and our products will fit at least some of the following:
All garments on True Icon will be vegan-friendly. We will not stock anything that uses animal products, period. Yes, there are leathers which have a minimal carbon footprint from free-roaming cows. Yes, leather and wool are often long-lasting, and thus suit sustainability purposes. But this does not mean we will use animal products. The means to the end (particularly in the case of non-vegetarian products such as leather, silk and fur) means that the the product is rooted in an unethical production process. No product is ethical if an animal died or suffered for it. The only exception that we are currently looking at for this rule is peace-silk, although it's unlikely that we will be stocking products made from peace-silk for some time.
So what about second-hand products? Yes, this is obviously better than creating new products, but the issue is that it perpetuates the idea that animal products are ok. Therefore, all our items will be vegan-friendly, i.e. free from animal products.
We will avoid the use of sweatshop labour, and believe that workers should get remunerated fairly, and find their working lives to be both safe and not detrimental on their wellbeing at the very least. There are many companies out there going beyond this minimum, and we'll be offering full support to them in the future too. This is an issue that we feel has become even more pertinent since the events at Rana Plaza in April 2013, but it's an issue that is applicable to everyone whether they're from the UK or the developing world.
Modern human interaction with the environment can be broken down into two core problems:
- We are using finite resources with an infinite vision
- We are ladening the planet with the waste products of that vision
Of all the issues listed here, this is perhaps the most deeply ingrained in our current culture, and that makes it one of the most difficult to tackle. Here's a few of the things we will aim for with our products, packaging, and more:
- Sustainable materials with trusted sources - certain materials are inherently more environmentally-friendly, and we will aim to work with suppliers that can ensure low impact.
- Incorporating recycling and biodegradability as a method of disposal
- Utilising recycled materials at any opportunity
- Working with suppliers who use organic farming methods
- Whilst carbon neutrality is almost impossible (we need to ship our products out to you!) we are looking at options for offsetting our carbon.
- Supporting other environmental initiatives as part of our work.
We don't believe anyone should leave the world worse off than it was, but we also want to go beyond just doing no harm. We want to have a net positive effect. The simplest way for us to do this is to offer our support to charitable causes, monetarily and through other means. As such, a percentage of our profits will go to charitable causes that we support. The organisations we support will routinely change too.
Alongside charity, we believe that True Icon can have a positive impact by support social programmes and initiatives. Where possible, we will seek suppliers and organisations to work with that work with disadvantaged people and communities. Perhaps we'll even run our own social initiatives in the future too...
Fashion trends may come and go, but that doesn't mean some of our products won't last forever. This is no stamp of guarantee or quality assurance, but if we feel a particular product will likely last you for decades to come then it'll get our Lifelong icon next to it. This isn't to say that it won't need the odd fix-up, and a bit of renewing here and there, but with some TLC it should keep up the wear without the tear.
We won't throw this out without fair thought. I mean, we all have pristine condition tshirts sitting in our wardrobes from 2001 that we can't quite bear to pass on, right? But this'll be reserved for those products that'll make it, day-in, day-out, through the rough and the smooth. Not only will this benefit you in the long-term (ever heard the adage 'too poor to buy cheap'?), but it'll also benefit the Earth. Products that'll make it through your life with you mean that you'll never likely have to buy them again, or chuck away their remains. They'll be easily recyclable too, in that you can simply pass them on to someone else several years down the line.
Upcycled, recycled, call it what you want: if it's made from something discarded then it's been given a new life. This could be a product made from something else entirely - shoes made from recycled plastic bottles, or a dress made from a coffee-bean-based fabric. It could also be a traditionally upcycled piece of clothing, otherwise discarded. Our Reworked range consists of traditional second-hand clothing, some of it vintage, some of it upcycled, and some of it just cast-offs from the fast-fashion industry.
Other business ethics...
Well, it's supposed to be the best policy, so we couldn't leave it out. This initially seems like an odd inclusion - it's not like organisations typically go around lying to their customers (although that's not unheard of). However, it's not uncommon that other companies seem to conceal the truth and their actions, whether through outright dishonesty or clever marketing. We will maintain a code of honesty with our suppliers and customers. If we feel a product doesn't fit the credentials, both quality-wise and ethically, then we will let you know. If we are having difficulties or issues, then we will let you know.
Waste not, want not
At every available opportunity we will reuse, recycle, and minimise waste. Wherever possible, we'll also do this through the simplest route available. This extends to our products - if we think a second-hand item can be loved again with a few stitches then we'll make it so. This forms the basis of our Reworked range.
Delivery and packaging
One area that we are currently looking to improve is our delivery. We are pleased to say that items will ship in biodegradable postal bags, and other packaging will come from recycled sources. Currently we are looking at carbon-neutral delivery, but at our current scale this is not something that we can achieve. Stay tuned, as we are working towards this.
AC, DC, Low C
We aim to power everything we do through renewable energy sources, and therefore have selected Ecotricity to power our HQ. In addition, we don't use gas - it is run 100% on renewable electricity. Whilst we cannot guarantee this from our suppliers, we will always favour companies that work using renewable and low-damage sources of energy.
We are proud of what we're creating at True Icon, and we hope you'll support us in what we're doing. If you have any ideas on what you'd like to see us do in the future, and values you think we should adopt, then get in touch.