What is the Country Road strategy around sustainability?
At Country Road we recognise that sustainability underpins good business. We strive to ensure the resources we use come from partners who prioritise sustainable practices so that the welfare of people, animals, and the environment is a top priority.
We have responsible sourcing strategies in place for our key raw materials. This means, in-store, we have garments made using Oritain-verified Australian cotton or wool. This range is made from fibres that have been independently traced back to Australian farms, helping to ensure they support better land management and high animal-welfare standards.
We also have our organic cotton and linen ranges and homeware made from responsibly sourced timber.
We’re also an active member of local communities by supporting charities and initiatives that look to improve health and wellness, provide equal opportunities, and strengthen social development. On every level, we look to care for our planet so our customers can feel proud of every Country Road product they take home.
How does the design ethos build sustainability into the design process?
Quality underpins our design ethos and is the cornerstone on which our brand was built. We look to inspire beauty in what we design, but not at the expense of our planet and its people. That’s why we search across Australia and the globe to find responsible, ethical, and innovative materials that meet our high standards. We also recognise the role of embracing circularity within the design process.
Circularity challenges the status quo and acknowledges that we have to completely transform the present linear approach to fashion production. It focuses on keeping fabrics and materials in use for as long as possible. We are at the beginning of this journey but believe it is the way of the future for the whole industry. One of the ways we embed circular thinking into design is by embracing recycled materials, which saves products from becoming waste, as well as lessening the demand for virgin materials and the many resources required to produce them. In our collections we use recycled polyester, recycled nylon, and recycled cotton.
We also use Tencel™ x Refibra™ fibres in the making of our Sateen Jean. These fibres are made using technology that blends recycled cotton scraps with wood pulp sourced from responsibly managed forests. Producing this fibre requires 95% less water than conventional cotton. It is made in a closed-loop production process which reduces waste and stops harmful chemicals from being released into the environment.
What are some of your success stories?
We’re lucky to have incredible partnerships that are driving real change. We joined forces with Twyg, a nonprofit company inspiring and supporting an eco-conscious and equitable world. The development of the Twyg Sustainable Fashion Awards has helped to shine a light on South African designers leading sustainable, ethical, circular, and regenerative practices in the fashion industry. Through this partnership, we hope to further encourage and inspire innovative approaches to fashion design, as well as create opportunities to collaborate with like-minded organisations to inspire South African consumers to make more sustainable, inclusive and ethical lifestyle choices.
As a brand Country Road has a deep connection to supporting emerging design talent and this is evident in last year’s Twyg Changemaker Award winner, Lara Klawikowski. As a company that has long committed to sustainability, we are proud to have been able to award Lara with a cash prize that, in turn, supported her in showcasing an inspirational SS21 collection at SA Fashion Week. We are now able to further encourage and inspire sustainable fashion practices in South Africa.
Why is sustainability important for the Country Road customer?
Customers are increasingly interested in supporting purpose-led brands, and our insights show that brand purpose increases brand loyalty. In South Africa, our sustainable offerings range as the top 10 sellers week on week, which shows a commitment and change in consumers making the right decision for our planet and our people.
• From the June edition of Wanted, 2021.