Q&A: Earthmonk

Earthmonk is a best buy label clothing brand, we talk to its co-founder Fiona about the philosophy behind the clothes. 

Tell us about Earthmonk? 

It was during the Summer of 2015 that Gavin and I first talked about clothing with soul. The defining moment was when I saw a really offensive T-shirt on a parent in the school play-ground, the very next day I suggested to Gavin that we could do the exact opposite and use clothes as a vehicle for inspiring messages.

We immediately began thinking about mantras, philosophy and concepts that we could weave into unique artwork to share timeless spiritual wisdom. Earthmonk isn’t a brand that was strategically created in a business meeting, it’s two people whose dream is to put something uplifting into the world and hopefully touch peoples lives in a meaningful way.

What separates you from other ethical fashion retailers? 

There aren’t very many fashion brands who are creating spiritual clothes that have been ethically made. Earthmonk is unique because we are doing both these things. We aren’t just about creating a seasonal range of clothes that have been ethically and sustainably crafted, each of our garments has a story to tell.

For us it goes beyond the material and the production of the garment to also encompass what timeless spiritual wisdom and philosophy it can share. We make Earthmonk clothes with as much respect as we can for this planet and her people, but we design them so that every time they are worn the person wearing them is inspired and just maybe as they go about their day the garment inspires other people too!

Image: Earthmonk

We are also different when it comes to the manufacturing of our clothes. We hand picked a small family run business, in Portugal, that owns both the mill and the textile outlet. Once the bales of organic cotton arrive the whole production is done under one roof, from the making of the fabric to the finished garment, even the embroidery on the edging of our hoody’s! Our T-shirts are hand screen printed so they go down the road to another small business. So all in all our clothes go through one or two companies in total before coming to us. We really do know who make our clothes.

It’s become quite a trend now to support a charity but when we began this was a rarity. We give 10% (exc VAT) of the price of the garment, this means every single purchase a customer makes goes to projects in the Peruvian Amazon. 

Do you see a growing demand for sustainable fashion? 

More and more people are waking up to the reality that modern life is taking a devastating toll on the earth and that people are suffering as a consequence of fast fashion. It’s about educating and informing and that’s happening slowly and steadily, bit by bit. The demand for sustainable fashion can only grow as a result of this.

The greater demand there is from us as consumers for sustainable fashion, the more accessible it will become. We have such huge power and we can vote by how and where we shop as well as the feedback we give. We believe that in the end all the big high street chains will have ethical lines as it will become too big a topic and trend to ignore - and whilst their motives might still be corporate, this will be a good thing. Change at that high level will have a huge impact on price and accessibility.

What is your advice to consumers?

Find out what’s available in your local area and ask around is our top tip. There might be much more on your doorstep than you realise. So get googling and talking to friends in your community. Recently we discovered a local charity that supports adults with learning difficulties, they sell the most amazing home grown fruit and veg as well as cakes and treats and all at really affordable prices.

Of course there are charity shops to explore, local farmer’s markets and co-operatives that you can join (we bulk buy from Infinity Food with a group of school mums). You can upcycle, swap children’s clothes with other parents and source the best options on the internet, but what’s really important to remember is that every little bit you do makes a difference. Don’t feel guilty about what you can’t do; focus on what you can.

We are available at www.earthmonk.guru. We also have shops on Facebook, Etsy and Ethical Market. If you subscribe to Ethical Consumer, you can find a 15% discount code to all Earthmonk products on your account page

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