“Sustainable” used to be a dirty word in the fashion industry. A decade or so ago, the sustainable market was dominated by a smattering of high-street labels, invariably peddling a so-called boho aesthetic, and one or two higher-end designers that were starting to get to grips with the social and environmental realities of their ethically suspect supply chains. Now sustainability, it seems, is the watchword of a generation. A 2018 report by The Business Of Fashion and McKinsey & Company said that 66 per cent of millennials were willing to spend more on clothes that were designed and made using sustainable practices.
With sustainability on everybody’s minds (or at least those in the 19-to-38 age bracket), it comes as no surprise that corporations and companies are catching on by attempting to woo a customer base that is willing to put its money where its mouth is. Established designers have been tapping away with small concessions in the name of the environment – a charity T-shirt here, a collaboration there – but there’s a new breed of brands for whom going green is more than an exercise in pandering or box ticking. It’s their entire reason for being. Among their number is Dick Moby, a sustainable sunglasses outfit, which has just landed on MR PORTER.
Its founders, Messrs Tim Holland and Robbert Wefers-Bettink, met when they moved into the same student house in Amsterdam. “Our friendship began a few drinks and minutes later,” says Mr Wefers-Bettink, but the two didn’t go into business together until they came back from what they dub “the worst surfing trip ever”. Drinking beers on a beach in some sandy idyll should be a sublime experience, but instead the friends found themselves surrounded by plastic pollution, and something clicked.