Let's say Aloha to choosing sustianably!
Alohas presents themselves as the “#1 destination for sustainable on-demand fashion” by providing a business model focused on what is on trend, without overproducing products. Headquartered out of Spain, Alohas is most well known for their shoes, but provides a wide range of fashion products. I discovered Alohas through an Instagram ad, as I was enticed by the chic shoe and the bold headline elaborating on its dramatic commitment to sustainability and limiting waste. Has to be good, right? After investigating further, Alohas has created a business model set up to combat overproduction by using a pre-order system that allows them to accurately measure the quantity of goods needed for that given product (in that given fashion season). By pre-ordering and contributing to a specific measured amount of a product, Alohas will give you a discount (based on the product). Alohas also maintains their own blog focused on curating collections for specific seasons or events (and how you can participate sustainably in these events). They are innovative in their approach to fashion and keeping up with the trends, and their transparency only makes them more appealing, and have their products placed throughout a variety of websites/online vendors.
One of the main materials used in the Alohas products is leather, a material that has historically had many environmental consequences. Leather has lengthy and extensive environmental impacts, typically contributing to deforestation, rising GHG emissions from cattle and manufacturing processes, in addition to the water, chemicals and energy used in the production process. Even with initiatives to make leather (and the process of raising and manufacturing) more sustainable, the product itself still boasts many negative points.
All of the Alohas products are created and crafted from Leather Working Group certified sustainable leather, which ensures a more transparent supply chain (focusing on lower impact dying and less pollution throughout the process).The Leather Working Group (LWG) is the world’s leading environmental certification for the leather manufacturing industry, as they conduct a proper assessment of the amount of wastewater discharged and the intensity of the chemicals used. The LWG has seen an average 35% reduction in water consumption by its rated tanneries (resulting in about 12 billion liters of water saved each year). This certification is a bit harder to acquire, as Alohas had to undergo (approximately) a 2 day audit to their manufacturing facility to ensure they are in line with the LWG standards + that they are producing the leather in the most sustainable way possible. The leather is also not treated with any chemical products and its quality is paramount in the selection process. It appears that Alohas chooses LWG certified suppliers, and because of this, the specific location and supplier may vary.
Alohas also contains a section of their website titled “All Collections” as a part of their Q&A section, dedicated to furthering their transparency (through all steps). A few common materials in Alohas products include: SVegan (A 100% Vegan material concept), The Second Life Project (cactus and corn leathers as well as recycled materials for soles, heels, caps and linings), leather buckles + hardware (generally made of ZAMAK [a recyclable, low energy consumption material]), and the soles are made from 100% recycled plastic (90% recovered from rubber + 10% recycled from shoes). As previously mentioned, the clothing is involved in a non-harmful dye process and all pieces are pre-shrunk.
Alohas products are made by local artisans in factories that are also local (in Barcelona and in Alicante) in order to maintain the originality and sustainability of the brand. From video clips via Instagram, it appears that humans are very involved in the production process (less so machinery and assembly lines), and this transparency is helpful in understanding the on-demand business approach to apparel. Each pair of Alohas is unique and contains variations of color and texture, which is made to be an element of authenticity and as a trademark of their time and dedication to each shoe (and producing the correct quantity). This rating would earn a perfect 3/3 if there was more transparency surrounding the inputs and outputs of the production process, and the environmental damage caused by the manufacturing process (i.e., what materials are involved in shipping, packaging etc.). There is not much information about their carbon footprint through their manufacturing and production stages, which raises some questions about CO2 emissions and environmental impact throughout these stages.
Alohas has never outsourced their production so that they can keep making regular visits to the manufacturing facilities to ensure the labor standards and company ideals are being upheld. The group also works to maintain transparency throughout this process. They have recorded actual content from their factories and have shared it with their followers on social media, giving followers further insight to the process and into the perspective of the artisans. Because Alohas are an LWG Approved Trader, they are expected to be in compliance with either local regulations or environmental audit protocol (whichever is more strict) to ensure that waste is treated in an environmentally conscious manner, and that employees are treated in a lawful manner.
Alohas also presents a carbon offset feature, focusing on helping consumers reduce the total overall carbon footprint of e-commerce. These funds are contributed towards active projects that Alohas is helping to support, including native forest regeneration and international renewable energy projects. For a slight fee at the end of your transaction, you get to choose if you’d like to contribute the small amount (2 euros), and where you’d like it to be given! Alohas is also working to leverage Instagram in order to spread information as it relates to shopping and consuming sustainably, learning more about what sustainable fashion looks like, and understanding the methods of Alohas in order to ensure a more sustainably focused future!
The more I learn about the company, the more I want to support them and their mission!