AYM Studio is an apparel company which creates ethically made items and are designed to make you feel incredible. The company has a motto of clothes that should only be made if they are done so ethically. They try to be as transparent as possible with their consumers, as they believe consumers have a right to know how their clothes are made so that they can feel confident in the choices they make. In addition to this, sustainability is at the root of many of AYM’s business operations, this stems from creating products which outlast seasonal trends and therefore slow fast fashion as well as being made to order, all the way to shipping products with carbon off sets and having goals to become carbon neutral. In addition to this, AYM have also won numerous awards, such as 3 times winner of small business of the year in the UK.
The particular Shaya Cycling Shorts are made using the companies signature double layer fabric, the blend of materials for this specific garment is 95% polyester and 5% elastane (the source of these materials is not available on the internet). As an AYM consumer who owns a pair of the Shaya Cycling Shorts I can personally say that I think the quality of these cycling shorts is practically unmatched by any other company which I have tried; the material is comfortable and stretchy as well as holding its quality after countless times in the washing machine. These shorts are truly a piece which will last for years and years in your wardrobe, and I have not needed to buy another pair of cycling shorts since. So, overall should help consumers reduce the total amount of products which they purchase in their lifetime. However, considering this company is so heavy tailored towards encouraging their consumers to be more environmentally friendly and purchase products in ways which also convey more environmentally conscious lifestyles, you would have thought that materials which are less damaging to the environment would have been used to produce this garment.
Polyester, although it can sometimes be considered to be more sustainable from a consumer care standpoint as it requires less water and cooler temperatures for washing, it also has significant negative environmental impacts throughout production, usage, and disposal. Theses environmental impacts are due to polyester being a synthetic petroleum based fibre which means that it is made up of a resource that is extremely carbon-intensive and non-renewable. In addition to this, polyester in a non-biodegradable material which means that it is very hard to break down and will persist in eco-systems until it eventually does decompose, as well as polyester contributing to microplastic pollution in the ocean every time a garment is washed. Elastane is the other material used within these and shorts and unfortunately it is known for not being environmentally friendly in similar ways to polyester, such as being non-biodegradable.
As a whole the Shaya Cycling Shorts cannot be scored above a 1 out of 3 for what it is made of, because even though it’s quality is incredible and so helps to reduce repeat buying and mass purchasing from consumers, the actual materials used for the shorts are very damaging to the environment throughout all stages of their lifecycle. Therefore, it may be an idea for AYM to consider using other fibres for the garments, such as recycled materials, or finding other ways to combat their carbon and environmental footprint so that these materials impacts are met with positive impacts for the environment as well.
All orders on the AYM are made to order, meaning that the garment is only made once a customer has placed an order and paid for the item. This production process helps to reduce waste for AYM as they, in theory, should never have overstock of clothing waiting for customers to purchase them. Instead they only hold the materials which they use to create clothing. Therefore, this reduces the amount of waste AYM will be putting into landfill because if and when a style of clothing is being dropped from the brand, there will be no outstanding stock to dispose of. From a customers perspective, implementing this kind of production into a clothing company could be seen as a negative as it means that consumers will have to wait longer to receive their orders due to the items not even being made when the order has been placed. However, when a piece is more environmentally conscious and will last significantly longer than the majority of high street stores clothing, this negative is then potentially overshadowed by positives and so may not dampen consumers spirits after all.
In addition to garments being made to order they are also all handmade and are produced in the company’s own studio in Lewes, East Sussex (UK). Their website provides and insight into each of the sewers who produce all the garments AYM sell, this website page includes a bit of background information about each worker and some work related questions to give a snippet of their work life, which overall appears as so the company is very open to being transparent about their employees. This being said, there is minimal information on the step-by-step process of how the Shaya Cycling Shorts are created, however, you can see from their website that sewing machines are a key component so to some extent there will be a carbon footprint from AYM. But also due to the small size of the company, it can be confidently assumed that this impact is nowhere near that of other huge scale clothing retailers. As the production process of the Shaya shorts is not very publicly known, this is the reason why this section cannot be scored more than 2.5 out of 3.
According to the AYM website they pay all of their workers above the living wage within the UK which is £9.90 per hour or £11.05 if you are located in London, and so consumers never feel as though they need to feel guilty about purchasing a product from them. This being said there is no information on the exact payments their employees receive, the baseline minimum is £9.90 per hour. AYM Studio is a very small business, only consisting of 10 employees, which personally I believe makes it much easier to act and follow through with ethical and environmental statements that AYM release publicly. As previously mentioned in the ‘how is it made’ section of this review, the AYM website contains a page which provides an insight into a number of their employees, this conveys that the company are willing to be transparent with how they treat their employees as well as how their workers feel about how they are being treated.
Overall, I think that AYM has a great starting approach towards sustainability and being a smaller company this makes being sustainable much more achievable for them compared to large global businesses. On the contrary, there is still plenty of room for improvement for AYM, these improvements being to use more environmentally friendly fabrics throughout all stages of their lifecycles (production, usage, and disposal), and also to be more transparent across all aspects of business functions just so that consumers can gauge more about the company and how they do things.