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Attire the Studio is a sustainable fashion label centred on the idea of long-lasting, timeless basics. It was founded in 2019 by Xenia Adonts, a fashionista and social media influencer, after her own struggles to find brands that were transparent about their manufacturing and sustainability. But how sustainable actually is the brand?


The four pillars of Attire The Studio are transparency, sustainability, ethical production and quality of design. The brand highlights its dedication to transparency by listing on each product page of its website a costing infographic which clearly depicts the costs of all materials, labor and mark-ups. This unusual approach is adopted with the intention of informing consumers about the origins of their purchases. This approach differs greatly to the majority of companies who generally keep information such as their profit margins carefully under wraps. This method creates a level of trust between the company and the consumer and provides information about the production and materials in a clear and comprehensible way. The 5 factories the brand uses are each dedicated a full webpage which shares photos and details such as where the factory is located, when it was founded and how many are in its employ. All five are family-owned and 100% based in Portugal or Italy. Each fabric used in a collection is certified and guarantees ethical practices for their employees and well-being of the sheep. This also certifies that the production process avoids environmental pollution.


With a transparency like this, there is no room for Attire the Studio to accept sub-par standards and sweep it under the rug as is the case with many fashion conglomerates. The methods chosen by Attire to be so upfront about their production and processes is a clear solution to the issue of “greenwashing” whereby brands will often claim to be sustainable without disclosing details, allowing them to manipulate information and conceal the less-than-perfect details. Founded with a sustainable business model as the core, the company has constructed a business that factors in higher costs for components like locally sourced, sustainable fabrics as well as a lower-than-average markup yet still manages to create a financially viable business model. This is certainly evidence that such can be achieved, even without the large budgets of big brands.Does such a high level of transparency and focus on sustainability mean that a brand like Attire is doing everything they can to make their business model as sustainable as it can possibly be?


Materials are one of Attire’s main concerns and the focus of their brand ethos when it comes to sustainability. Xenia Adonts mentions this in the “About” page on the Attire the Studio website. She says, “I am usually on top of everything but during fashion month in September my brain was not working properly and I approved one fabric without asking the origin because I thought we had only pre-sourced certified options. We paid thousands of Euros for the fabric. Before final production I asked about the origin of the wool because I knew the origins of each piece except this one — nobody knew. I was shocked. We asked the Italian supplier and he replied “India and Thailand.” I asked for more information and he couldn’t provide me with any. I had to choose: lose the money and stick true to my mission or go easy on myself because this is my first collection and maybe it’s okay if one piece is not perfect. I decided to cancel the pants. I can’t stand behind something if I don’t give it my best. I accepted the fact and returned the fabric, lost the money and learned an expensive lesson.”


A challenge that revealed itself to Adonts upon entering the sustainability world was that hardly anyone was able to disclose the origin of the yarn they constructed their fabrics with. Attire the Studio began a long and dedicated process of selecting a library of over 1,000 sustainable fabrics which were sourced right back to conception to ensure that every stage of the process met the required standards. She says on the matter, “We use wool suppliers from Italy and Portugal, but that doesn’t mean that the wool is from these countries, it only means that’s where the mill is. We go the extra mile and disclose the origin of the yarn, and each farm is certified to ensure that no sheep was harmed in production. I spoke with one supplier who told me he wanted to buy organic cotton from the USA but there was no way of knowing if the fabric was actually American because it might have been sourced in America, but then sent to India to be dyed, sent to China to be spun, sent back to the USA to be sold as organic cotton, then sent out to the mills worldwide for a cheap price. This is not sustainable. We have tried our best to trace the origins of our fabrics.”


During her time researching the factories that would eventually produce her first collection, Adonts noted that she was unable to rely on the vast array of certifications available to assess sustainability and a manufacturer’s credentials. She explains that such certificates are extremely costly and there are many cases such as the small, Portuguese family-run yarn factory they use, can not afford such a large payout, despite being eligible in regards to their environmental practices. “Certificates are tricky. There are so many different random sustainability certifications, some that mean something and some that don’t mean anything. You can have the most sustainable mill that produces everything locally that can’t afford a certificate, like my little Portuguese farm, or you can have GOTS-certified cotton and still sell a T-Shirt for EUR 4 without VAT. Yeah, yeah, quantities bring prices down, but mass production will never be truly sustainable. We have tried our best to find the trusted certificates we need.” Such disparity between the small and large business highlights another key issue that so many brands will face when weighing up the options and costs of becoming sustainable and making adequate checks.


Attire the Studio pays just as much attention to detail to the packaging and distribution aspects as they do the products themselves. They use guaranteed plastic-free packaging with the use of 100% recycled boxes, tissue paper made of recycled paper and grass fibres and biodegradable stickers. They ship using an environmental protection program and a carbon neutral program by DHL and Go Green.


Another area of focus is the brand’s dedication to a anti-seasonality collection. The garments are designed to play a staple role in a woman’s wardrobe without becoming outdated or worn-out with time. Manufacturing and materials aside, this alone plays a big role in the anti-consumption movement that is sweeping the fashion industry. Even if products continue to be produced as irresponsibly as they are currently, persuading consumers to re-use, re-wear and re-love their clothes will undoubtably reduce the demand for fast fashion and wasteful consumerism.



Despite their conscientious efforts, Attire does not showcase any evidence of reporting standards such as the better cotton initiative or labile organic textile standards. They state that the garments are constructed using only 100% natural and toxin-free materials without mixed fabrics or plastic containers. There are no listed reporting standards to back up this claim, however. Although the discussion Adonts raised questioning the reliability and inequality of some of the certifications perhaps alludes to why she chooses to source and confirm the authenticity of her fabrics herself without relying on external reporting standards.


However, there are still some areas where Attire the Studio can look to improve their sustainability and environmental impact. The brand focuses in on production and manufacturing, with special attention to materials and packaging. Their economy is still linear, however. Although the product lifecycle is certainly extended much further than that of a fast fashion brand, there is an inevitable end. A circular economy design could see them introduce a system where customers can return used garments and allow them to be recycled or sold as pre-loved.


The brand already has a large customer base, in large part due to its founder, Xenia Adonts’ 1.5M instagram followers but it still remains a small business in the grand scheme of things. A partnership with a globally recognised brand or retailer could help to boost the brand’s image and would allow them access to the partner’s resources and contacts to improve their sustainability efforts. Selfridges, London, is known for supporting environmentally friendly brands and showcases them proudly.


Overall, Attire the Studio is paving the way for more sustainable brands to follow, but the complex issues that presented themselves during Attire’s development highlight the level of corruption and concealment in the garment production industry and the amount of additional work that brands must put in to ensure full clarity about where their components come from and who is making them. How can we expect the brands we buy from to practice sustainable processes in an industry that makes it such a challenge to do so? Are they entirely to blame or are they also victims of a deeply rooted corruption and inequality that expands far out of their control?


If sustainability is going to become a more widely recognised necessity, then we need to regulate the industry and have clearer expectations and certifications of those who produce our clothes. Greenwashing and excessive inflation of profit margins on products labeled as “organic”, “environmentally friendly” and “sustainable” must stop. Although a lot rests in the purchasing power of consumers, how can we expect them to take it upon themselves to put in extra work to clarify what they are buying when brands themselves don’t even always know the origins of their fabrics or the conditions of their labourers? In order to change the behaviours of consumers, we must incentivise them to make responsible purchases by making such products readily available, fashionable and at a reasonable price point. Attire’s commitment to creating a classic and timeless collection of beautifully constructed and ethically sourced pieces is tangible evidence of their resolve to be one of the founding fathers of a brighter and more sustainable future for the fashion industry.

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