Running a fashion brand that’s ethical and eco-friendly isn’t always easy, but it’s not impossible, either. One brand that I’ve recently discovered is Truth&All, which specialises in lightweight, comfortable and sustainable sunglasses that are handmade in Greece. Founder GEMMA VINCENT tells us more about her business, and how she sticks to her mantra that fashion shouldn’t cost us the earth.
How did you find yourself in Singapore?
My husband and I basically subscribe to the power of yes. It’s how I’ve moved to London, around Australia (I grew up in Queensland), and now Singapore. When my husband got offered a regional role, we weighed up the pros and cons for our family of four, and the pros won, so here we are. And we love it!
Tell us the story behind Truth&All.
Having left my physiotherapy job in Australia, there was no better time to explore another passion. After moving to Singapore, the over-consumption of plastic really struck a chord with my husband and me. We set out to create a conscious version of anything that was Instagrammable.
We believe eyewear is the ultimate social statement, both in fashion and in life. It allows you to say that you can choose to be conscious in your purchases and still look great. That really is our mantra at Truth&All. There is only one “truth” – that we live unsustainably – and then there is what we can “all” do about it, as a collective.
How are Truth&All’s sunglasses made?
We explored a number of materials before choosing to go with bio-acetate. While planning, a quote stuck with us: “If your bathtub was overflowing, you wouldn’t immediately reach for a mop – you’d first turn off the tap.” That’s what we believed we needed to do with plastics. Recycling only gets us halfway there, and we needed to stop the flow instead. Bio-acetate is one way to turn off the tap.
Our frames are sustainable in the materials used and in how they are made, and this is important to us. Sustainable products also have to be ethically made. So, each pair is handmade in Greece by a socially responsible, family-run company, which supports fair wages and ethical working conditions. The manufacturing process involves over 48 individual steps and 36 quality checkpoints, before they reach our customer.
The frames are made with Italian bio-acetate; it’s a material made from renewable sources of cotton, wood and natural alternatives to plasticisers (like resins). The bio-acetate is 100 percent biodegradable (under compost conditions) and fully recyclable. Our lenses are UV400, offering 100 percent UVA and UVB protection with a scratch resistant coating.
The result is an end product that doesn’t compromise on style or the environment. We paired our gorgeous handmade frames with recycled packaging – a recycled felt and leather case, recycled microfibre cloth and recycled box.
Tell us the inspiration behind your designs.
We didn’t want to produce designs that were “fast fashion” and fleeting in their appeal. We worked with designers to select four classic shapes that are timeless, that suit a variety of face shapes and sizes, and that are crazy comfortable. This way, we’re supporting the notion of buying less, choosing well and making each purchase last.
What were some of the challenges you had to overcome as a socially conscious brand?
Staying true to our sustainable mission hasn’t been easy. Internally, we’ve faced difficulties, from the materials and manufacturing processes, through to delivery efficiencies and sustainable solutions. Even the paper used for our delivery notes is recycled.
Also, when you first launch a business, the brand value isn’t instantly there; it has to grow over time. Consumer education requires time. People have to recognise that they have a choice to look beyond plastics, because fashion shouldn’t cost us the earth.
What’s in the works for the brand?
We’re really excited about our first birthday coming up in June! While we don’t want to be producing new designs every season and promoting over-consumption, we are working on expanding the collection later this year.
How to be sustainably stylish
Bite-sized tips from Gemma
#1 Wear Truth&All sustainable sunglasses, of course!
#2 Shop local, sustainable brands. From shoes to swimwear, to jewellery, there are some amazing Singapore-based brand owners who put a lot of effort into ensuring quality designs are being produced responsibly.
#3 Reprogram ourselves around the cost of products. We need to relearn how much quality products that are responsibly made should cost.
Shop the range of sustainable sunglasses at truthandall.com
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