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A small sustainable fashion brand tells Stylist why research and affordability is the key to conscious shopping

Each week on the Sustainable Shopper, Stylist talks to the people focused on creating a more conscious shopping space for all. This time, Kady Edwards – fashion buyer at eco-conscious brand Omnes – talks to fashion editor Harriet Davey about making sustainable fashion stylish and affordable for everyone. 

Discovering new brands on Instagram is part of the joy that comes with scrolling through the social media app. Whether it’s spotted on an influencer you follow or pops up as an ad, many small, unique and incredible brands can be discovered. And what makes the discovery even more exciting? When the brand is putting people and the planet first, of course. This is exactly what happened when I found new sustainable fashion label, Omnes. 

Created in 2020, the brand has already racked up nearly 30,000 loyal followers on Instagram who have fallen in love with the beautiful prints, dreamy silhouettes and wearable eco-conscious designs that mange to encompass style and affordability into each and every piece. Thinking about the garment’s life cycle from the offset, Omnes is transparent with all stages of the creation process and uses fabrics that can be easily recycled. 

You’ve likely already spotted someone wearing the now iconic poppy prints or swishing around in the summery midi dress styles. Kady Edwards is a buyer at Omnes, and ahead tells the Sustainable Shopper how the brand is breaking the mould, why thoughtful fashion is key and the three hacks you can easily incorporate into your everyday life to me more mindful. Over to Kady…

Kady Edwards
Kady Edwards: fashion buyer at Omnes

What is your earliest memory of sustainability?

Kady: After studying fashion buying management at the University of Westminster, I began my career working for the buying departments of major high street names, before moving over to a globally renowned fast-fashion company. It was during this role that my eyes were opened to the sheer volume of clothing being consumed at an incredible pace and I promised myself that my next career move would be to a brand trying to break this cycle. I joined Omnes in 2020 – the year of its launch – having been started with the clear mission to create sustainable fashion that is also affordable, without sacrificing style or quality. 

Our founder Jordan Razavi recognised that while there are a lot more sustainable brands around, most of them are still at extremely high price points. As a retailer we have the responsibility of designing and selling more sustainably so that we can offer the customers the solutions to buy better, however if we do not make sustainable fashion accessible for everyone, nothing will be able to change.

Omnes reversible maxi dress
Omnes reversible maxi dress

Is there such a thing as truly sustainable fashion?   

There are so many layers to what makes fashion sustainable. At Omnes we believe the most important thing is to break this down and prioritise the areas that will have the most impact. 80% of a garment’s impact starts at the design stage, therefore we carefully consider the fabric choice and the design details of the product from the beginning. 

However, it’s also not enough to be designing beautiful products with no thought about the end of life – we need to move toward a more circular fashion system. This is something we are really passionate about as a brand and why we only use fabrics that are 100% from the same yarn to ensure ease of recycling at the end of the garment’s life cycle. We also avoid trims as much as possible for the same reason which has the added bonus of helping to keep us at an accessible price point.

Omnes Sophia dress
Omnes Sophia dress

Investment pieces vs throw away fashion: how do you get customers to care?   

Knowledge is power so education plays a huge part of accelerating the sustainability conversation forward. This is why we have made education a key objective in our sustainability strategy and we have exciting plans in the pipeline to deliver educational content through our new online blog. Myself and other members of the Omnes team have also been guest lecturers at fashion universities in London to educate the future generation of retail, delivering talks to design and buying students on various sustainability topics. 

Who is your favourite sustainability influencer? And why?

Seeing so many sustainable influencers emerging over the last few years has been amazing but it does make it even harder to chose just one. Venetia Le Manna is an active sustainable fashion campaigner who uses her influence to call out fast-fashion brands failing to improve upon their sub-par sustainable and ethical practices. Instagrammer Zanna van Dijk’s personal blog is also a great resource on how to incorporate sustainability into your everyday lifestyle.

It’s also definitely worth following celebrities like Stacey Dooley and Aisling Bea who both champion sustainable fashion brands on their Instagram accounts. I feel this is really important for getting the message out to an audience who may not have been as engaged in the sustainable space before. If you haven’t seen Stacey’s documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secrets, it’s a must watch! 

Omnes Rosetta dress
Omnes Rosetta dress

What changes would you like to see happen in the fashion industry?

While some new brands are also starting to talk more about their supply chains, this is definitely where most work needs to be done. At Omnes we’re proud to be transparent and have ours on the website, providing at length all of our suppliers’ details and information. This is part of our drive to be as honest and open as possible.

We also believe there needs to be a huge shift in attitudes towards suppliers, factories and garment workers in general. They need to be treated as our equal partners which is why all of our supplier contracts are called our partnership policy. It’s our responsibility as brands to ensure that garment workers are not only safe and treated fairly but actually happy and enjoy their jobs. There needs to be full transparency of the hundreds of hands each garment touches and a massive piece of education for consumers as to what their money means and how it is divided up between everyone involved.

Three sustainable shopping methods

1. Research

In terms of buying, putting in even 15 minutes of research into a brand before buying is crucial. If their factories aren’t published, if they don’t even mention sustainability, is that the kind of business you want to support?

2. Care

30% of a garment’s impact is decided once it is brought home, so think carefully about how you care for your clothes. Only wash when it’s actually needed and avoid tumble drying – instead, let it dry naturally outside and when the sun shines you will also benefit from the sun’s natural antibacterial properties.

3. Repair

Invest in the clothes you have instead of throwing them away. There are lots of amazing resources on YouTube with step-by-step guides including how to sew on a new button.

      Sustainable Shopper edit by Kady:

      Images: courtesy of Omnes/ Kady Edwards and brands featured

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