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Find Out Where Your Clothing Really Comes From

It’s a question that’s not asked enough – where does clothing come from, and how is it made? The clothing industry is notorious for the proliferation of child labour, disregard for the environment and the more practical challenges – such as the need to freight goods large distances due to the geography of the market. So how can we, as shoppers, know how to buy environmentally-friendly, ethical fashion? When you think about it, it’s almost impossible to find out what you’re buying into.

Rapanui is an Eco-Fashion company from the Isle of Wight that, unlike the typical earth-mother organic clothing companies, has recognised the root cause of the problem: brands aren’t communicating enough. They’ve not only designed some of the worlds greenest clothing – Organic, Sustainable fabrics in a Fairwear Foundation Audited, Wind-powered factory, but also created an innovative system to allow shoppers to trace where their products come from and how they are made on Google earth, with videos, pictures and figures showing the product and the people making it from the planting of the seed to the stacking on the shelf. All this and the founders are only in their early twenties – a fact that they say helps them keep their finger on the pulse of current fashion styles and gives them a unique advantage: with their 12-strong staff all under 25, this company is perhaps one of the only fashion houses completely run by, and for, young people.

The company is as much about fashion design as it is about research and innovation into sustainable textiles and eco marketing; a mix that has helped them take a clean sweep of the 2010 eco-awards calendar including winning the 2010 Sustainable Business Awards and a finalists place in the Enterprising Young Brits Awards.

Founding brothers Rob and Mart Drake-Knight say the brand name, Rapanui, the native name for Easter Island, “was stumbled upon as a place we wanted to go to on a surf trip, but turned into much more: the story of Rapanui, where overpopulation led to a collapse of resources, is a great metaphor for the ‘big picture’ challenges we face in sustainability today”

The brand was founded by brothers Rob and Mart Drake-Knight in 2008 with just £200 worth of savings (still don’t know how they did it) and the brothers are now listed on the Future 100 list of Top Young Entrepreneurs, with Rapanui being recognised as one of the top 100 startups of 2008.

“Fashion is like no other medium in that you literally drape yourself in what you believe in. Whilst we make every endeavour to excel in eco-fabrics, renewable energy powered manufacturing and ethical trade, Rapanui is about more than just ticking the green box. The power of market demand and supply, and the influence of brands in our lifestyle is a power at we want to use to do some good. We’re not pretending to be some earth-saving organisation, but if we can succeed in making eco-fashion cool, and by wearing Rapanui we can influence people to make wider lifestyle choices in going green, we will have done our job in making a significant contribution towards sustainability.” Said Mart Drake-Knight, Rapanui Director.

If you are still curious and want to find out more do so by going over to check out their eco pages and find out more about traceability.

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