Our shopping habits are slowly changing, with more and more of us turning to sustainable fashion brands in a bid to lower the impact our wardrobes have on the planet. However, building an environmentally-friendly wardrobe can end up costing a lot more than a regular one.
Which is why the arrival of a high-street priced sustainable brand is something to shout about. Introducing Aligne, founded by Dalbir Bains, who focuses on fairly priced items that are as sustainable as they can be, with the priciest items being cots for £200.
Having worked in the retail industry for over twenty years, she used all her supplier contacts to ensure the label is as low-impact as it can be, from ensuring every item is delivered by road, to the mainly European supply chain and the production processes.
The result is a very modern and wearable of classics you can see yourself wearing for seasons to come, from cropped blazers to satin skirts, cashmere roll necks and tank tops to this season’s must-have: the quilted coat.
Here, Dalbir debunks the myth that sustainable fashion can’t be affordable.
How did the brand start?
I’ve worked in fashion buying and product development throughout my entire career, and I’ve always been responsible for creating brands that support and fit with the company strategy. It felt like a natural next step and the perfect time to build something that was important to me and resonated with the consumer. A customer who welcomes and values transparency and quality. The desire to do this and create something different has been with me for years, but I actually started creating the label back in November 2019. My team is incredible; we’ve all worked so hard over the past few months and I’m really proud of everyone involved. It’s about who we are and our brand ‘big picture’: we don’t want to overpower and dictate, but ALIGNE ourselves with people’s thoughts and a desire for quality, sustainable fashion. We believe in honesty, community and travelling alongside them throughout our journey.
The brand is sustainable, but with affordable price points, how does it work?
It is not easy to build a collection that’s both affordable and sustainable – there are many considerations (and, sometimes, complications) along the way. Fabrics are more expensive, therefore the garments cost a lot more. On a happier note, a huge plus of building a new brand, is that your choices aren’t dictated by historical performance – you can set the prices, products and launch dates from scratch. That being said, we still have the challenge of buying small quantities of sustainably certified garments and delivering them to the consumer at an affordable price. We have avoided excessive margins as we believe that our key strategy is for our consumers to find the brand as desirable as they do attainable.
We work with factories who also share our vision; like-minded partners who work with mills that have a similar mindset. This way, a conscious, future-focused community within the industry evolves. Whilst Covid might make a new brand appear unattractive, many factories have shown us great support in our launch, and a real eagerness for the industry to become more sustainable.
What is the inspiration behind the collections?
We love trends but value timelessness. Our collections are a wardrobe of styles; effortless prints, premium fabrics and signature styling across pieces that are designed to last. Love-forever, feel-good silhouettes that are easy to dress up and dress down. We want our woman to look and feel confident, day or night, summer or winter, which is why versatility and quality are key in every piece that we create.
Any tips for building a more sustainable wardrobe?
Consider the pieces and the colour palette that you will always wear and make good investment decisions. I’m talking classic coats, sleek tailoring, faithful staples and those timeless finishing touches that make your wardrobe YOU. Rent or buy second hand and sell or donate your clothes if you can bear to part with them. When it’s time to say ‘goodbye’, try to give your clothes to a good second home or treat them to a new lease of life with customisation. There are so many useful DIY hacks and tutorials online that can help reinvent the clothes that you can’t quite give up…
And remember to wear your favourite thing as often as you like. If you have a reliable dress or a trusty pair of jeans, be confident to wear them time and again. You’ll look and feel incredible.