Raintower clothing is ethical, handmade and unique. Each design is limited edition, sometimes one of a kind, envisioned by artist Naomi Nowak and expertly constructed with the help of her valued friend and seamstress / sustainability expert, Karin Öst.
What sets Raintower so completely apart in the world of ethical fashion is the fact that we use 100% recycled textile. Each and every Raintower garment is made from high quality cotton, fleece and viscose sourced from second hand shops and textile sorting plants in Sweden and Europe. We use these fabrics almost exclusively for their softness and suitability to a wide range of products that are comfortable, flattering and feel good on your body.
Using reclaimed textiles is not only an ecological benefit but a good choice for your health as well. Newly manufactured textile is heavily processed with toxic chemicals and it takes many washes to get them out. Ever seen a new garment with a ‘wash before use’ sticker? It’s because the chemicals are so bad they can irritate your skin, and there is as yet very little research about the long term effects of this exposure.
All Raintower textiles are clean when we buy them. But we go further and launder our completed garments using completely natural and biodegradable Sapindus nuts (also known as soap berries) to further remove the last of the chemical detergents.
Not only are we the only fashion house we know of that’s 100% recycled, but our production outfit is very small (just one designer and one seamstress!). There is no industrial-scale supply chain and no oppressive demand on dwindling resources; we source it, make it and ship it straight to you.
Because of this we can maintain high ethical standards that bigger companies disregard as ‘inefficient’ for their scale and output. Our methods are slower, the financial outlay is higher – at this time we can only produce what two women are capable of, but we think these are small costs to pay for the infinitely larger rewards of conscious consumerism. Getting new clothes is fun and life-affirming; this shouldn't have to come with the uneasy feeling of supporting unethical manufacture!
We also offer alterations, repairs and exchanges because we want your garment to last - something designed to have a long life is an additional way of providing an ethical product and working in the spirit of grandmothers.
What about organic cotton, recycled fibre and recycled textile? Organic cotton is grown using kinder methods and less chemicals than its industrial counterpart so it is on the surface a better choice. But it's still a strain on the earth and takes up land that could be used to grow food or preserve our vital oxygen breathing forests. Why make new product when there is so much great textile already in existence and ultimately headed for landfill?
Recycling textile fibre is an attempt to answer that; a method which involves shredding and re-using old garments weaving the fibres into fabric. The industry term for the fabrics used in this manner is ‘post-consumer textiles’- second-hand clothing processed by thrift stores and donation charities and then sold by the tonne to recycling plants.
But in a world of fast fashion where millions of tonnes of clothes are thrown out every year, there’s just too much for this system to manage, and not all textiles are suited for the process. In addition, textile created this way only has a small (up to but usually less than 40%) percentage of recycled textile, mixed with new fibres to retain durability. It also takes a lot of energy and is far from a perfected method.
The two options described above are both preferable to the way the vast majority of garments are manufactured today - that is industrially grown and dyed cotton, causing ecological devastation. But despite the eco credentials, the absolute bulk of garments produced to this standard are still sewn in sweatshops located in developing nations, where human beings (sometimes children) are grossly underpaid, housed in dangerous conditions and made sick by long working hours and exposure to fibre dust and chemicals. We’re happy to say Karin and Naomi suffer no such problems!
Raintower has chosen the third option, using recycled textile exclusively. To us this is a simple equation - truly ethical product produced with truly ethical methods - our mantra and our promise. The fast fashion and textile industries are huge and enourmously harmful - our brief description above only scratches the surface in describing this. For recommended further reading about fast fashion and its impact on our planet, please see fashionrevolution.org, an excellent collection of information, initiatives and ways to get involved.
Thankyou for reading.