Serious about Sustainability: A Q&A with Dinie van den Heuvel

At Infantium Victoria, our motto is: green is the new black. To better explain how we weave ethical and sustainable choices into every aspect of the business, our Communications Director sat down to interview Infantium Victoria Creative Director Dinie van den Heuvel (pictured above, left with Infantium co-founder Julia Gaydina) about what makes us a leader in sustainable, luxury children’s fashion.

CD: What factors strike at the heart of Infantium Victoria’s sustainability profile?

Dinie: I think there are four primary areas that a fashion business needs to tackle for maximum sustainable impact.

  1. Water, energy and waste management. Is there a plan to clean, recycle and use renewable sources? Can you tap into wind or solar power to meet your energy needs on site?
  1. No environmental strategy is complete without a social contract for your partners and employees. Do the production factories employ people with legally binding contracts? Do they pay fair wages and ensure good working conditions? When you work with GOTS certified partners like we do, we know the answer to all these questions is ‘YES’!
  1. I would say transport control is a factor. Is it possible to produce locally? Can you procure trimmings, buttons, threads, lace in your immediate vicinity? Infantium has local and regional relationships with several artisans for this purpose.
  1. Finally, and this is perhaps most obvious, but we always choose the cleanest raw materials. As a vegan company, we stay away from wool and leather. Organic cotton is king at Infantium Victoria.

CD: What are the most important organizations certifying sustainability indeces?

Dinie: The top ones, and ones which Infantium Victoria complies with, are Fair Trade, GOTS, Fair Wear, and PETA.

CD: What does it mean to be a vegan fashion brand?

Dinie: The implications of veganism are huge. Our entire design and creative process is thoroughly integrated. The design elements we choose are constrained with what we are able to procure and then we work with only the materials that fit our scope. The reason why Infantium stays far away from polyester, viscose, bamboo, nylon, and synthetics of all kinds is that those fabrics are dependent on fossil fuels or heavy chemical processes to create the textile.

We never use animal products in the dying or finishing process, or as a raw material—no horn, wool, silk, leather. This could interpreted as a design limitation, but we believe constraint encourages creativity and this shows in our unique collections.

CD: Are there any new textiles on the horizon that would make the Infantium Victoria cut for sustainability?

Dinie: Oh absolutely. We can’t wait for all kinds of new fabrics to be brought to market. There is fruit leather, orange fiber from Italy, textiel made from leftover tofu liquid, and mycotex which is made from mushrooms. On the market now are textiles made from lotus, organic linen, hemp, cotton, cork, and pinatex, which is made from pineapple leaves.

 CD: If your readers want to learn more about sustainability in fashion, what resources are out there?

 Dinie: Yes, definitely! You can find more information and stay up to date on industry news over at the Danish Fashion Institute, Close the Loop, and The Source.

 

 

 

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