Stratis Andreadis, the founder of Salty Bag, opens his own magic cabinet and shares his thoughts on sustainability in fashion.
Sustainability in fashion
Sustainability in fashion means being responsible. Respecting the craft of your chosen field, the environment, your colleagues and society as a whole. It is a worldview, a holistic way to measure how what you do affects society and the environment.
The unbridled mass production of clothes is harmful for the environment. The constant changes in trends affect the environment in every part of the production process (production, transport, use, recycling). In 2016 80.000.000.000 items were bought. Are we really missing out if we do not produce another 80.000.000.000 clothes, bags, shoes, belts, earrings, scarves, socks, skirts, swimming costumes, towels, tights, hair bands, jackets, arm bands, boots, phone cases, jumpers, sunglasses, blouses, shirts, watches, tracksuits, sneakers, suits, sandals, ties, cufflinks and bow ties?
The fashion industry is a serious polluter, disproportionately so. Anna Wintour, the editor of American Vogue, said something very interesting during a recent talk in Athens. She reminded us that fashion started out as a pursuit of beauty, creativity, innovative construction and hand craft. It is an art form that offers us an alternative way to look at the world, creating beautiful items we should always have. There is a huge cleavage between this art form and the annual production of 80.000.000.000 items. This rift is filled by multinational corporations that buy up small, creative fashion houses and transform them from creativity hubs to tools that inflate their quarterly statements. The human need to create something beautiful or to wear something that makes us feel better is not at fault here, but a focus on greed definitely is. The art and the craft has been taken out of fashion swifting it into a harmful, ephemeral and shallow practice.
Fashion is an art form that offers us an alternative way to look at the world, creating beautiful items we should always have.
According to EU legislation, polluters have to pay. What remains is definitively to label the fashion industry as a polluter. This small change could alter how we make and distribute products. When cotton buyers or farmers don’t have to pay for destroying the earth used for industrial cotton production – for example, a field, after being used for cotton farming, cannot be reused for another five years – then there is no incentive for halting production of cheap or toxic goods. When there is no cost for mass deforestation of ancient woods in order to produce half a season of rayon outfits, then these practices will continue.
Polluters have to pay for their choices and those who pollute less, there is no such thing as a company that doesn’t affect the environment, should pay less. At Salty Bag, every time we create something new, we try and limit how we negatively affect the environment. This is not just the right thing to do but also our only choice, we will soon have to face up to what we have been doing to our environment.
Brands have to be profitable, but profit should not just be measured in monetary terms. This is antiquated way of looking at profit, better left in the twentieth century. At Salty Bag limiting our carbon footprint and having better working conditions for our employees is also part of what we recognise as profit.
Brands have to be profitable, but profit should not just be measured in monetary terms.
As far as new fashion brands are concerned, I feel there are two types of companies that will survive the next five years. Companies who lie or have large carbon footprints and responsible, sustainable ones. Long term, companies won’t be able to hide their environmental policies and those that survive will be the ones who are actively making changes.
Consumers have responsibilities too. If, and that is a big if, we have to consume, let’s do less of it. We need to change to the type of consumer that feels it is our duty to buy things we intend to have for a long time.
Stratis Andreadis magic cabinet
My most treasured belongings are:
Cufflinks made from one cent coins from the United States of the Ionian Islands, when it was a United Kingdom protectorate (1815-1864). They remind me that there was once a small state, very different to the one we have today, and that history is so much richer and more complex than we could ever imagine.
My caique, built in Spetses by Mastro-Dinos Korakis. It is thanks to this boat that I came to know the sea around my homeland and that I got to know craftsmen like Nikos Daroukakis, that helped me really understand what sailing around the Aegean, in a traditional fashion, really means.
An old edition of “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius and a newly bound print of the collected works of W.H. Auden, two truly wonderful books.
Asafo flags. The Fante tribe in Ghana visualise their sayings and create beautiful flags that really demonstrate the power of visual language.
The glasses Micromega made for me, a small opticians’ that I later found out is also loved by Elton John and Norman Foster.
A small part of the Australia II sail, that managed the biggest upset in the history of sports, when in 1983 an Australian sailing team broke a 153-year-old winning streak held by the United States at the America’s Cup.
Oscar Udeshi suit jackets. A truly perceptive craftsman who I met while out with my favourite cousin and who then went on to teach me the art of sewing.
Apart from all my favourite things, I also have a favourite island, Corfu.
My favourite place on the island is Mon Repos park. In this small public space, you can discover Corfian nature, a beautiful 19th century summer palace, a theatre, a beach with a wonderful dock, ancient ruins and a spring with magical qualities.
Stratis Andreadis was born in Athens and studied Philosophy at Northeastern University and Clark University in Massachusetts. In 2013 he started a new trend in sustainable fashion in Greece with Salty Bag which specializes in upcycling sales and turning them into unique bags and accessories, while in 2018 he created Punctilious Vexillological Ventures, which specializes in designing flags. Co-founder and organizing committee member of Spetses Classic Yacht Race, he has participated in many competitive sailing races. Stratis volunteers to the Capodistrias Museum and the Spetses Mini Marathon Organisation and he is a member of the World Sailing Sustainability Commission.