At Alchemist our mission is to combine luxury fashion with an honest lifestyle. Every year, we carefully create two collections. These collections are assembled from designs that are easily mixed and matched with our earlier collections. Our quality standards for our materials and production are high. When the first samples arrive at our office, we thoroughly inspect them to ensure quality and fit. This way we make sure that our clothing is not just beautiful, but also durable. That, we also call sustainability.
We believe that clothing should be produced in an honest way. This means that the production should be ethical and sustainable from start to finish, giving attention to social-ethical and sustainable production processes and transparency about our methods. We find it important that everyone who contributes to our collections should be able to work in a safe environment and for fair wages.
All suppliers we currently work with have at least one social certificate and are under the yearly audit of several NGO’s, like BSCI, FWF, SA8000, GOTS and Smeta. In 2016 we signed the IMVO Agreement for Sustainable Clothing and Textiles. With this, we are committed to fight discrimination, child labor and forced labor.
These nine criteria from the agreement are a hard requirement for the production of our collections:
No use of child labor
No use of forced labor
Safe and healthy working conditions
Legal employment contracts
Fair living wages
Freedom of association
The right of collective negotiations
No discrimination of employees
No excessive working hours
Since June 2019 we’re registered with Open Apparel Registry, which is an open source database of textile producers, where we show which factories we work with. This creates opportunities for companies and labels to join forces. You, as a consumer, can see exactly where your products a being manufactured. Our next step is signing the Clean Clothes Transparency Pledge on the 12th of November 2019. After signing this we are committing ourselves to updating public information about our factories and suppliers every 6 months.
Alchemist undergoes a thorough mandatory audit by the SER every year. This is a robust covenant containing legally binding agreements between companies, governments, trade unions and other stakeholders. This also means we allow two independent parties to look over our shoulder, and make sure we do what we say we do. Read all about the five-year plan of this agreement and our Plan of Action.
Their analysis also helps us to identify where we can further improve our sustainability performance. This allows us to show even better what we do and why we do it.
At least once a year we visit our factories to monitor the working conditions on site and to reach agreements. Since 2015, we have an employee that focuses completely on reaching our stated goals, and helps Alchemist to further improve its sustainability performance.
Because only a maximum of 20% of our collection is produced outside of Europe, we’re no longer affiliated with the Fair Wear Foundation. We still use their methods, like their code of conduct.
Reducing CO2 emissions
For a couple of years, we have aimed to reduce our CO2 emissions by moving most of our production to Europe. At the moment, about 80% of our collections are made in Portugal. With this, transportation has reduced tremendously. The only airfreight we now use is from Delhi.
Moreover, we combine freight shipments of various different suppliers, so we can fill up just one truck and avoid multiple smaller shipments. We work together with production studios, laundries and dye works that are located close to one another in order to reduce local transportation as well. When we have to send something to different factories, we send it to one address. The factories will then deliver it to the right address close to them.
We receive a lot of our materials from Lenzing, an Austrian textile supplier who, among other things, creates Lyocell, Modal and EcoVero. Lenzing generates 80% of their own energy, locally and sustainably. At this point, about 13% of our collection is made from by Lenzing produced materials. In our annual social report 2018 and our blog Our Materials, you can see what percentage of our collection is made from which sustainable materials.
More than just clothing.
Next to sustainably producing clothing, we try to practice sustainability in different ways.
The packages in which we send clothing to our stores and customers are biodegradable, and we stock our stores with organic cotton tote bags to give to their clients.
We minimize using print advertisements and magazines and focus on our online presence. If we do choose to use paper we use sustainably sourced paper with an FSC label.
Our showroom and office only use Led lights.
We do all our photoshoots at home, in the Netherlands, with models located in the Netherlands, so that no one has to fly to get to the photoshoot location.
Once the clothing is in your closet, it’s up to you to maintain the quality of the product. That’s why we’ve created a page with important care instructions for all garments.