We sent our intrepid friend and soaker-in of all things sustainability, Gemma Metheringham, to an evening of talks to report back on what she found. Here follows her personal dispatch:

" I was intrigued by the line up of brands featured in the the press day sponsored by The Mills Fabrica and Tencel Luxe last night. So many different aesthetic visions and business propositions. From conceptual performative haute couture by Johannes Warnke to seasonless linen shirts by Flax juxtaposed against seductive ethical gemstones at the Rock Hound and the heritage craftsmanship of Litkovskaya.

What united them was their absolute passion for doing things differently. Their drive for building businesses with purpose at their heart and for designing in sustainability at every step. As Josh from Luxe Hero explained they’ve built their brand incorporating an end of life strategy into the initial creative processes. Sugar cane jewellery can be returned and recycled, unsold inventory can be upcycled with cutting edge print techniques and utilising on demand manufacturing minimises excess production. They really are working towards zero waste.

At Flax they are so passionate about using no plastic that they drive to the factory to collect their orders in person so no packaging is needed for transportation. Talk about going the extra mile! They also offer lifetime repairs for their garments and being almost four years old they’re starting to get the first pieces back. In line with their hands on personal approach, someone in the design studio practices her sashiko stitching on your jacket in the evening while watching tv.

Each of the brands was founded out of a desire to create a new future for fashion that challenges throwaway values. From the quiet composure of Bav Tailors “respectful fashion” to the fact that your Litkovskaya jacket will come with a passport telling you how many hours it took to make, these designers want to create pieces you’re going to treasure and keep forever.

They consistently talked about valuing craftsmanship elegantly summed up by Osman Yousefzada as “artisanal sovereignty”. There was a passion for sharing traditional cultures globally and sustainably. I fell in love with a Litkovskaya jacket made from left over fabric and old clothes shredded and re woven in Ukrainian villages on 100 year old looms. Each jacket is unique and if they could talk what stories would they tell?

As Nikita, GM of the Mills Fabrica UK, said - stopping global warming will take creativity and innovation. Their vision is to provide the space and investment to nurture start ups, encourage collaboration and demonstrate what’s possible in an inspiring space.

At the end of each talk the participants were given a magic wand and asked what they’d wish for. What shone out was that we’re all in it together, they’re committed to respecting and being responsible for all stages of production in a collaborative way. Cheekily Josh did also wish we’d vote with our pockets and support independent brands doing things differently - I’m in!"