Doing the right thing. 100% water based inks and everything printed by hand. We think we’re the most environmentally friendly screen printer in the UK.
We were the first screen printers in the UK to use 100% solvent-free water-based inks for paper and garment printing. We provide free support to print studios around the world to help them make the switch too. Water based inks do not contain PVC or phthalates and are much more environmentally friendly than the plastisol inks or discharge printing that most screen printers use. The Permaset Aqua inks that we use do not contain any toxic chemicals at all and passed the Oekotex class 1 standard with 60% to spare. Many of the ink colours have now been certified as organic by the Soil Association. Using waterbased inks also means that we don’t have to use harmful solvents to wash our screens down – we can just use water. No solvent fumes means that our studio is a much nicer place to be and our water waste is so much cleaner too.
We charge proportionately less for organic cotton and bamboo T-shirts to encourage our customers to go organic, our standard paper stocks are 100% recycled and our packaging is all re-used and/or made of recycled card.
I Dress Myself is a responsible business. We recognise that our operations have an impact on the environment and are committed to reducing this. Our approach has helped improve our efficiency, the quality of our service, and our relationship with clients.
We were joint winners of the BEST/Experian East Midlands Green Innovation award, and were also nominated for the Special Award for Innovation in the 2007 Nottingham Creative Business Awards for our work towards reducing our environmental impact.
You can read more about our commitment to the environment below; (click the orange button to view our Environmental Policy).
Why use organic cotton?
The World Health Organisation estimates that 20,000 people in the developing world die every year because of pesticide poisoning, much of which is used on cotton crops. Pesticide poisoning is also thought to cause 3 million chronic health problems every year. Pesticides reduce soil fertility so that more and more chemicals are required to encourage crop growth, sinking farmers into more and more debt. Every year 200,000 farmers commit suicide because of their spiraling debt problems. Pesticide use is a dirty business.
All organic cotton is imported as it cannot grow in the UK. To sell an organic cotton garment in the UK, the cotton must meet the Organic Certification standards of the country it was grown in as well as the relevant EU regulations. Generally the land the cotton was grown on must have been free of pesticides for three years.
The Global Organic Textile Standard also enables the labeling of cotton fibre from the organic conversion period, for example ‘100% organic cotton – in conversion’. Cotton in conversion is grown on land which has only recently been converted to organic methods (typically less than 2 or 3 years). Therefore, although no chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are being used, residues may still be found in the soil. This conversion period is very difficult for farmers, who usually experience an initial drop in yield, while not being able to obtain premium organic price for their crops. Therefore, purchasing organic cotton – in conversion is a great way to support farmers making the difficult transition to organic.
We only source products from companies with robust ethical standards. Most of our paper is sourced from Arboreta Papers, who are based nearby in Bristol. (Almost) their entire range of quality papers are 100% recycled and they are happy to tell you about the mill that the paper is made in and how it’s transported.
We source the majority of our garments from UK-based Continental Clothing who developed the impressive EarthPositve range of clothing, which is low carbon, organic cotton, modern and good quality – a combination that’s hard to find! They are members of the Fair Wear Foundation.
Ethical Trading works both ways – we like to work with people that share our values and there are some businesses that we have refused to work with as we don’t want to support their unethical practices.
We have chosen to bank with the Co-operative Bank so that our values extend to our finances, ensuring that our money does not fund state organisations in countries where there is a high degree of concern about a lack of human rights, or businesses with unethical practises such as tobacco manufacturers or arms dealers.
Social Responsibility and Community Involvement
We aim to showcase the work of emerging and established artists alike, encourage the submission of ideas and designs and inspire people from around the world to get involved. We offer a limited number of work experience placements here, if you are interested please e-mail us your CV.