In the second of our interview series we speak with Sam Binstead an inquisitive, sustainable fashion guru with a penchant for repairing his well worn garments.
What got you interested in menswear?
In my early 20s I made the shift from my career as a sound engineer into hospitality, following a burgeoning love for coffee, food and wine. I’d find myself constantly asking about where produce was from, how it was grown, why it tasted better, why it was worth more... and it wasn’t long until I started to ask the same questions about the clothes I was putting on my back. Why have two average bottles of wine without any second thought when I could have one that made me sit up and think? Why have two shirts that are okay when I could have one with a story, traceable back to the factory and the mill. And thus I fell into the circle of ‘less but better’!
Tell us a bit about your youtube channel? What can we look forward to with it?
The start of my YouTube channel was the culmination of a few factors. I’ve enjoyed quality clothing throughout my 20s, but more recently become completely disillusioned, frustrated and frankly horrified with the state of the fast fashion industry. And it’s not just the big high street names, it’s the premium brands that move in well respected menswear circles hiding under their parent company. Mix these thoughts with a creative rut, a fancy to try something new and a lot more time at home and I decided to give this YouTube thing a go! My channel is still in its early stages, and I feel I’m slowly finding my voice, but it’s already become a really enjoyable creative outlet for me, as well as helping me to consider my own thoughts and ideas in much deeper detail, helping me to live the intentional life I like to waffle on about.
I’m looking forward to delving deeper into my efforts for a sustainable lifestyle, predominantly focussed on style and menswear but also branching out into organic food, natural wine and wider aspects of slow living.
With fashion now being an essential part of how many express themselves, how do you think the industry should approach sustainability?
The industry needs to sort a lot out, and peddling less trends or ‘fashions’ would be a great start. If brands could focus on 2 or 4 seasons a year, instead of 52 micro seasons with constant new items then pre-consumer waste could be drastically reduced. The sad fact is that the business model of huge fast fashion brands is inherently unsustainable. They need to exploit unregulated, dangerous working conditions and produce as much as possible for as cheap as possible to make consumers feel like they need to keep up with new things, and also make ‘new’ constantly affordable. I’d love to see the attitudes change from the top, as well as the image that ‘green’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ clothing is only for people in flowy dresses prancing around beaches in slow motion. It should be the bare minimum requirement for the production and consumption of clothing and should be a part of every style, fashion, look, and subculture. It’s everyone’s planet.
As well as pre-consumer waste, brands need to start thinking about post-consumer waste. What happens to that garment at the end of its natural life cycle? Is it easily recyclable? Is it biodegradeable? Is it repairable? Is it worth repairing? There’s some incredible smaller brands who have repair services built into their business models now and I love to see it.
As consumers, we need to reassess our value of clothing. So many clothes sit completely unworn in wardrobes, or not worn enough, or tossed to landfill when they’re no longer wanted. I’d love to see repairing more normalised, and the skill and time required for garment manufacturing to be more visible, and more valued.
What trends do you think we'll see in 2021 with lockdowns slowly lifting etc? Do you see sustainability being part of that?
I really hope that people don’t just flock back to big chain, fast fashion brands for a quick shopping fix. Through all of the lockdowns we’ve seen amazing awareness and support grow around smaller, independent makers and and I’d love for that to continue.
Awareness around sustainability in fashion is growing, and with it grows the amount of money huge brands are willing to plough into greenwashing. It’s conflicting though, on the one hand a huge brand supporting an experimental eco-fabric raises awareness and helps to normalise it in the mainstream, but it counts for nothing if the rest of their product line relies on the same virgin synthetic fibres and rampant consumption of the planets resources... I think the biggest trend I’d love to see is less trends.
What three pieces from the Coalo catalog do you like the most?
I love the Rozenbroek boxers!! I’ve been slowly replacing older underwear with Rozenbroek for a while now and they’re the most comfortable, well fitting and well made I've tried in my years. Also as a Yorkshireman keeping production close to home, in a solar powered factory to boot, is a big win.
The Elliot canvas high tops look great. The natural colours and timeless styling means they’ll go with so many outfits, and the attention to materials is spot on.
The Carpasus casual shirt is getting so much right. Not only style wise, but to see where the organic cotton is grown and spun in the listing is EXACTLY what I want to see. That little nugget gives me so much confidence in the transparency of a brand, and helps to raise awareness of just how global textile and garment production is, and how much unsustainable brands will try to hide form you.
Interested in finding out some more about Sam, check out his Youtube channel