Ed Winters, AKA Earthling Ed, has debuted his latest activist-led endeavour: I.D.E.A. Studios, an ethical clothing line. Collections include understated wearables with vegan messaging included. Winters has moved into the fashion industry in a bid to spread the vegan message as far as possible and via multiple mediums.
The name is an acronym for ‘I Don’t Eat Animals’, a statement that underpins all of Winter’s professional and personal activities. Alongside animal rights, planetary sustainability is a driving motivation behind the new brand. Garments are ethically manufactured in Canada, using organic cotton and material made from recycled plastic bottles. All inks and finishing processes are animal-free.
Sustainability throughout the supply chain
In line with a growing demand to see fashion brands holding not only themselves but their supply chains accountable, I.D.E.A. Studios only works with ethically aligned partners. Manufacturers are selected in accordance with strict ethical parameters that include undertaking regular audits to guarantee safe working conditions.
The brand cites eradicating the exploitation of humans and animals from the commercial sector as an ongoing campaign. It has chosen to use streetwear as its podium.
“We are driven to explore how fashion staples can be used to bring awareness and improve the lives of animals,” the company states. “Our slogans have been created to authentically connect with our customers as well as with those who aren’t-yet-vegan, all with the aim to inspire positive change.”
An alternative to fast fashion
Manufactured from sustainable materials and by consenting, compensated adults, the I.D.E.A. Studios line is expected to be a far cry from existing fashion brands. Modern-day slavery is one of the most troubling aspects of the fashion industry. Human exploitation can take multiple forms in the lifespan of one single garment.
Cotton harvesting, yarn spinning, sewing and modelling garments leave the door open for slavery practices, with participants being under-compensated and put in harm’s way. Slavery within fashion is connected to non-transparent supply chains, which is why steps are gradually being in put in place to prevent cloak-and-dagger operations.
New York’s Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act is a prominent example of legislation stepping up to hold brands accountable. It requires any fashion company creating $100 million or more in revenue each year, while actively operating with New York, to make a minimum of 50 percent of their supply chains entirely transparent. Unsustainable practices, including climate-change contributions and human slavery, will need to be addressed and countered.
Earthling Ed as a vegan entrepreneur
I.D.E.A. Studios is not Winter’s first foray into the business world, though it is a break from his usual food-focussed enterprises.
“I am so happy to finally be able to show you what it is I’ve been working on, it’s definitely a little different to what I’m used to but I’ve loved the process of designing these clothes so much,” Winters revealed across his social media channels. “I really hope that you love them and feel proud wearing ethical streetwear emblazoned with strong messaging.”
Earlier this year he released This Is Vegan Propaganda, a now bestselling book designed to act as a comprehensive guide to veganism. Prior to turning author, he was regarded as an expert speaker on the subject of veganism, appearing on national television to debunk myths.
Arguably, Winter’s biggest commercial successes have been his restaurants, including the co-founded Unity Diner, London’s largest vegan eatery. He has also opened a fish and chip shop in Brighton called the No Catch Co.
Sustainable and vegan fashion trends
Numerous fashion brands are looking to align with sustainability or veganism as a selling point but few are combining the two. Last year it was revealed that Veshin, a fashion manufacturer in Guangzhou, China, was setting up to “rewrite the rules” of fashion supply. The company is starting by converting a factory that had traditionally manufactured high-end leather goods into a fully vegan enterprise.
All photos by I.D.E.A. Studios.