Right team, here we all are.
We all know that the way the fashion industry works needs to change. But let’s face it, it’s much bigger than that. We need to relook at the way that our entire society works. A realignment of society’s priorities will mean a realignment of the fashion industry. What a huge and exciting proposition! So how on earth do we get there?
As a leader of a (smallish) company this question sits with me every single day. In addition, how do we maintain a functioning business right now, within the current paradigms, AND create a societal shift? It is at this point that I teeter on being overwhelmed.
However! We’ve all sat in an HR workshop so we know about SMART goals right? The crucial point is that we identify key areas where we think we can be most useful in contributing to positive change and then laser-focus on measurable actions to advance them.
So, what are our goal areas?
- Shift from a linear to a circular company
- Build skills in our local manufacturing industry
- Play our part in meeting Paris Agreement carbon emission targets
- Manufacture our product responsibly
We had starry-eyed dreams of publishing a nice-looking report (it’s in our blood – we want things to look nice!) but, to be honest, right now our time is best spent just getting on with it.
Directly below I have set out some real, measurable actions that service our four goal areas. After that, (and I apologise) there is a deluge of information. Very much not snack-able! It does however show you the volume of work our team puts in to improve the way we do business.
A note on sustainability:
Sustainability has taken on so many meanings, and has been used in both honest and dishonest ways, that at times it can feel meaningless and at others it can feel oppressive.
Practically, for us at RUBY, sustainability is about continuous, long term improvements for the people and places that we directly and indirectly interact with. Yes, it is things like using recycled polyester rather than virgin. But it also means that we contribute to a sense of worth for some people in our community by offering training. Or ensuring that our garments are built to last, and giving you guidance on how to care for them.
As always, I am grateful for your questions and suggestions. We know we can always do better.
RUBY General Manager
Servicing Goals 1 & 2: RUBY Academy Apprenticeship Workshops
It has been widely discussed the need to increase local manufacturing in a post-COVID world, and how businesses will need to look at ways we can add value in New Zealand.
As a brand that manufactures most of our collections in New Zealand, we are SO on board with this! We know that we can play a part in the rebuild, and this is our first step.
The Obstacle Is The Way:
- Economic forecasts predict a large increase in the number of people who are either unemployed or under-employed
- Lack of new, skilled machinists, patternmakers and cutters (and many current ones nearing retirement age)
- Wastage in the production process with offcuts and flawed fabric
- Apprentices need hands-on practise with materials, and factories cannot risk giving a customers’ production run to someone who is learning
The RUBY Academy Apprenticeship scheme invites budding machinists, cutters and patternmakers to develop skills in our workshop. Our Patternmaker, Sample Machinist and Creative Director will be there to give guidance to apprentices.
The materials used in the learning process will come from RUBY’s production waste streams.
Garments will then be sold through RUBY Recycle, with RUBY and the apprentice each taking a half share of the sale price. We will publish the real costs of running this workshop – the goal is for it to cover the costs so that we can invest in the next workshop.
The RUBY Academy has been an internal training programme for a couple of years but now’s the time to open it up to our wider community. The first Apprentice Workshop is scheduled for a Thursday-Sunday once we reach Level One. Applications are now open to participate so please email [email protected].
Cutter/Machinist: Can use available RUBY patterns to cut RUBY waste stream fabric and sew into garments.
Patternmaker/Cutter/Machinist: Develop their own patterns, use RUBY waste stream fabric to cut and sew into garments.
Patternmaker/Cutter & Machinist Duo: Will appeal to those who work in a partnership or who are strong in one skill and not the other. Patternmaker/Cutter develops their own pattern and cuts out of RUBY waste stream fabric. Machinist sews cut pieces.
Keen to apply? Select the apprentice category that best suits your skills, send us 4-6 images of your work (relevant to that category) along with a brief message telling us a bit about yourself.
Applicants must be of intermediate skill level in their chosen category and be able to come to our Auckland workshop. Applications close Friday 29th May 2020.
Servicing Goal 3: April 2021 Carbon Emissions = April 2020 Carbon Emissions
While on lockdown our carbon emissions drastically reduced. We started a carbon emission measurement project in January of this year so we have a good process to capture our data, and what better target to set than making our net emissions that of when we were in lockdown?
It’s a big goal, but some changes are relatively simple: more WFH days, producing less, switching to hybrids. There is a bigger behavioural shift that needs to occur, we just need to better understand which changes are going to be the most effective, and in what order.
Servicing Goals 2 & 4: Continue to build MFNZ for the good of the industry
In May 2019 we co-founded Mindful Fashion New Zealand alongside Kate Sylvester, and I sit on the board. We know that by working collaboratively on meaningful projects we can make greater positive change than if we are to work on our own. Last year our biggest achievements were to create a universal Partnership Agreement (similar to a Code of Conduct but more collaborative with suppliers rather than punitive) and running local production workshops with members’ production teams (yes that’s right, a whole lot of different fashion design companies working together! Pretty cool!)
MFNZ now has 23 members and is working in partnership with a further 70 local manufacturing companies. We’re currently working on our 2020-21 strategy and more information about this will be shared here.
Servicing Goal 4: Fabric and Garment Manufacturing Categorisation
As well as you knowing that holistically RUBY is contributing to positive change, we want to show you more detail about each garment you purchase. We will complete a categorisation system for garments and fabrics – for example classifying by how far back the fibre can be traced and what impacts the production of a fabric has had (or what impacts have been minimised by choosing one fabric over another). We will publish this for every garment as well as publish a table of our overall results.
Administratively this is a huge project, but we believe it is an important one. Not only does it give you more information when you are making a purchase decision about a specific item, it also creates accountability day-to-day within our team when we are working on our collections. Our goal is to have this up and running by the end of 2020.
In addition, we are grappling with how to usefully and safely audit our factories in a post-COVID world. We will update you on our plan in June 2020.
RUBY is excited to be a founding partner of New Zealand industry collective, Mindful Fashion New Zealand. The collective was dreamt up in October 2018 and launched in March 2019 to create real change in local and international supply chain traceability through the power of the group.
MFNZ aims to strengthen the local fashion and textile industry by promoting long term sustainable growth through responsible business practice and industry investment.
Membership is open to all members of New Zealand’s fashion and textile community whose values and actions align with the Mindful Fashion mission.
Mindful Fashion unites the New Zealand fashion industry, working to develop an industry specific programme to ensure responsible business practice with a strong, credible framework at a global level. Mindful Fashion supports every designer in their individual sustainability endeavours and recognises that by working together, the industry can pool talent and utilise collective resources to ensure the fastest pathway to successful sustainability outcomes that benefit the wider community.
As Mindful Fashion we are incomparably stronger as a united and collective voice to articulate our sustainability vision for the New Zealand Fashion industry and create positive change.
Since launching in 2019, MFNZ has successfully done the following:
- Appointed Board members
- Received Incorporated Society status
- Created the Mindful Fashion New Zealand Partnership Agreement that all members must sign and have begun engaging with CMTs
- Run local production workshops for designers
- Run workshop sessions for local CMTs
- Advocated for the industry to the government and its agencies
We are constantly reviewing our production processes, from the fibres and materials we use, to where we produce & who we work with
We’re committed to building a more responsible production cycle, which includes the materials we use in seasonal collections. This can sometimes be a challenge due to the fact that we often source stock fabric from local supply agents, making traceability tricky.
Our design team now use Global Recycle Standard-certified recycled polyester in an effort to divert more plastic bottles from landfill. Triacetate & Acetate, two of our favourite fabrics (and yours!) to use in collections, have now both been 100% traced back to a responsible source, and in light of this RUBY has ordered 6400 metres of these fabrics for use in collections between August 2019 and July 2020. The fabric is used to make pieces like our Firebird Pant, Weirder Slip and Nirvana Skirt.
Last year we set out to ensure 70% of the silk fabric we use in our collections can be traced back to source by February 2020 and we have exceeded this goal! 90% of the silk we use can now be traced back to source.
We are also currently working towards ensuring 100% of the linen we use in our collections can be traced back to a responsible source. Currently, 30% of the linen fabric we use can be traced back to source.
We are continuing to use more fabrics made from sustainable fibres in our collections such as organic cotton, linen & hemp and cupro; recycled cotton, polyester and nylon; specialty materials like ECONYL®, Lenzing TENCEL, LENZING™ ECOVERO™ and Monocel. Currently, 8% of our collections are made from fabrics using sustainable fibres.
Locally, fabric offcuts are donated to schools or used as part of our apprenticeship programme. We also do not permit the use of angora fur in any circumstance, due to the cruel way that it’s obtained from the angora rabbit. Read more here.
It’s RUBY’s responsibility to know that everyone who works on a RUBY product, does so in a safe, fair and non-discriminatory workplace. We provide this for our employees and we also require this of our suppliers.
Our business plays an important role in ensuring the men and women who work on our garments are treated fairly and carry out their role in respectful working conditions. RUBY employees must ensure that all new suppliers sign the Mindful Fashion New Zealand Partnership Agreement that covers the following:
- Child labour shall not be used. RUBY does not accept the economic exploitation of children
- Employment is freely chosen and not forced
- No discrimination is practiced
- No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
- Working conditions are safe & hygienic
- Working hours are not excessive
- Wages are paid on time & in full
- Regular employment is provided
- Safe disposal of water and dyes
Currently, 60% of all RUBY’s CMT (Cut-Make-Trim) work is completed in Auckland, New Zealand. The remaining 40% is completed in China.
While we love and will continue to support local makers, producing on home turf comes with a unique set of challenges. One is the degree of difficulty in auditing small, local makers. This is where our partnership with Mindful Fashion New Zealand steps in.
Details of the factories that we work with are as follows:
|Years worked together||5||5||3||5||1||0.5||10||10||10||10||2||7||2||2||10||10||10||5|
|Number of staff||781||22||2||191||20||65||2||3||11||10||8||5||18||6||2||16||3||2|
|% of women||69%||59%||50%||86%||25%||30%||50%||33%||73%||90%||88%||60%||83%||50%||0%||94%||67%||0%|
|Youngest team member||16||22||40||20||25||28||65||45||35||40||32||40||35||45||45||35||31||40|
|Area of expertise||Wovens, Knits, Denim, Coats||Wovens, Knits||Knitwear||Coats, Suiting||Knitwear||Knitwear||Grading||Cutting||Wovens||Wovens||Wovens||Knits||Wovens||Wovens||Wovens||Wovens||Pleating||Cutting|
Our design process is completed in house at our RUBY head office in Auckland, where we employ a patternmaker and sample machinist. This allows for flexibility and the ability to produce all collection samples on home turf.
How our fabrics and clothes arrive in New Zealand is important to us. We’re making steps to prioritise sea freight over air, as a more sustainable transport option. Currently, RUBY sea freights 40% of the time, however our goal is to achieve a 70% sea freight rate.
As part of our pledge to a more sustainable RUBY, we’ve turned the spotlight on packaging. There’s an environmental cost to everything that’s accepted into our supply chain, from the smallest care label to wrapping paper and garment bags.
All existing packaging has been scrutinised and better alternatives sourced where possible. Ultimately, we believe that the packaging our customers can reuse many times over is superior to recycling after one use. When we favour packaging that is durable and has prolonged use, we help to lessen the impact of producing the item in the first place.
While home compostable packaging is the best alternative to replace many items that are traditionally made from plastic, in some cases the packaging item we require isn’t commercially viable on a mass scale. When this is the case, we search for the next best option and continue to watch for innovations in the space.
The alternatives below are helping RUBY tread more lightly on the planet.
Accessory Packing Bag
Previously our factory partners shipped handbags and wallets to RUBY in LDPE Plastic bags and a secondary non-woven pouch. Across 2018 and 2019, 20,000 small and 10,000 medium size poly bags were ordered. Now, we request that all accessories are shipped in a singular home compostable bag - it still protects what’s inside and composts in the same time frame as a banana peel. We have ordered 20,000 small, 5,000 medium, and 5,000 large home compostable bags to date!
If you don’t have the means to compost at home, we encourage you to bring your RUBY home compostable packaging back in to your nearest RUBY store and we will do it for you. We compost these items responsibly through We Compost.
All protective packaging for accessories has been, and will continue to be, made from recycled paper.
Click here for factory information and material accreditation.
The old RUBY accessory pouch wasn’t doing the planet any favours. It used standard cotton and plastic-coated drawstring cord with metal ends. Just last year we ordered 22,000 small pouches and 5,000 large pouches. Ouch.
The new pouches are made of GOTS 5.0 certified organic cotton and feature a drawstring cord made from paper pulp. They’re designed to be reused and are great for storing jewellery, carrying toiletries while on holiday or as a dust bag for leather belts and bags. Even better, they'll completely breakdown at the end of their life. Since switching to our new pouches, we have ordered 20,000 small pouches, 5,000 medium pouches and 10,000 large pouches.
Click here for factory information and material accreditation.
RUBY’s new care cards are made from 100% FSC-certified recycled paper. The paper pulp has been recycled from post consumer waste and uses less energy and water during production than virgin paper. Please recycle your care card after purchase.
Click here for factory information and material accreditation.
Silica Gel Packets
Silica gel packets are found inside RUBY wallets, shoes and bags. The small envelopes contain beads of silica gel, which is used to absorb unwanted moisture and combat mould growth.
Don’t throw the packets in the bin when unwrapping your purchase, silica gel packets are very useful. Here’s how to reuse them:
- When storing shoes and bags, pop one into the box or dust bag to ensure any unwanted moisture doesn’t creep in. Do the same with leather jackets, wool coats or other seasonal garments.
- Add to any box or filing system that contains important documents, photos or mementos.
- Slip a packet between the photo and the back of the frame when hanging photographs.
- Store electronics with a silica gel packet inside a sealed container to avoid rust. Do the same with razors and extra razor blades.
- Collecting seeds for a new planting season? Store them with silica gel packets inside a sealed container to keep moisture and mould away from the seeds.
Still need to dispose of the silica packets?
Cut the packet and toss the crystals into your regular rubbish bin. Silica is not toxic or combustible. Then, recycle the empty paper packet with the rest of your recycling.
Clothing Packing Bag
We’ve swapped our old LDPE Plastic clothing packing bags for a commercially compostable alternative. EU-certified BASF supply sheets that look and feel similar to plastic, but are made from compostable materials like corn starch. The sheets are sealed together to form a packing bag that safely transports clothes from a factory like the old plastic bags did, with significantly less environmental impact.
At the end of a bag’s use, RUBY takes responsibility to ensure the bags are commercially composted through We Compost.
Click here for factory information and material accreditation.
Garment bags protect clothes when they are transferred between RUBY’s eight stores nationwide. We currently use LDPE Plastic bags and had plans in December 2019 to trial a reusable recycled nylon alternative bag starting in Christchurch however, the development of this alternative bag was delayed due to COVID-19. We will now be trialling this in 2020 and if successful, we will see the new reusable bag rolled out across all stores, significantly reducing waste.
RUBY and Liam swing tags are made from FSC-certified paper sources. We collect our teams’ swing tags from their RUBY and Liam purchases in order to divert the tags from landfill and reuse for future collections. We put the saved money (a new swing tag costs roughly 50 cents) towards fun activities or meals for our employees throughout the year.
Garment & Care Labels
RUBY garment labels are made from GOTS 5.0 certified-organic cotton. Liam’s garment labels are made using cast off polyester. The polyester is shredded, melted and spun into new recycled threads. This process prevents useful material resources from being wasted, and reduces energy usage in making a new product from scratch. Care labels for both RUBY and Liam are also made from recycled polyester.
Broken plastic hangers are posted back to the manufacturer (Sistema), who grind the hangers down and make them into new products.
In Store Packaging
Wasteful packaging is going out of fashion. While we phase out single use items and embrace more sustainable packaging behind the scenes, RUBY needs the support of our customers to do the same in stores. Please consider if you really need that carry bag or other packaging when shopping with us. And where possible, reuse! Making the right choice should be easy. We’re doing our best not to stand in your way of making more sustainable shopping choices by offering our own alternatives like our Market Bag.
RUBY Courier Bags
We use compostable courier bags for all online orders. Just like a banana peel, our mailer will break down into a soil enhancer within a matter of months when composted (even at home!). We celebrated with a material breakdown test in the worm farm compost bin at Kelmarna Gardens, our favourite community space.
We also use compostable courier labels which we order from The Better Packaging Co.
Customer Carry Bags
RUBY’s paper carry bags are made from sustainable fibres and post-consumer waste. Do your bit to help reduce waste and reuse the bag as much as possible before recycling it responsibly.
For in store customers who decide they don’t need to take their purchase away in a carry bag, good for you! We will happily wrap your purchase in wrapping paper. Need a carry bag? We charge per bag (no more than the exact production cost) and donate 100% of the proceeds to Mental Health Foundation New Zealand. Research shows that charging for carry bags is the best way to encourage change in behaviour. Small RUBY bag$1.11Medium RUBY bag$1.55Accessory pouch$0.61Sale bag$0.92
RUBY x Rethink Market Bag
These beauties are deceptively spacious and functional, perfect for holding all your bits and pieces. We love using them for our weekend produce market visits and brunch dates. Spend $100 and over and receive your own market bag for an additional $6.26 (we donate 100% of the proceeds to Mental Health Foundation New Zealand), or buy one for $13.
Rethink’s founder Lisa Cohen-Smith hopes the bags will encourage other businesses to reconsider their packaging
“We are immensely proud to be working together with RUBY. As passionate environmentalists this collaboration further highlights our message that we should all rethink the choices we make the impact these have on planet earth.”
Tip: The more times our market bag is used, the less overall environmental impact it will have. Think consciously and give your RUBY market bag many more lives.
In Store Stationery
All RUBY’s in store paper stationery is made with FSC certified paper pulp.
Our sticker is FSC-certified, made on acid free paper, uses soy based ink and is fully compostable. We print with No Issue, click for more information.
Gift Wrap & Twine
Previously tissue paper was used to wrap up garments. Now, we’ve shifted to a thicker FSC-certified wrapping paper. It’s made from recycled materials, has lower energy and water use in production than virgin tissue paper, and is more easily reused for gift wrapping or recycled. Giving you the flexibility to use this to protect your pieces from our stores to home, without having to use a bag.
And instead of ribbon, we’ve opted for a natural uncoated jute string for in store wrapping.
Sustainable Clothing Care
Want a wardrobe that’s kind to the planet and lasts the long haul?
One of the best ways to act more sustainably, also happens to be one of the easiest things to do. It’s simple - take care of your clothes.
When we take care of our clothes, we extend their lifespan. Longer active wear time keeps textiles out of landfills and reduces a garment’s overall carbon, waste and water footprint. Even nine extra months of active use can reduce a piece of clothing’s environmental impact by 20-30%.
Below are best practice care tips to help you look after your RUBY clothes. Check the label on a garment to see what it’s made of, then follow our tips in the table.
RUBY Loves Guppyfriend
We recommend that any clothing containing a synthetic textile, such as polyester, should be popped inside a Guppyfriend bag to reduce microplastic shedding. Wondering what a Guppyfriend is? Never heard of microplastic shedding?
A Guppyfriend is a smart, affordable solution to fighting the hidden pollution of microplastics that shed from synthetic textiles during the wash process. Essentially a fancy delicates bag, the Guppyfriend is designed to catch tiny plastic fibres that break off in the wash, and prevent them from entering our oceans and water systems. The washing bag not only reliably retains microfibers, but also protects the clothes: compared to washing without the Guppyfriend, 86% fewer fibers shed from synthetic textiles.
We see the bag as a great interim solution until washing machine technology catches up with in built filters.
You can purchase one online here, or at any RUBY store nationwide.
What Does ‘Natural Regenerated’ Mean?
It means the raw material that forms the fibre of the textile, like viscose or rayon for instance, is natural (from a wood or plant fibre, sometimes a waste product of another production process). It has gone through a manufacturing process where the fibres are treated with chemicals, filtered and spun into thread. A regenerated cellulose fiber has a smooth and lustrous appearance like silk, combined with the water absorption ability of cotton. It’s usually soft, highly drapable and often used to make blouses, shirts or suit linings.
Top Care Tips:
When washing clothing that contains more than one textile - for example a shirt made from 60% cotton, 40% silk - follow the care instructions for the most delicate fibre listed.
Wash less. Some clothing benefits more from being aired out, such as cashmere or wool sweaters, rather than subjected to frequent washing. And less washing means less water use and electricity. Who doesn’t love doing less laundry!
Wash cold. Water in combination with heat weakens textiles, especially anything synthetic. In most cases, 30 degrees Celsius is sufficient for washing your clothes.
Wash soft items with soft items. Separating clothes with hard and soft surfaces reduces friction, which in turn reduces fibre breakage. The same applies for overfilling the machine. A jammed wash cycle means more friction between your beloved clothes.
Many delicate items that are labelled ‘dry clean only’ can be washed on a low temperature wash cycle at home using gentle detergent. Or, hand wash and lay out to dry flat on a towel. We recommend patch testing before trying either of these alternatives (for example the back hem of a dress, or the underarm of a sleeve to check to see what happens when you handwash) as some garments can shrink or lose lustre. Less dry cleaning = less toxic chemicals and plastic garment wraps!
When washing clothing with zips, please ensure the zip is fully closed as it can weaken when it gets tangled with other garments.
Throughout the year we host repair events at our Newmarket store in Auckland, and promote them via social media. Bring in your RUBY clothes (from any season, no matter how old), and our in-house machinist will be ready to mend and/or hem your favourite pieces while you shop.
|Fibre||Cotton||Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Cotton||Wool||Linen||Silk||European Flax ®||Viscose/Rayon||Cupro||Lyocell||Lenzing Tencel ™||Acetate & Triacetate||Polyester||Recycled Polyester||Elastane||Acrylic||Nylon||Econyl ®|
|Natural/Synthetic||Natural||Natural||Natural||Natural||Natural||Natural||Natural Regenerated||Natural Regenerated||Natural Regenerated||Natural Regenerated||Natural Regenerated||Synthetic||Synthetic Regenerated||Synthetic||Synthetic||Synthetic||Synthetic Regenerated|
|What am I made of?||Fluffy cluster (boll) from a cotton plant.||Fluffy cluster (boll) from a cotton plant - certified by gots. Grown without the use of pesticides.||Sheep fleece. Spun into yarn & knitted into a garment or woven to create fabric.||Woody stems of flax. The flax is retted, dried, cured and spun into a fine yarn.||Spun from the threads of a silkworm cocoon.||Composed of 100% European Flax ® flax fibre (out of total flax content) and of final composition 100% flax linen. Uses zero GMO seeds, zero irrigation & zero waste. OEKO-TEX® certified.||Derived from pine or eucalyptus wood pulp which is treated with caustic soda & carbon disulphide. Developed as an alternative to silk.||A waste product from cotton. Undergoes a chemical process to be spun into a workable fibre. A closed-loop process.||Derived from wood pulp or bamboo. Produced through a closed loop process to minimise toxic waste. Lyocel requires less energy and water to produce than cotton.||Wood pulp from sustainable forestry. Pulp goes through a solvent-spinning process, the water is recycled & solvent reused, ensuring a closed-loop process.||Cellulose extracted from wood pulp. Reacts with acetic acid to produce acetate flakes. Flakes are dissolved into a solvent & pass through a spinneret to form a fibre.||A type of plastic. Derived from petroleum.||Repurposed polyethylene terephthalate (PET) - the same material as clear plastic bottles. Repurposed materials are sterilised, dried and turned into small chips. The chips are passed through a spinneret to form yarn. Ruby uses recycled polyester that meets global recycled standard (GRS)||Derived from petroleum. Blended with other fibres to add stretch and retention.||Derived from petroleum. Chemically processed (polymerisation) & spun through spinnerets to form an acrylic fibre.||Nylon is the world's first totally synthetic textile. Derived from carbon chemicals which are heated and spun into fibre.||Made from rescued synthetic waste. Fabric, industrial waste and fishing nets are reclaimed then cleaned, regenerated and processed into textile yarn or carpet.|
|Care tips||Cold, gentle machine wash (unless label lists handwash). Avoid tumble drying to prevent shrinkage. |
*Denim - cold machine wash inside out, air dry. Be careful when storing - exposure to sunlight can cause the fibre to degrade.
|Cold, gentle machine wash (unless label lists handwash). Avoid tumble dry to prevent shrinkage. |
*Denim - cold machine wash inside out, air dry. Be careful when storing - exposure to sunlight can cause the fibre to degrade.
|Knitwear - handwash in cold water, lie flat to dry. If washed in warm water, wool can shrink significantly. Do not wring or tumble dry. Wool has a natural tendency to pill, so please use a RUBY wool comb. Some knitwear may be labelled dry clean only as washing can cause friction on the fibre. See care video here. |
Coats - dry clean only.
|Cold gentle machine wash (unless stated to handwash). When ironing, use medium heat and steam - linen has a tendency to wrinkle. Be careful when storing, exposure to sunlight can cause the fibre to degrade.||Dry clean only or spot clean. You can cold handwash silk - be aware that doing so can weaken the fibre, cause shrinkage of up to 5% and loss of lustre.||Machine wash in cold water. Do not soak, bleach or wring. Do not tumble dry.||Cold, gentle machine wash unless labelled dry clean only. Viscose/rayon stretches and shrinks (3 - 8%) with wear and wash. After washing and drying, iron to press the garment back out to its original size.||Cold machine wash, do not tumble dry. Line dry. Be careful handling when wet. If label states dry clean only, you can cold handwash but be aware of 3 - 8% shrinkage.||Cold, gentle machine wash, or handwash in cold water, warm iron. Be careful handling when wet, as the fibre is at its weakest. If label states dry clean only, you can cold handwash but be aware of 3 - 8% shrinkage.||Cold gentle machine wash, or handwash in cold water, warm iron. Be careful when handling when wet. If label states dry clean only, you can cold handwash but be aware of 3 - 8% shrinkage.||Cold Hand-wash or cold gentle machine wash. Press with a low heat. Acetate & triacetate can be damaged by twisting, wringing or with high heat.||Machine wash with a guppyfriend in cold water, do not tumble dry.||Machine wash with a guppyfriend in cold water, do not tumble dry.||Machine wash with a guppyfriend in cold water, do not tumble dry.||Machine wash with a guppyfriend in cold water, lay flat to dry, iron on low.||Machine wash with a guppyfriend in cold water, do not tumble dry, do not bleach.||Machine wash with a guppyfriend in cool water, do not tumble dry.|
|Fibre Properties||Natural, breathable, soft, versatile||Natural, breathable, soft, versatile||Warm, breathable, natural insulator||Soft, absorbent, breathable, hypo-allergenic||Soft, smooth, breathable, lightweight||Soft, absorbent, breathable, hypo-allergenic||Drapes well, smooth, lightweight, breathable, versatile, highly absorbent||Beautiful sheen, biodegradable, silky smooth, drapes well||Soft, durable, breathable like linen||Soft, durable, breathable like linen||Dries quickly, resistant to stains, feels natural||Doesn't crease easily (great for travel!), durable, alternative to silk, easy care||Lightweight, hardwearing, doesn't crease easily, easy to care for||Stretchy, comfortable to wear, has great retention||Looks like wool, lightweight and warm||Extremely tough. Wrinkle and water resistant, fast drying||Stretchy, comfortable to wear|
We’re proud to have a growing number of initiatives for customers to make the most of when they shop with RUBY, from care initiatives to encouraging accessibility for all. Please spread the word, and encourage your friends and family to buy better, love clothes for longer and upcycle where possible.
All Is For All
All is For All is a shopping website which acknowledges the challenges people with disabilities can face when purchasing clothes online. Founder Grace Stratton, a law student, fashion lover and lifelong wheelchair user, launched the e-commerce platform when she felt like the world of online shopping was not set up for people like her who have access needs.
“I need to see what a dress looks like on a model who is sitting down, not standing up. I also need to know about every zip, button and closure, so that I can determine if a garment is one I can dress myself in. Friends with vision issues often struggle with read-aloud text on websites; if it’s present at all, it will be clunky and basic and not particularly descriptive. These are just some of the issues that people with access needs struggle with. Accessibility is not just a physical thing – it’s about everyone having the same access to the same experience, and that includes online shopping” - Grace Stratton
Alongside showcasing curations of accessible items from local and international designers, All is For All has broadened their focus, using fashion as one of many tools to achieve accessible outcomes at scale, because their core belief is still that fashion gives agency and builds confidence.
RUBY is proud to be a founding partner of this movement, with All is For All providing training for our team and advice on our custom sizing service.
RUBY offers custom sizing in all in stock styles for both RUBY and Liam, should you be after a size which is outside the sizes we currently produce.
You will only pay the standard retail price, and there are no extra fees for this service. We can make a completely new size in a style you love, or are happy to alter something off the rack to accommodate different access needs.
Everyone should be able to wear the clothes they love. Womanhood is brilliantly diverse and our clothing options should reflect this! Please ask in store about this service or email us at [email protected].
Since October 2017, RUBY has partnered with one-stop rental destination Designer Wardrobe. By using a great rental service, you can have an endlessly new wardrobe and keep clothing budgets to a minimum, all while embracing circularity and diverting clothing from landfill.
Favourite RUBY styles are always available for short term rental. After your event, pop the item in a Designer Wardrobe return bag and send it back. It’s that easy.
In 2020, we have expanded this partnership to include rental only pieces in our mainline collections that are exclusively available through Designer Wardrobe.
On a business front, Designer Wardrobe allows us the opportunity to extend the life cycle of a RUBY garment, reducing waste, water and carbon footprints. One small step towards a culture where we use products, rather than own them.
In the Community
As a New Zealand owned and operated business, we work and play in a wider community, and love to support charitable projects where we can. Here are some of the projects RUBY is proud to be a part of:
Breast Cancer Cure
RUBY is a long-time partner of Breast Cancer Cure. We support their fashion shows by lending 100 hours of our time per year to help out.
As a business, it’s important that we are available in the community to help out wherever we can have an impact. If there’s a fundraiser or project you’d like to chat to us about, please email [email protected].
All proceeds from Christmas gift wrapping in store are donated to Women’s Refuge, and staff also collect gifts for those in need. Between January 2018 and June 2019, $5647 has been donated to this incredible New Zealand charity. We also organise collections throughout the year such as our sample sale can collection and Christmas gifts which are then donated to Women’s Refuge.
Paid Community Days
It’s a pretty great feeling when you can have a positive impact all on your own. So, we offer one paid day off per quarter for every full-time head office staff member.
Team work makes the dream work, right? Our employees are ambitious forward-thinkers, so we like to support them in being the best they can be. Here’s how we do it:
Have you ever worked exclusively in one department at work yet longed to gain more experience in another, without having to jump ship completely? 2018 marked the launch of our RUBY Academy, an in-house training programme that offers employees the chance to diversify their knowledge by completing training modules across different departments.
Financial Literacy Training
Our HQ team is treated (yes, we just said that) to quarterly financial literacy workshops and seminars. The benefits are twofold: our staff better understand RUBY’s movements while they develop an understanding of important financial concepts that are essential for success in life, regardless if you own a business, or not.
Twice a year, RUBY managers are invited to listen to guest speakers who come to head office to tell their story and inspire the team.
Head Office Retreat
Taking time to evaluate our goals outside of everyday office life is important. Once a year we skip town and get away from it all with the head office team.
Head office team members can downward dog their way into the day one morning each week. This practice has become super popular and sets us up in all the best ways.
Paid Retail Internships
It can be tricky to gain paid experience in the workforce when you’re fresh out of, or still in high school. RUBY offers school age young adults paid retail internships of 12-15 hours over two weeks. Offered four times per year over school holiday periods, and no real work experience is necessary, our store managers will be there to help. Please email [email protected] for more information about the next start date.
Paid Workroom Internships
RUBY offer paid workroom internships for high school and university students wanting to advance their education and experience in the fashion industry. This is a good opportunity to gain production experience before going out into the workforce. Please email [email protected] with information about yourself such as experience, place of study, preferred dates and hours. We will do our best to accommodate you.
Employment Diversity Policy
We work hard to create a space where our team feels safe and empowered to connect and do great work. Differences in race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical abilities and religious beliefs are welcomed and accepted on the basis that every individual is unique and powerful in their own right.
It’s important that RUBY remains a positive environment for every employee - we actively work to ensure that staff are protected against discrimination of any kind. When our team feels safe, accepted and therefore able to do their best work, RUBY is better off for it.
To manage our daily environmental impact, RUBY continues to adopt lots of small policies in and around the office. The list is ever growing. If you have a suggestion, please let us know!
Our RUBY HQ & stores' food scraps (and of course our RUBY courier bags!) are collected weekly by We Compost and we're chuffed to say we've sent 1360 litres of scraps for composting between October 2018 and March 2020. Instead of ending up in the bin as unnecessary waste, scraps find higher value and become nutritious compost to be used in community and school gardens across Auckland.
All soft plastics are reused both at head office and in our stores. Anything that can’t be reused, our RUBY head office and store teams do weekly drop offs to our local soft plastics collection points thanks to the Love NZ Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme. Our RUBY stores that don’t have access to a collection point send their soft plastics back to our head office to be dropped off!
It’s no secret that the average business uses a lot of stuff. We do however try to keep our footprint to a minimum, and are always looking to improve. Ecostore products are ordered in bulk size for cleaning for HQ & our stores, office coffee is delivered from our friends down the road at Coffee Supreme, and we use Lewis Road organic milk. Toilet paper and hand towels are made from recycled materials.
We are currently in the middle of transitioning our car fleet from petrol vehicles. In December 2019 our General Manager Emily has switched to a hybrid vehicle and we intend to make this change for all of our vehicles.
The Future is Bright
Take a look at our key goals for 2020.
1. Shift from a linear to a circular company
To continue our journey in becoming a circular company, we have launched our RUBY Academy Apprenticeship scheme this year which invites machinists, cutters and patternmakers to develop their skills by creating garments using the materials produced by RUBY’s production waste streams. When our fabric is cut to make our garments we are left with offcuts and our apprentices, as part of this new initiative, will be able to use these to create new garments which minimises the waste streams of our production process. Applications for our RUBY Academy Apprenticeship scheme are now open.
2. Build skills in our local manufacturing industry
We know that current economic predictions show an increase in unemployment and under-employment and currently, there is a lack of new, skilled machinists, patternmakers and cutters with many also nearing retirement age. Our new RUBY Academy Apprenticeship scheme also gives up and coming skilled machinists, patternmakers and cutters the opportunity to develop their skills. Our Patternmaker, Sample Machinist and Creative Director will be at our Apprentice Workshops to provide guidance and expertise on the garment making process.
We will also be continuing to support our local manufacturing industry through our work with Mindful Fashion New Zealand in which our General Manager, Emily sits on the board. Mindful Fashion currently works in partnership with over 70 local manufacturing companies and runs local production workshops with members’ production teams. We know that through collaboration, greater meaningful change can occur in our industry.
3. Play our part in meeting the carbon emission targets set out in the Paris Agreement
We are committed to becoming a carbon neutral business! In January of this year we began our journey of measuring the carbon emissions we produce as a company in the making of textiles and clothing as well as across our retails stores, head office and support operations. Once we have completed our carbon measuring process, this will then be audited and we will begin to make reductions where we can and offset what we can’t reduce.
We have also set ourselves a big goal of matching the net emissions we produced in April 2020 under Alert Level 4 lockdown conditions in April of 2021.
4. Manufacture our product responsibly
We know that now more than ever, our customers want to know where their clothes are made and what they’re made from. This year we will be completing a categorisation system for garments and fabrics which we are aiming to have available by the end of 2020. This system will consider the traceability of each fabric, the environmental impacts of each fabric and what impacts have been minimised by choosing this fabric over another. This information will be available for each of our garments and will be published in a table of overall results.
We are also currently grappling with how to usefully and safely audit our factories in our new environment. We will update you on our plan in June 2020.
Our door is always open.
If you have any questions about RUBY’s sustainability strategy and goals for the future, or would like to talk further on the topic, please get in touch with our General Manager Emily Miller-Sharma. Email: [email protected]