What makes a clothing store sustainable?
We are endlessly inspired by all the motion that Designers and shopkeeps alike are making to be more sustainable. We often ask ourselves what elements make a clothing store sustainable? And how ethical clothing is connected to sustainability?
We are open to input, but here is what we have rattling around in our brains!
What makes a clothing store sustainable?
A sustainable clothing store connects customers to designers who value their employees and respect the environment.
Being sustainable means carrying designers whose sourcing and production practices are open and available as part of a traceable supply chain. This means they ensure safe workplaces and fair wages for workers in every step of production, and are transparent about how they source their textiles and where the raw materials come from. To truly be sustainable we have to have sustainable farming practices, textile production and clothing construction. And when it gets to a shop, that shop needs to be making the choice to use as many thoughtful products as possible, from electronic receipts to recycled bags.
Sustainable clothing stores sit in an interesting place, as they are responsible for ensuring not only their own thoughtful practices, but also that the supply chain of their products are being monitored. We have felt fortunate to work with many small batch designers that take this responsibility seriously, and with larger design houses that have built their businesses around sustainable practices. Not everything in our store was sourced in a way that we feel is 100% sustainable, but it is up to us in those cases to choose garments constructed out of natural materials, and to continue to ask questions and support designers to make thoughtful choices, sometimes this means being okay with a price increase as a designer moves from generic to natural dyes.
How is Ethical production connected to Sustainability?
When we define sustainable, we are talking about practices that are capable of being sustained, meaning that a system is able to replenish and no long term degradation takes place. It is easy to see how this applies environmentally, but it is also applicable to humanity. Sustainable clothing is often more expensive than fast fashion because workers are paid fairly across the supply chain– from cotton farmers to salespeople. This means that people are working in environments that lead to a happy and sustainable workflow. People are able to think about their wellbeing, enrich their lives with tradition and family time. When workers are paid higher wages, they are empowered to make more sustainable choices in their own lives! A balanced life strengthens community and promotes collaboration.
Our shop focuses first on ethical production, working with designers that ensure a livable wage. From there we build upon the ladder and look at ways we can implement thoughtful practices at all levels.
How we have implemented sustainability in our store
Sustainability is our ongoing mission. We are constantly making choices that will make us a more sustainable business, connecting you to mindfully made clothing that will last.
In our shop, you’ll find garments made from renewable and recycled materials, like non-GMO natural fibers, tencel, organic cotton, recycled nylon, and wool that adheres to high animal welfare standards. The designers we stock manage production in ways that conserve water and avoid harmful contaminants.
We are working to stock more garments made with natural and low impact dyes, and generally to educate ourselves!
Living sustainably can be challenging. We’ve accidentally stocked garments made with synthetic materials– it’s okay to mess up, we’re always learning and working to improve our buying and behaviors. Every time we make a mistake we look at how we can do better next time and we hope you give yourself the same permission.
How you can Implement sustainability at home
By the time a piece of clothing from a thoughtful store gets to you, it has already had a lot of thought put into it, and you can keep that going!
You can make your clothing more sustainable by following good care techniques. Use eco-friendly soaps suitable to your garment, and air-dry whenever possible. Is it permanently stained? Give it new life with natural dye. Torn or wearing thin? Look to traditional mending techniques, like sashiko, that reinforce a garment using decorative stitch patterns. If you’re ready to let go of a garment that is in good condition, look for local non-profits that connect those in need with high-quality attire.
Hope this was a nice window into sustainable clothing stores and what this little shop is doing to be one of them!