Lingerie brand Adore Me has newly embraced an incubator-like process of working with technology and sustainability partners; it’s focusing on long-term partnerships and innovative startups.
Last month, Adore Me became the first U.S. brand to work with Ever Dye, a 2-year-old fabric dyeing company out of France. Ever Dye’s process combines pigment with a bio-sourced organic polymer binding agent, which makes for a more sustainable way to dye fabric. Adore Me currently leverages Ever Dye for its more sustainable orange dye, and it will soon expand the technology to other popular shades in its collection, including red and black. In fall 2024, Adore Me will release its first products using only Ever Dye’s technology, as a capsule collection.
Ever Dye marks the third sustainability-focused partnership that Adore Me has established this year. It follows partnerships with the data platform Carbonfact in April and the traceability platform Commonshare in July. The first was put in place to equip the brand’s products with traceable digital passports, while the latter manages its supply chain data. Together, the partnerships are part of Adore Me’s larger focus on finding sustainability solutions with large-scale business impact. Roy Ranjan, vp of strategy at Adore Me, said the sustainability solutions will also save the brand money in the long run.
“One of the reasons the incubator model has worked well so far is that we’re big, but not too big,” said Ranjan said. “We’re at scale, but we still consider ourselves a startup and can move quickly. We have very strong partnerships with our suppliers and manufacturers, and our technology stack and infrastructure are very sophisticated. That makes the integration of these partnerships a lot easier.”
In 2022, Adore Me was purchased by Victoria’s Secret for $400 million, and it received its B Corp certification in the same year.
Traditionally, to “grab” the color, dyed garments must sit in dye baths at temperatures of 140- 270 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 10 hours. “Currently, textile dyeing treatment is a highly inefficient process,” said Ilan Palacci, co-founder and CEO of Ever Dye. “It has the biggest [environmental] impact in the textile industry, accounting for 36% of its carbon emissions and 20% of the world’s water pollution. But we can dye faster and at room temperature. [In doing so], we’re cutting out coal usage and natural gas usage and making the water runoff cleaner.”
Ever Dye’s process combines pigment with a bio-sourced organic polymer binding agent, which achieves the same result as conventional dyeing without the heat and time commitment. The technology also simplifies the process of cleaning water following the dyeing process. The dyes are non-toxic, so the water can be released back into the environment. If the partnership proves to be successful, Ever Dye will save Adore Me 75% of the carbon emissions from its current dyeing process.
“Carbon accounting is going to be as important as financial accounting in two years,” Ranjan said. “It’s going to be required through legislation. And through these partnerships, we are going to be well ahead.”
With less energy used to heat garments in the dying process, the brand will also experience comparable savings on energy costs. Adore Me’s products are currently designed in New York and produced with select manufacturers and textile processing partners in Europe and Asia.
“We made a pledge early on that we were not going to charge more for sustainable products,” said Ranjan. ADore Me’s products range in price from $20-$60.
Other companies have also made commitments to make their supply chain more sustainable and efficient. Last September, the PVH Group, which owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, made a $10 million commitment to the Apparel Impact Institute’s Fashion Climate Fund. The intention was to bolster its suppliers’ transition to renewable electricity, improved energy efficiency and coal divestment. In its 2022 impact report, released August 17, PVH outlines its water impacts across the supply chain and the way the company plans to minimize its impact on local production supply chains.