Fashion is trying several ways to become more sustainable. The latest approach: four high end brands collaborating to create a capsule collection using ethically sourced fabric.
Textile company Piece & Co has collaborated with designers Diane Von Furstenberg, Veronica Beard, Mara Hoffman, and alice + olivia, to create a limited edition seven-piece capsule using responsibly produced fabrics that are handcrafted and dyed by women living in India’s Tamil Nadu region.
“We wanted to find designers who stood for the empowerment of women and wanted to bring change to the industry,” Kathleen Wright, Piece & Co founder.
The seven pieces, out today, range from $450 for the Veronica Beard dress, to $176 for Mara Hoffman shorts and also includes other dresses, tops and shorts. It will be sold exclusively on Amazon-owned online retailer Shopbop, as of today.
The capsule collection, and the raft of designers involved, is a different approach to raising awareness around sustainability, which a growing number of fashion brands are trying to do.
Americans are estimated to throw away 68 pounds of clothing per person, per year, according to fashion brand, Reformation, and the fashion industry’s production and manufacturing comes in second as the world’s largest polluter, after the oil industry. While there’s no overnight fix, the industry has been slow off the mark to create change. Industry experts have suggested a raft of reasons as to what’s holding fashion back, including the need for systemic change within fashion brands, and a relatively old school production process and business models. Some even laid the responsibility with consumers, who have adopted fast fashion shopping habits.
But that’s not to say brands aren’t trying to change. Boutique fashion label, Christy Dawn, uses only recycled fabric left over from larger production houses for its dresses, and in a similar way to Piece & Co, label Kit and Ace, creates all its own textiles using hand dyed and woven yarn from a small family-owned business in India.
Other brands adopting sustainability and transparency include Naadam, a luxury cashmere company that sources its yarn directly from Nomadic goat herders in Mongolia, and Reformation, which has sections of its website dedicated to showing its sustainable practices through its ‘Refscale,’ where it tracks what impact each of its garments has on the environment in terms of water, carbon dioxide and waste.
The launch of today’s capsule, and the range of high-end to luxury designers, signals just one more step towards sustainability.
“The mission of Piece & Co. is to create a more responsible fashion industry,” said the company’s founder Kathleen Wright, who sources fabric from 5,000 artisans in 16 countries. “It’s been an honor to work with such talented designers, sourcing fabrics that make the most impact socially, and the least impact on our environment.”
Wright said her company is reaching out to fashion brands with its fabric all the time, but more often than not their answer is no.
“Brands want to do good but they have a huge pressure on them to deliver both products and financial results and that makes it harder to think outside the box.” She said newer brands are the best at adopting sustainable practices as well as transparency, but a greater effort from more established brands is needed before change is taken up a gear.
“The desire to make good is bubbling up and I think we’re going to hit a point where it’s the norm sooner rather than later.”