You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine suggested we watch a Netflix documentary called The True Cost, which focuses on how, where, and by whom certain clothes are made in fast fashion. The documentary brings to light how unsustainable the industry really is, and how little we might realize about the impact it has on the planet, and on the lives of people who are hired to make the clothes. I believe myself to be the majority in my experience, but I was shocked at how out of touch I was with where I was sourcing my clothing. I’ll admit that my focus in recent years has been around sourcing properly raised livestock and produce, so I mainly cared about what I was putting in my body, but not what I was putting on it. It was a total blindspot. Luckily, said friend cares a lot about sustainable fashion, and therefore took me to church with her knowledge. I’ll highlight here some brands that she recommended to me, first starting with the company that she works for called Hatch.
Hatch is a maternity clothing brand, which designs clothes to be worn before, during, and after pregnancy. I myself have worn many of their pieces, and they are functionally diverse and beautiful on many body types. Hatch is also known as a “green beauty brand” and thrives around being community-driven. Ariane Goldman, CEO of Hatch, also began Hatch Mama, which offers clean beauty solutions to mamas-to-be. Goldman calls the products “a line of non-toxic beauty products that were made to address the issues so many of us face during pregnancy and postpartum.” Their products are also made strictly in factories that comply with Current Good Manufacturing Practices, which were put in effect by the Food and Drug Administration.
Reformation is one of my personal favorite brands. They celebrate the female silhouette and promise to source only the most sustainable fabrics to fulfill their designs. For me, they have smartly modeled the company to remain competitive with the flow of fast fashion, while prioritizing ethical practices. Reformation also takes into consideration that their clothing can be recycled for longer wear, so they choose fibers that can be washed and last far into the future. Transparency is the key to their sustainability story, and they even have a five category rating system when choosing their fibers, as well as publishing their methodology and sources so you can go deeper into their practices.
Triarchy is another brand that I was so grateful to discover. They state that their mission is a simple one: “To conserve our planet’s most important resource by reducing the massive water consumption of our planet’s most beloved piece of clothing, jeans.” As a devotee to jeans, I was already hooked. Triarchy figured out how to use 85% less water by moving their production facility to Mexico City. There, through a revolutionary system, natural bacteria consumes indigo dye before re-introducing it to the wash process. In addition, all of their hardware is made from nickel-free, recycled material, in a facility which is designed to conserve water by up to 80%.
And The Learning Continues, Locally
One of the best ways to be sustainable in your clothing choices is to shop vintage, and Jersey City has some stores that you definitely should know about if you don’t already. Another Man’s Treasure is one of my favorite spots around, vintage or not. You can assemble amazing, unique outfits here(just check out their lookbook and you’ll see what I mean). If you’re inthe market for baby and kids’ clothes and accessories, you can’t miss Hazel Baby & Kids. This spot carries everything from clothing, to bath toys, to nursery decorations, to mealtime accessories, and pretty much everything in-between.
And The Learning Continues, For me
I have to be honest in my own purchasing, admitting that I’m not always perfect. But, I am working to educate myself around sustainable fashion and aiming to make it the standard that I buy from companies with the best practices, or from vintage stores. If you’re into taking a similar journey, here’s a longer list of brands that you can trust.