LOST your dog? Call the President

One afternoon, a Patagonia employee called my daughter advising her not to place Lost Dog ads on car windows in the parking lot. As soon as the call from Patagonia came in, she emailed the president asking permission to keep employees on the lookout for her lost dog.

Thankfully, presidents grant overrides, and that day, a Patagonia admin noticed the cat food in the back of the building was being eaten too quickly. Sure enough, the next morning Charlie emerged from the woods and promptly devoured the feral felines food. Later, in an all-night vigil outside headquarters in Reno, Nevada, my daughter was reunited with her once stray puppy.

The hero, Patagonia, like other companies, is leading the way in not only caring for others, but in producing sustainable clothing. And that's the topic for today's Monday musings:

We know that our business activity—from lighting stores to dyeing shirts—is part of the problem. We work steadily to change our business practices and share what we’ve learned. But we recognize that this is not enough. We seek not only to do less harm, but more good.

And just what is sustainable clothing? I like this definition...

Sustainable fashion is thus partly about producing clothes, shoes and accessories in environmentally and socio-economically sustainable manners, but also about more sustainable patterns of consumption and use, which necessitate shifts in individual attitudes and behaviour. However, there are many ways for fashion companies to offer a more sustainable fashion, and for consumers to consume more sustainably. Dr. Brismar, Green Strategy.

Merriam Webster defines sustainability as...

Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance: the pursuit of global environmental sustainability; the ecological sustainability of the planet.

It's no secret that fashion and sustainability have not always integrated well, but the industry is changing, due in part to people like Nina Marenzi, who:

Interviewed numerous fashion designers, textile industry representatives and NGOs. During that period, Marenzi became convinced that the “woolly image” of lower impact materials was preventing the wider adoption of the materials in the fashion industry.

In order to increase the possibility of innovation in fabrics, Marenzi has created The Sustainable Angle, and in my opinion, is opening the doors for designers and fabric curators to give us better fabrics that are ethically sourced, comfortable, easy to wash and beautiful all at the same time. Bring it on!

One part of sustainability in fashion is used clothing. Even Nordstrom is taking notice of the multi million dollar business of used clothing and has begun to offer it in their stores. Other businesses like ThredUp, TheRealReal. Poshmark and Tradesy have led the way in recycling used clothing through their website processes.

If you prefer brand new to used, there are many (more than 35) companies using a sustainable model to produce their products, including, but not limited to, clothing. Here are some of my favorites:

Cuyana

Cuyana Lean Closet initiative, where they make it easy for you to donate clothing that no longer serves you to women in need in exchange for credit towards your next Cuyana purchase.

Everlane

At Everlane, we want the right choice to be as easy as putting on a great T-shirt. That’s why we partner with the best, ethical factories around the world. Source only the finest materials. And share those stories with you—down to the true cost of every product we make. It’s a new way of doing things. We call it Radical Transparency.

KTON

We focus on one naturally remarkable fibre: our namesake, authentic Egyptian cotton. Grown in only one place in the world — the Nile Delta — Egypt’s “white gold” is finer, softer, and more breathable than any other cotton. Unfortunately, since 2001, there has been a 95% decline in demand from big corporations that opted to go with cheaper options. As a result, millions of farmers, weavers, and craftspeople are struggling to make ends meet.

And not only does our clothing desire new fabrics, but our food does too...

Beeswrap

Bee’s Wrap was founded in 2012 by Vermonter Sarah Kaeck, a mother of three who has been, by turns, an avid gardener, milker of goats, keeper of chickens, and seamstress. Bee’s Wrap started with a question facing many families and home cooks: How could we eliminate plastics in our kitchen in favor of a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food?

No matter what your beliefs are around sustainability, it's important to think about taking care of the gift we have been given. And care means awareness, so hopefully this post has helped in understanding sustainability in a new way. As always, there's plenty of websites and people to learn from. Thanks for reading this all the way to the end. You are appreciated.

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