From the start.
When I started studying environmental science a few years ago, I was floored by the impacts of the fashion industry. Fashion is the second largest producer of wastewater and can be an extremely exploitative industry. This is really hard to reckon with when you love fashion and see the cultural and artistic value of it. But I accepted this as a challenge. I have all this background knowledge and all these skills, how can I put them into practice? When Devin and I started brainstorming, we each made a list about our values and what we wanted in whatever we created - essentially these were the things that were non-negotiable to us. Finding and choosing the lower impact option was non-negotiable to me. If we couldn’t find it, it just meant we weren’t looking hard enough. And i’m really glad that we did this because in the end, we created a better look, higher quality product that will last longer. -A
Organic Cotton and Recycled Materials.
We always want to choose the lowest impact version of the material we wanted to use. Organic cotton is big for us because compared to conventional cotton: it's traceable, uses 87-97% less water, no synthetic pesticides, 45% less GHG emissions, and way better for soil health (Textile Exchange, 2016). We aim to use GOTS certified organic cotton when we can. Currently, all our hoodies, sweats, and shorts are GOTS Certified (What is GOTS?).
Because synthetics are more easily recycled without impacting the integrity of the material, for any polyester or synthetic material, we always aim to use the recycled version.
In full transparency, there is still a lot to be learned about how sustainable deadstock fabric is. The way STREET GRANDMA defines it: the remaining 40 or less yards of the left over fabrics of other fashion houses who overestimated their needs. Sometimes brands, mills, fashion houses will hold onto these fabrics for a few seasons before sending them to landfills. It's kinder to the planet because we aren't creating anything new and we are truly getting the last ends of bolts that big brands can't utilize. But there are downsides as - like the unknown nature of the fabric and the lack of transparency in the manufacturing process.
Making a cut + sew garment was always something we set out to do and we are glad we pushed ourselves to do it early on in SG’s journey. We felt it was a way to fully execute our vision, an opportunity to learn how clothes are made, and a way we could be more transparent about where our stuff comes from. I mean, what does sustainable even mean? What does ethical manufacturing look like? Who are the people that make the clothes we love? During this process, we've learned so much and we have so much appreciation for the craftsmanship and for the people who make the clothes we love.
On this first round of cut + sew, we are proud to have utilized (literally!) the last bit of a fabric and to have manufactured our products right here in Los Angeles by Sonia and Jorge, an amazing seamstress/cutter duo.