Happy Earth Day! Over the past few months, I have been thinking deeply about sustainability in fashion and how my business may be complicit in practices that are not helpful to the environment and to the people working in this supply chain. Fashion is an incredibly complicated chain full of potential ethical pitfalls. While I have always said that my garments are "ethically-made" because I make them myself and do not take advantage of factories where workers are unpaid and labor in unsafe conditions, this is only one small piece of the puzzle. Let me break down the various layers that go into bringing a finished garment into your closet.
There are three basic categories of fabrics: natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic. Natural fabrics are things like silk, cotton, wool, and linen. They come directly from a plant or animal and are spun into a fiber. All are biodegradable. Semi-synthetic are fabrics like rayon, viscose, bamboo, modal, and lyocell. These are made from cellulose and are processed chemically to create a fiber. They are biodegradable but have differing levels of environmentally-friendly production practices; deforestation and significant chemical waste being concerns. Lyocell is the best of the bunch, using sustainable sources of wood pulp and recycling 98% of the chemicals used in production. Synthetic fabrics are nylon, polyester, acrylic, and lycra (Spandex). These are man made from petroleum (yes--they're plastic) and are not biodegradable.
Once you have produced a fiber, someone then needs to make it into fabric. This obviously takes place in factories. Fabrics must then be dyed, and this can result in large-scale pollution of rivers by factories dumping the used dye.
Once the fabric is finished, it must be turned into a garment! This means designing a piece, creating a pattern (one that hopefully uses fabric efficiently to reduce scrap waste), testing the pattern and design, grading the pattern into different sizes, and then finally creating the garments. Each one of these steps is done by a person! While there have definitely been improvements over the last several years, factories are still notorious for underpaying employees and forcing them to work in unsafe and inhumane conditions. "Made in USA" is not always a guarantee of an ethical work environment and garments made elsewhere are not always automatically using unethical labor.
With all of this in mind, I have decided to restructure my business. I have been operating with most items made to order. This means that I order fabric almost every time an order comes in (with the exception of bras/panties, as I usually keep enough fabric on hand for smaller items) which is wasteful from a shipping/carbon footprint perspective. I also use mostly synthetic fabrics, which, admittedly, is de rigueur for lingerie and the form-fitting styles of today.
Moving forward, I will be creating limited runs (1-2 items of each size) of a single colorway or style. That means I will be placing a single order for fabric and when the pieces are gone, they're gone. I will still be accepting limited requests for custom sizing of these styles as I never want anyone to feel excluded from fashion for not fitting into a sizing chart. I will be creating some new styles, changing some, and discontinuing others to accommodate the use of more natural and sustainable fabrics. Doing small runs will allow me to experiment with special dye and printing techniques and will give you a truly unique garment! I am always mindful of the cost of garments and as before, I will be conscious of keeping prices as reasonable as possible. I do anticipate a rise in costs for some of the pieces that require more fabric, as the finishing time will increase with the change in fabrics.
As of right now, items that are in stock are listed on the website and are ready to ship within 1-2 days. All other items are temporarily unavailable for direct order as I work on new designs. If you would like a custom order of any existing designs or something you've dreamed up, please contact me! Custom orders are my favorite and I will continue to create lingerie and loungewear to your specifications.
Thank you for following along this journey, and I am looking forward to making some beautiful pieces that you can feel truly good about! Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions about this process or anything else!