Consider the Source- Thoughts on Sustainability in the Fashion Industry
In recent years, awareness around eco-friendly products and sustainability has become increasingly prevalent. Consumers are becoming aware of the consequences of their choices and the effect they have on their health and their environment. Supporting eco-friendly consumer products continues to be on an upward trend. Phrases such as “Fair Trade” or “Sustainably Sourced” are becoming part of every conversation when it applies to food and consumer products. This is not the case with clothing and manufacturing.
When it comes to our food, consumers are conscious about locally grown versus items shipped from thousands of miles away. People want to know if the chicken they are eating is “pasture raised” or grown in a cage with unsanitary conditions. Another example of where consumers are educating themselves is understanding the ingredients in hygiene and beauty products -making sure they don’t contain chemicals that would negatively affect the body or the environment. While we have made tremendous strides in understanding the conditions in which our food and products are made, somehow we are less aware of where our fabrics come from and how our clothing is made. When you ask someone where their shirt was produced, 9 times out of 10, they have no idea. It’s fair to say, the fashion industry is somehow behind the curve, and this lack of awareness is an industry shortcoming that must be addressed.
Since our inception, our brand has been 100% fur and leather free- but cruelty-free fashion does not stop there. We are dedicated to using responsibly sourced fabrics, ensuring healthy worker conditions, and our ongoing commitment to manufacturing domestically. The sense of community in our factories is warm, supportive, and very much like a family. When we visit our factories, we are not only evaluating the overall fit and quality of our product, but we are also paying the closest attention to our sewers and their working environment. Alston Daigh, my sister and partner, has tediously supervised the manufacturing of CCH in New York’s garment district. It gives us a huge sense of pride when we see our garments being sewn by engaged employees who are proud of their job and their product.
In the apparel industry, the trend towards offshore manufacturing to countries with cheaper labor has not only negatively affected the craftsmanship of the product, but it has negatively impacted jobs in America. Reports from The New York City Economic Development Corporation stated manufacturing jobs in the clothing industry declined over 60% in the last thirty years. This trend has dramatically effected our American economic vitality while also supporting undesirable conditions and waste in offshore mills and factories.
Change begins with awareness. When buying clothing, consider your choices and consider your sources. Make the connection with your intention and what you are choosing to support. Sustainable fashion begins with the power of your choice.