Proudly NOT "Sustainable"
Proudly not sustainable, you ask? Are you sure that is what you meant to say?
It’s not that we don’t care about sustainability - quite the opposite, actually. As a small clothing manufacturer, we want to be environmentally friendly because we know that the fashion industry is wasteful and harmful to our environment. At the same time, we want to be honest about what we can and can’t do as a low-impact factory and clothing line, as well as what you can do as a conscious consumer.
Consider this. If a company makes claims to sustainability, do they have a sustainability page with concrete steps they’re taking, hard metrics or dates, and info about where and how their products are made? Can you actually trace the supply chain? Can you research any third party certifications? Be careful: it’s incredibly difficult for a fashion line to be truly sustainable. Plenty of resources exist - see this link for some examples - to help figure out just how “sustainable” a company really is. And so, we’ll be transparent: we are not calling ourselves "sustainable", but we have taken steps to lessen our impact in the areas that we can control, and we want to teach you how you can lessen your impact, too.
Unfortunately, slapping “sustainable” on a product over and over again has greenwashed the term, meaning it’s mostly used as a marketing tool to make money. Companies have taken advantage of the public’s desire for answers to the fashion industry’s wastefulness by targeting the body of consumers willing to pay higher prices for a product labeled sustainable, whether or not the product actually is. Essentially, the truth value of the word has declined as its money-making value has risen. So, instead of marketing ourselves as sustainable, we want to tell you about how we try to lessen the impact of RDSH, and what you can do to ensure a longer life for your clothes.
Apparel Manufacturing - Stage 1:
To begin, here’s a simplified overview of how clothes are made. First up - manufacturing the fabric (e.g., cotton, Nylon) and the trims (e.g., threads, buttons, zippers). Then comes the cutting and sewing. This is the stage where sewers at our factory turn fabrics and trims into high-quality, stylish, functional clothing for RDSH. Any fabric scraps are repurposed rather than thrown out. Fabric scraps and clothes do not decompose readily in a landfill, but they sit for years on end and slowly release toxic greenhouse gases, like methane (1, 2). Typically, about 85% of textile waste gets sent to the landfills around the U.S. (3). So, by working to both decrease the amount of fabric we use and to repurpose our fabric scraps, we generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Apparel Manufacturing - Stage 2:
After sewing and cutting fabrics, finished pieces are then packaged and delivered from our factory to you, where they move into their final stages: use and ultimately, disposal. However, unlike clothing designed by a fast-fashion company, our clothes are meant for you to wear and repair for as long as possible before disposing or repurposing. Clothes that we toss in the trash make up the largest chunk of textiles in the landfills - more than tires, carpets, or furniture do, according to the EPA (4). In other words, the amount of clothing America throws away amounts to about 80 pounds of clothing per person per year (5, 6), and so it’s critical that we all aim to purchase pieces designed with a longer lifespan in mind.
What We’re Doing:
To lessen our factory’s environmental impact, we participate in the Blue Sky program (7, 8), meaning the energy we use comes from wind and solar. Though we don’t have much control over the manufacturing of fabrics, we do our best to source quality fabrics and trims from responsible companies and to minimize plastic waste. After cutting fabrics and sewing them into clothes, our scraps are recycled (currently as filler for punching bags). When we mail clothes to you, we avoid plastic as much as possible by using tissue paper and degradable, vegetable-based packaging. Finally, instead of treating it like a fast-fashion piece, we want YOU to extend the life of your clothing.
What You Can Do:
Pick pieces that you know will withstand your taste, style, and needs, even as fashion fads come and go.
Wear these pieces proudly because you’ve supported a low-impact, locally owned business where clothing is designed, cut and sewn by hand, packaged, and delivered all in the same place.
Be confident knowing that your RDSH apparel was crafted with quality in mind.
We want you – after hundreds of hours clocked outside and a few trips to your local seamstress to repair the inevitable hole from climbing with your elbows more than you’d like to admit – to look down at the year we put on your tag and say to the person across from you in the coffee shop, “Woah! My shirt’s 8th birthday is today!” Maybe they’ll buy you a coffee, and when they do, we hope you’ll tell them all about our small business so that they can join the RDSH fam, too.
The sources below contain more information about the issues that the apparel industry is facing. Click through to learn more.