It is a hot topic, pun and pun intended. If you’d like homework, you can read more about it here, here and here.
As a part of the fashion world we often think about the impact we have. Our shop has a small footprint in Chicago, an even smaller footprint in the U.S. and we are a blip on the radar for the world. But our suppliers are based in Germany, China, Italy, England, America, Australia and the list goes on.
Fortunately, we’re in a unique position where our specific business is geared towards sustainability. Here, we will outline a few of the actions our business takes towards being a mindful company:
Our fabrics are almost all natural fibers. Not only is this beneficial as a renewable resource, but the textiles break down more easily once the garment is finally decommissioned. VBC, one of our main fabric suppliers, has a wonderful agenda for sustainability.
Almost all of the product we make/buy arrives in a corrugated box. We, along with the other businesses on our block, use a recycling service to reuse and repurpose these boxes.
Our garments arrive from our manufacturer in recycled plastic garment bags. We retain these bags and reuse them as packing material (“stuffing”) for our clients who request their garments be shipped. Additionally, we opt to give our clients 1 poly canvas garment bag for their first garment. Afterwards, we use a recycled and recyclable plastic garment bag from U-Line to reduce waste.
We use a Nespresso machine for coffee in our shop. Approximately every 40 days, we use Nestle’s free mailer to send the pods back to be recycled.
The furniture in our shop was purchased for aesthetic but also for its durability. The wood, steel, leather and brass materials were made to be used and used a lot before needing to be replaced. Retailers often replace fixtures at great expense to the environment (manufacturing, shipping, installation etc.).
When looking at the forest and not the trees, however, our business is predicated on making individual garments for individual persons. We do not mass produce anything. Our accessories (socks, ties, suspenders, umbrellas etc.) are made in small runs and we send those out in reusable canvas bags. We do not sit on clothing inventory (with the exception of the fabric we buy for our stock program). Our space is 745 square feet and uses minimal energy to operate (we turn the lights off at night, unlike many retailers).
Call us bad salespeople, but we often suggest our clients buy less clothing. We’ve almost quadrupled our business in the last 4 years and 4 months. So, how can we reduce waste but increase business? Often times the best thing to do is just sell what people need. We deduce with each client what they want/need and remove what shouldn’t be purchased. We believe the trust built within this transaction is more important than the profits on additional clothing.
A suit should last a long time. How long? Depends on how and how often you wear it. It also depends how the garment is treated when not on your body. We’d like to think if properly taken care of, it should last between 12-16 years. If someone were to simply not want their suit anymore, we’d suggest giving it to someone similar in size. It’s best if you know that person. If not, you can donate the suit here, here or to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army.
While we do our best to be mindful, it is important to stress that some of the responsibility rests on your shoulders. Whether it is our clothing or another brand’s, please be careful of supporting retailers that are doing more harm than good for the sake of fashion.