13 Apr, 2019 · · Comments
Sarah Liller & Sustainability
13 Apr, 2019 · · Comments
Sustainable fashion is a bit of a buzzword these days, but what exactly makes an item of clothing sustainable or not? It’s complicated, as supply chains for apparel are complex. Between the fabric, the dyeing, the printing, the cutting, and the actual labor involved with making the
clothing, there are so many different things to consider.
Here at Sarah Liller, I try to make design decisions in an educated way so as to minimize my environmental impact and also make sure that I take into consideration the human impact of my clothing. I thought I’d write a blog post about how Sarah Liller fits into the sustainable fashion sphere.
The main fabric I use in my collection is a Rayon/lycra blend. Rayon is not traditionally considered a sustainable textile. It is made from plant fiber and requires some pretty awful chemicals to process the wood pulp into fibers. I work with a company called Lenzing, who is one of the most innovative yarn producers in the world. The birch trees that make up the fibers are sustainably forested, and they produce their rayon in a “closed loop” system. What that means is that chemicals used to process the fibers is re-used and not put into the waste system. Also, what’s great about rayon is that you can wash it, so no need for harmful dry cleaning. Finally, my fabric is milled in the US,
meaning that it has a lower carbon footprint and keeps manufacturing jobs in the US.
All of my dyeing, cutting, and sewing is done in the USA. The US has much stricter guidelines for the types of dyes that can be used on clothing than other parts of the world, and because we have stricter regulations about how waste can be disposed of, it’s less likely that a USA made product will result in dye waste water being poured into a river.
I also do all cutting and sewing in the US. I go into the factory on a regular basis, and I see how the people making my clothes are treated. They are being paid a living wage and seem to enjoy their work. The woman who owns my factory and I have a close relationship, and I believe that the quality of that relationship shows up in the clothes.
Fashion is one of those industries that can’t be fully automated, so there is always a human being making the garments. Because of this, it’s important to know where your clothing is made and for brands to have transparency about this.
Clothes are meant to last a long time. Holding onto pieces that you love and want to wear all the time and investing in quality pieces that will last is the most eco practice of all. That’s why I keep my designs classic and high quality, the longer you can wear them and love them, the less clothing you need to buy over your lifetime.
It’s not always easy to choose sustainable options, but a few rules of thumb are:
1. You have to LOVE it – don’t buy it just because it’s on sale or a good deal. You are more likely to wear the clothes you love.
2. Try to purchase from brands that are transparent in their supply chain. This means they talk about where the clothes are made, the conditions of the factories, and what the clothes are made of.
3. Buy classic pieces you can mix and match, dress up and down. Classic pieces stay in style longer and are more versatile, meaning you buy less clothing over the course of your lifetime