True Cost Tuesday, Vol. 4

True Cost Tuesday, Vol. 4

Happy True Cost Tuesday, where we unpack some of the reasons behind why we at Yobel only provide fair trade, ethical, and sustainable clothing and accessories. This is our fourth volume and you can read previous volumes here. Today I’ll talk a bit about sustainability in fashion.

There are many ways to be sustainable but environmental harm is the core of why many companies are thinking through this concept. From energy use, product and water waste and chemicals, there are companies in the fashion industry making big changes to improve the impact on our planet.

On the product waste side of things, companies are moving towards using what’s called “deadstock”. Deadstock has a few names like “overstock” or “remnant” being common, but it’s essentially material already created that’s left over. Sometimes it’s due to a manufacturer overproducing a product, other times perhaps a flaw occurred so it won’t be used for its original intent. Either way, there is said to be over $120 Billion worth of excess textiles just sitting in warehouses around the world. Some companies keep their own deadstock, especially if it’s branded, but other times it’s available for anyone to purchase. For the companies who keep their own, some of them are going back and using it which historically hasn’t been done before. Companies are pressured to always create new and debut never seen before products, especially in fashion, but it’s become more important to use what’s already made, first.

Buttons, zippers, trim, fabric, for examples, are all part of deadstock. And while some of these products weren’t originally manufactured sustainably (and may be made from material that isn’t the most eco-friendly) a fashion company using deadstock before creating something new is a huge benefit to the issue of waste in the world.

We work with a handful of companies at Yobel who only use deadstock. One company in Los Angeles whose designer and seamstress, Haley, sources and creates all of her collections within a 5-mile radius. She is near the garment district in L.A. so she can hunt through warehouses for amazing fabrics and create her limited runs of dresses, tops and pants. Another is a company out of the Netherlands who only uses deadstock to produce the awesome printed men’s trousers we carry. They can get about 50-75 pairs of pants out of one bolt of deadstock they find and that’s it, they’re on to another fabric. In both of these cases it's fun too because while they’re not one of a kind, they are limited and unique. The last company I’ll highlight today is also in L.A. and they make hats. They only use deadstock for their materials so sometimes we’ll receive a reorder of a certain style and it’ll still be the same color, but the fabric is different. This means they would have run out of the last fabric and needed to find another, all from deadstock.

How awesome is this idea? Using what already exists before making new? Imagine how much the world’s waste could decrease if all industries looked at whatever their version of deadstock is and used that before creating new! I encourage you to think about this in your fashion choices of course, but also in other areas of life. Thanks for reading!