Clothing has a serious drinking problem
And we're putting it on the wagon
There is an estimated 663 million people who don't have daily access to clean water, so naturally this issue, along with environmental concerns, is central to our thinking and design process.
We've talked a lot about water on our instagram and how much the textile industry consumes, with a vast majority of it happening before textiles arrive at the factory to be cut and made into clothing. Cotton is one of the thirstiest crops on the planet and needs vast amounts of water to keep it hydrated and to grow. Thereafter, the washing and dyeing of the raw textiles consumes yet more water, which in turn gets flushed into local water sources, which comes with it's own set of issues. Read more here.
By only using surplus pre-existing textiles that are sitting in giant warehouses in Los Angeles, we remove the need to purchase virgin fabrics, which obviously eliminates the need to grow yet more cotton and consume yet more water. It's not a perfect system but by employing it, we have removed a massive 96% (1775 gallons of the standard 1850 gallons) of the water usage to make enough fabric for one jean, jacket or pant. It's a considerable saving.
There is still a need for some water usage in our process. We pre-shrink all the garments we make so you don't have to. Along with the trims (like hangtags and labels) this adds in some consumption. We have estimated that to be approximately 75 gallons. We are mindful not to use too many unnecessary labels and tags, so limit it to one label per garment (made form organic unbleached cotton), and a very small recycled paper hangtag.
We shipped our first Bloomingdales order this Fall and when a retailer of this size places an order, we got a glimpse of this method working on a larger scale...and remember we are a very new brand in the world, think what would happen if some of huge brands started attacking this issue.
We ran some math on their order and came up with some incredible figures that we wanted to share with you:
Numbers based on one shipment for the Fall 2017 season;
- Total water normally consumed per garment (before home laundries) = 1850 gallons / 9463 liters
- Total water saved by Double Eleven = 1.64 Million gallons / 6 Million liters
- This is enough water to hydrate 2 million people for one day or the entire population of Manhattan.
- If you convert this cubic volume of liquid into gas (and use the 23 mpg average for cars today), it's the equivalent of driving one car across America 14'000 times!
We don't want to overstate this issue and tire you of hearing about it, but as you can tell it's a big problem. With small steps and conscious consumerism, the switch to a more responsible way of making things can easily be done. And it's our belief that it's the job of the designer, brand, company or whomever to give you the customer an easy transition to products made this way, so if you're not seeing enough of it from some of your other favorite brands, let them know, we're all in it together.