Creating an Eco-Conscious Clothing Line for Tall Women
Hi Tall Beauties!
Even though Earth Month has come to a close, I wanted to share my thoughts on sustainable fashion and where Liv Tall fits in, as it is of course something I focus on year-round, not simply in one month. I am not a preachy type of person but felt like I wanted to share things I have learned while launching a clothing brand that changed the way I looked at shopping and fashion in general. One thing is for sure, I LOVE fashion. I am not going to be the person that says to stop shopping because I could never do that myself! However, I have become more mindful with my shopping. I no longer purchase items that are for a specific event, do not fit properly, or that I know I will not get a lot of use out of. As a designer I think the same way. I want to create items that fit tall women, items you want to wear repeatedly, and will stand the test of time.
You have probably already heard that fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world. That is not strictly carbon emissions or waste. There are a lot of segments of the fashion industry on both the manufacturer and consumer ends that make up that statistic. Factors such as the amount of water and/or chemicals used when fabrics are made and dyed, the amount of carbon emissions produced from shipping clothing, packaging materials that are used and thrown away, excess material in production and clothing that gets thrown away by the consumer when they no longer want it, which all ends up in the landfill.
As both a clothing manufacturer and consumer of fashion, I think about the effects of the fashion industry almost every day. I think about how I can control my manufacturing process as well as how I can shop in ways that are better for the environment. I am going to share my thoughts on both and some best practices I implement as a manufacturer as well as my tips as a shopper.
As a Manufacturer
When I started creating this brand in 2020, we were in the thick of the pandemic. Most of us had spent considerable time thinking about our life and habits pre-covid and planned to make changes for the future. During this time, I got myself up to speed on the fashion industry as a whole and realized how much pollution and waste it creates which really made me stop and think. If I am going to create a brand, am I going to just create more stuff? Can I create a clothing line with a conscious and be as mindful as possible, so that I can be more a part of the solution, rather than the problem? I wanted to create product that stood the test of time and were made with as little effect on the environment as possible.
Here is what I do as a brand to be eco-conscious and more sustainable. I am not perfect and will continue to evolve my practices but for starters, this is what I have done to be an eco-conscious brand for tall women.
Local Manufacturing- this process lowers my carbon footprint because I am not constantly shipping product to/from overseas. In addition, because I manufacture locally, I visit my manufacturer almost every week and I know that the employees of this company are being treated fairly and ethically, which is hard to truly know when you manufacture oversees. Not all overseas manufacturers are bad, it is just incredibly difficult to fully know how they are manufacturing products and how they are treating their employees if you cannot directly oversee the process.
Growing with Demand… or Small Batch Production- I only produce small amounts, and do not produce excess inventory simply to drive my prices lower. As my brand continues to grow, I will only increase my production levels as the demand for my product increases so I can control the amount of excess inventory I have.
Shipping Materials – I use recycled materials and reusable bags for any returns that can also be recycled at the end of use.
High Quality Product- My items are well made, easy to wear and versatile! They are meant to last and be staples in your wardrobe- no fast fashion to love and leave next season.
Postproduction Materials –I wish I could have zero waste, but there will be scraps left over or sample materials that don’t get used, so I have two outlets to give the leftover materials new life. First, the manufacturer I work with has its own recycling program for the scraps. If I have yardage left over, I donate it to a local non-profit called Threaded Together AZ to use for programs to teach the trade of sewing. I am experimenting with the idea of creating accessories with left over material as well!
Fabric Sourcing- I use materials that are in-stock which helps with lead times and lowers shipping costs and resources. Where I am working the hardest on now that I can navigate the fabric world is to source sustainable materials that are not only friendly to the environment but also have the quality that I associate with my brand and products.
So those are my thoughts on how I can be a mindful manufacturer, here are my thoughts on being a more eco-conscious consumer!
As a Consumer
On this journey to create and launch my brand I have shifted my spending patterns dramatically. I used to buy Fast Fashion, now I don’t. I used to buy outfits for one specific event, now I shop my closet more and challenge myself to wear something I already own or make! I also strive to support other small businesses as much as I can and enjoy shopping other small, tall brands for unique items! Am I perfect? Hardly. But I feel that if everyone makes small changes it can make a big impact!
Shop Sustainable Brands- Support businesses trying to make a difference! The ideas are great but if no one supports or shops small, they (we) will not be able to stay in business.
Repurpose- Donate unused items to local shelters or women’s centers rather than just throwing something away. If it is higher end, take it to your local consignment boutique.
Refresh- Get an item altered or refreshed! Adjust the belt loops, fix a slit or refresh the lining of a garment before throwing it away.
Don't be fooled! Pay attention to “greenwashing.” Brands using the words like “eco-friendly,” “ethical,” “sustainable” but don’t show any true action.
Shop Second Hand- Thrifting is a smart way to be more eco-conscious and I have read several articles that thrifting is a big trend with the next generation…but again, tall women are only getting taller, so the odds of finding great vintage items that fit properly is going to pose the same challenges as shopping for new clothing. Of course, there is one type of vintage shopping I love and that is shopping for vintage accessories!!! It is a great way to style an existing outfit, add a great vintage belt, broach, scarf or bag. Other secondhand options like Poshmark, The RealReal or Rent the Runway are great options too.
Shop mindfully- While it might not be always practical for a tall woman to shop sustainable brands due to lack of options, try taking inventory of what is in your closet first and making a seasonal list of items to buy, rather than just shopping with no goal or impulsively buying items when you see them.
There you have it! My realistic and attainable thoughts on being an eco-conscious manufacturer and consumer. I hope you enjoyed this blog post, ask me a question or leave a comment if you did!