In 2020, most of us are aware about the woes of fast fashion. Simply look up "fast fashion" and you'll get a stream of activist media on it otherwise. Though with the arrival of the new year, I can't help but reflect on the good things that arose for the fashion industry in 2019. While mainstream runway brands like Gucci and Alexander McQueen are fighting for the spotlight as usual, this time competing for eco bragging rights, I like to look towards lesser known grassroots movements. I love that runway brands are using things like recycled laces from previous collections, swapping exotic animal skins for alternatives, offsetting carbon emissions from their supply chains and decorating their shows with live trees to then be planted in community gardens. These are all things that need to happen. However, I do believe that smaller, authentically dedicated companies and organizations are the ones who really get what "sustainability" is, and in turn move mountains. While there are plenty of great things happening out there, these three points had me the most excited;
The Founder of Fibershed is Publishing a Book
Fibershed is a movement founded in 2010 by Rebecca Burgess that I've long been inspired by. I look to them as the original modern day slow clothing pioneers.
I think I first came across Fibershed when I heard word about the enigmatic Grow Your Jeans project. It was a project that had my tactile senses and earth inspiration seriously wide eyed. Grow your jeans?! Okay let's see this!
It must have been 2012, as I remember that the jeans weren't made yet. The sound of a pair of jeans that would be produced almost entirely of raw materials grown in Northern and central California had me sign up for the newsletter so I could track the project. In all, Fibershed is a movement that asks questions like can cotton be climate beneficial? And then is backed with folks who follow up on those questions with agricultural action.
The sheer success of Fibershed and all their amazing projects since being founded could be named a win, but I wanted to congratulate the news of Rebecca Burgess's new book published in 2019. It's called Fibershed: Growing a Movement of Farmers, Fashion Activists, and Makers for a New Textile Economy.
Sally Fox Launched New Foxfibre® Colorganic® Certified Organic Cotton Fabrics for Home Sewers and Small Designers
For 38 years, Sally Fox has been on the path to classically and organically breed the naturally colourful cottons. What colour grown cotton is, is ancient heirloom varieties of cotton that grow naturally with earthy hues of green and brown. So when time to mill into fabric, you don't even have to dye it because the fibers grew with innate colour. I believe they are originally from Peru. In 1989, Sally Fox brought this beautiful cotton back to the American market and since then has endured through countless ups and downs while the demand for USA grown cotton has shifted - from selling it to Levi's in the 90's, to re-defining a market today, she's kept resilience in her efforts to keep these varieties strong. In 2019, she launched several new fabrics made with her cotton which can be found on her website for pre-order. You better bet I have my eyes on those.
The first samples of Foxfibre® fabric I ever purchased was in 2012 at the peak of my fabric research, not knowing that the resurrection in the US of this beautiful, organic, naturally coloured cotton fabric was the effort of a single person. Then, the craziest stream of events lead me to to Sally Fox's work again. In 2015 I had bought a bundle of Foxfibre® socks at the Briar Patch Co Op in Grass Valley, California. Some day in the last year, Instagram came up with a photo of a colour grown cotton field, posted by Sally Fox herself. I couldn't believe it. I reached out to Sally and she was able to tell me which farm grew each colour in the sock bundle. Tracing back to the origin of something I owned (and still wear!) was so exciting. Due to this connection, I'm thrilled to announce that Earth and Elle will be selling the Foxfibre® socks on our website once we have our undergarments collection produced and ready to ship.
Sally mentioned to me that if you purchase sheets from americanblossomlinen.com, you can use the code SallyFox15 which sends 15% of the sales price to support her breeding program while you get 15% off. She designed the yarn herself, and it is grown, spun and woven in the US under the American Blossom label. The sheet threads on American Blossom Linen were designed by Sally and grown by the Texas Organic Marketing Co-op growers. Pretty cool hey?! I know where I'm going when I need a new set of sheets!
Christy Dawn released the news of their new farm to closet initiative
I learnt about this brand when my dear friend Jaz found a Christy dress at the re-use-it centre in Whistler and shared the brand with me, knowing I'd love it too. Now I'm on the hunt for one every time I go, but I think that's a rare secondhand find...
If you don't know about Christy Dawn yet, you might want to. Her dreamy, vintage inspired dresses with a distinct poetic feel are made out of deadstock fabric that she hand picks herself, while the dresses are made in the companies' own factory in Los Angeles. Most deadstock fabrics available are synthetic -but since we're talking about special, well made dresses, you won't be putting them in the washer and dryer, (releasing those awful micro-fibres) making deadstock fabrics work well for their designs.
The great news that poses a win for the sustainable fashion world from Christy Dawn in 2019 is that they purchased a regenerative farm in India to become a farm-to-closet company. As a small business with incredible brand recognition, I hope this will mean Christy Dawn will become a great example for bigger companies. For more about their new farm to closet initiative, read the companies' journal entry here. The truth and transparency in this new initiative for them will melt your heart.
I have to add that directly working with a regenerative, organic cotton farm is something I've long dreamt about. I'm so happy that a brand like Christy Dawn will be amongst a few others to take the first initiative. I hope to some day join that path when Earth and Elle has the means.
There's one more big win I want to share with you!
And it's that Monsanto has lost millions as cotton farmers in India are switching back to indigenous seeds. The win is written out well already in this article.
This post is not sponsored by any means. Earth and Elle nor the author does not receive commission for this writing.