One of the most common questions we hear is, “what is sustainable clothing, anyway?” The truth is different companies approach sustainability in different ways. Some use what are considered “sustainable fabrics,” others use up-cycled materials or deadstock fabrics that were leftover from other productions and would have otherwise been discarded. Some focus on the ethics of manufacturing to ensure the fair treatment of workers. There are a lot of ways to make clothing better for the environment and the people who make it, here are just a few ways we are committed to sustainability.
Slowing Things Down
1x1 was founded on the principle of slowing production and thinking about why we make the clothing we do. Our philosophy of releasing collections “one by one” was developed based on a reaction to two things:
- A remedy to the wasteful practices of fast fashion.
- A desire to be completely transparent.
Much of the waste from the fashion industry involves the overproduction of vast amounts of temporary trends that often end up in landfills.
This is the business model of the fast fashion industry: today, big companies are putting out over 52 releases per year. With a business operating on the idea of putting out low quality clothing at high volume, the goal of fast fashion is for consumers to buy as many garments as possible, as quickly as possible. And with designers creating new looks on a weekly basis, the fashion calendar for these companies is set up to deliberately make the customer feel off-trend after the first wear.
We want our line to be the go-to pieces you reach for again and again, so we feel they each deserve a story. When we release a collection one by one it lets us take the time to be completely transparent about how those products came to be. Customers can become captivated alongside us about the sweater made with wool from a sheep ranch in Oregon, and read more about that process on our website.
Our factories are located in the Los Angeles area. We believe in the power of collaboration — the craftsmanship and knowledge of our manufacturers guides and shapes our ideas. We found the experts who care about and obsess over quality as much as we do. Producing locally lets us maintain greater transparency, quality control, and we get to support the local economy to boot. Together, we create styles that compete with the high street without the negative impacts.
A fabric is considered sustainable when you account for its full lifecycle: how it’s grown, processed, woven, and eventually discarded. The fabrics we work with have a first rate reputation in the textile market for their sustainability, and we will keep adding to our fabric list as our collections grow.
Tencel is a biodegradable fabric made from Eucalyptus tree pulp. The trees are grown on sustainably run farms certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Eucalyptus trees grow quickly and require little water—unlike cotton—and no pesticides.
After the trees are harvested, they are processed in a non-toxic organic solvent. This is done to extract the fiber from the wood pulp. The solvent is almost 100% recycled in a closed loop production process.
The benefits of using Tencel include the traceable and sustainable origin of the wood pulp, as well as use of non-toxic chemicals and solvents in the fiber processing. Tencel is breathable, strong, drapes beautifully, and is wrinkle-resistant: the perfect fabric for our essential shirts collection.
Unlike Tencel, which has been patented for sustainability, the environmental impact of wool varies depending on the farms where the sheep reside, the treatment of the animals, and the processing of the wool once it is sheared.
As a fiber, wool is a naturally renewable resource, and when sheep are given the space and respect they deserve, it is highly sustainable. Standards for any wool source include: animal welfare, sustainable farming practices, and quality. You can read more about our wool source, Imperial Stock ranch here.
Imperial Stock Ranch also happens to be a wool supplier to Patagonia. Patagonia partnered with them to help define a new wool standard for their supply chain that reflects high, verifiable standards for both animal welfare and land management.