STATE of Mind - Sustainability, pt. 1

December 6, 2017

The fashion industry is in hot water. Last week, Ellen MacArthur's Foundation released a report detailing just how bad fast fashion is for the planet. Among her general warnings were some shocking numbers and unavoidable conclusions (cited from The Cut).

• Fashion production generates 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse emissions per year – more than international flights and shipping combined.

• Clothing production has doubled over the past 15 years, and will triple by 2025.

• Less than 1% of the material used to make clothing is recycled into new clothing.

• A truck-load of clothing is wasted every second across the world.

• Consumption of non-renewable resources could triple by 2050 to 300 million tons of oil a year.

• Half a million tons of plastic microfibers shed during washing ends up in the ocean; 22 million more tons may be added between 2015 and 2050.

The main problem? Consumer attitudes and an industry willing to feed our desires for clothing worn once or twice and then thrown away. The Report calls this "an outdated linear, take-make-dispose model"; the solution? 

A circular textile economy, based on cooperation, collaboration, and innovation. 

Some big-name designers and clothing companies are taking up the cause and working to transition to less wasteful systems of design, production, and distribution. And while this push is exciting and feels meaningful and timely, we can't forget that having the clothes made in a sustainable way is just as essential. The Earth needs our attention, but so do the people sewing our clothes. They come hand in hand. All of the recycled textiles in the world couldn't save the industry if people making less than a living wage were sewing them. 

We believe it is essential for us to be transparent about how STATE designs, produces, and markets our clothing (more on that soon!).

But for now, we wanted to leave you with a few assurances:

1. STATE's staples, Smocks and Frocks, are made from recycled men's button-down shirts. It's a part of the design and will never change.

2. Smocks and Frocks are sewn right in our hometown, Thomson, GA, by a band of women who've been seamstresses their whole lives. They're like family to us.

3. Every piece in our collection is designed in the STATE Studio, and many of them are sewn there too. This season, the Big Frumpy, the Layering Dress and Top, the Perfect Pants, the Overalls, and the Robe were made in Thomson by people we know.

4. Other pieces are sewn at a factory in NYC; we've known the owner and operator since our Brooklyn days, know her policies and motivations (working with small-scale designers is one), and feel lucky to have a production team we know and trust and focus on quality and kind labor.

5. All surface design is done in the STATE Studio, on a small-scale, by us.  

We do these things because we believe they're essential, that small really is beautiful. 

This is just the first piece in a series we're calling Sustainability & STATE, so keep your eyes peeled. We'll be back with more soon.