Source4Style is a Big Step for Sustainable Fashion

When you’re planning collections, one of the most important steps in the process is choosing fabric. The weight, touch and feel are important upon first look, but drape and fit will prove just as important once samples are made. However, if you’re a new company or designer looking for both a fabric supplier and threads that are sustainable and socially responsible, it can be a pretty tall order.

In comes Source4Style. Founded by model and eco-fashion advocate Summer Rayne Oakes, this site connects designers and suppliers in a way that was never possible before. For instance, let’s say you wanted to design a dress with only organic cotton. You may have in mind what type of fabric you’d like, but the biggest challenge moving forward would be finding a supplier. Most suppliers don’t have ready contact information just sitting in the phone book or a functioning website to visit. Business is typically done over the phone or face-to-face, recommendations come from word of mouth, and even then you’ll want to shop around.

From a pure sourcing standpoint, this site is a massive improvement in the industry. But when you add the eco-friendly and sustainable element in, the true value of this resource becomes evident. You can not only search by fabric type, color and other key filters, but you can search for suppliers based on their sustainability rating – recycled, handmade, organic, fair trade, craft preservation, vertically integrated. In addition to being a great sourcing resource, the site curates articles and posts from a-listers in the eco-fashion world like Amanda Hearst, Angela Lindvall and Marcella Echavarria. One of the more useful articles I found today was entitled “Top 5 Sourcing Tips for Emerging Designers.”

So, kudos to Source4Style and their efforts to democratize sustainable fashion for more designers and more companies. This site will ultimately help drive eco-trends that will have positive impacts on our planet and people for years to come. We look forward to watching it grow!

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Honoring Craftsmanship

It’s oddly ironic today that my mind is on craftsmanship, but with the the craziness that surrounds cyber monday (of which we are participating, too!) I thought it’d be a nice contrast to reflect on the beauty of making great clothing. We talk about craftsmanship a lot at the office. Having been told by many manufacturers that our products are too difficult or time intensive to make, it can be a challenge to refocus factories, customers, buyers and retailers on quality, not quantity.

Hermes, which was one of the founding fathers of the “slow clothing” movement, recently did a beautiful artisan-inspired art installation on the lost art of creating quality clothing. Yes, Hermes is a luxury brand and out of most everyday consumers price range (including myself!), but I admire how they’ve championed contemporary craftsmanship. Here’s some details on this inspiring installation:

“Contemporary Craftsmanship” // Hermès: contemporary artisan. A unique interpretation by CuldeSac™.

Like every season, Hermès launches its new collection of accessories inspired in the maison’s brand values.

“Contemporary craftsmanship” highlights the brand´s savoir-faire and the artisan´s work through a contemporary prism portraying Hermès accessories as timeless objects of art.

Time and balance, discipline and precision, craftsmanship and raw materials, curiosity… And the artisan’s maxim: bringing objects to life.

Nine installations with artisan soul designed by the creative team devised a magical tour around the 400m2 stately house, emulating the behind the scenes environment of the atelier, capturing the magic and values of the artisan work.

Southern Designers Leading the “Made in USA” Charge

Ever since officially joining the “Made in USA” community this Spring, we’ve been overwhelmed and inspired by fashion brands like ours that are committed to creating a better local, regional and national fashion economy. Entrepreneurs and brands making USA fashion are few and far between, and statistics about the clothing we buy here are pretty grim. Journalist Erika Miller sums up the predicament pretty well in a report she did for PBS’s Nightly Business Report:

Like many people, I was well aware of the statistics about the decline of apparel manufacturing in the U.S. just 5% of clothes sold in America are made in America, compared to 95% in the 60’s. The decline, of course, is a reflection of the striking difference in pay for a NYC Garment Center worker (roughly $18 an hour) versus a worker, say, in Burma (roughly 8 cents an hour).

And while we were pleased to find out that some major labels like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s StyleMint and The Row lines are USA made, along with most of Nanette Lepore’s dresses, we are most impressed by small fashion businesses like ours that are doing it, too. So, here’s nod to a couple of our Southern neighbors that proudly wear the made in USA label.

Jolie & Elizabeth // www.jolieandelizabeth.com 

This fashion brand specializes in making the sweetest summer seersucker dresses. Their frocks epitomize Southern style, and are all roughly $200 or under. We love their style, and we’ve included a couple of our favorite pieces, which you can shop here.

Kristin Drohan Collection // www.kristindrohancollection.com

Described as “eco friendly, durable and high style” Kristin Drohan’s furniture collections are stylish and made entirely in Hickory, NC. Her pieces are functional, beautiful and “green” in so many ways. We’ve hand-picked some of our faves, but we encourage you to check out her full collection here.

Kristin Drohan Collection