“Fast fashion is not free. Someone somewhere is paying” -Lucy Siegle.
Sustainability is at the core of FABRIC
The Traditional Fashion Industry is Unsustainable
The fashion industry is in disruption because it is the second most polluting industry on the planet just under the oil industry. Consumer demand for low price points had driven manufacturing offshore to countries where there are not enough environmental or labor regulations. In order for brands to get their prices low enough, they are forced to over-produce in these unregulated, overseas factories. They end up with excess inventory that gets burned or put in the land fill. As a result, the fashion industry is in a spotlight as one of the worst industries for our planet.
The Industry is Starting to Change
In recent years, organizations like Fashion Revolution have shed light on these issues and have sparked a generation of consumers who are starting to care about what they wear. By regulating manufacturing and encouraging transparency in the industry, consumers become aware of the issues and they are starting to move further away from disposable clothing and starting to appreciate garments that have been made sustainably.
Sustainability can mean many things. It can refer to the materials used to make the garment as well as the methods and labor practices used. When manufacturing is re-shored back to the US where there are regulations and laws surrounding labor and environmental issues, then these garments are more sustainable than those made in a sweatshop that is unregulated. Additionally, when brands are provided the means to manufacture only what they can sell, this keeps excess inventory from taking up space in the landfill.
FABRIC's Sustainable Solution
Our mission is to provide apparel entrepreneurs with training, guidance, innovative industry resources, and access to no-minimum and on-demand manufacturing, so they can build sustainable fashion businesses domestically.
- We're on a mission to inspire the industry to re-shore apparel manufacturing.
- We offer no-minimum manufacturing to help reduce overproduction that results from high minimums overseas. This allows a new brand to test the design before they commit to large production runs.
- Our roadmap prepares brands for On Demand Manufacturing. This new technology is currently being developed by FABRIC's Co-Founder Sherri Barry. The first iteration is being tested and used at a facility down the street from FABRIC. Using a lot of robotics and automations, this new technology is the factory of the future and will provide a sustainable solution to over-production overseas and the labor and eco issues that have plagued the apparel manufacturing industry for decades. On Demand Manufacturing enables the customer to customize their order. This custom order is made in their specific size, color, and other requested design choices within three days. Then the order is shipped directly to the customer...virtually eliminating excess inventory and excess shipping.
- We're all about transparency. Not only do we allow brand owners to come see their products being made, we practically insist that they do. We teach them how to perform Quality Control checks on each step of the process.
- We pay our staff fairly because manufacturing takes a lot of experience and skill. We also don't pay piece rate which is illegal because it can result in an unfair wage. Each employee is paid hourly above minimum wage and are provided with benefits.
- We donate our cutting floor scraps to local designers to repurpose into garments under the label reFABRICate or to be recycled and reused.
- We have supported an enclave from The Centers for Habilitation in their efforts to upcycle ASU's old banners into tote bags that were sold in the ASU bookstore. We were recipients of the Arizona State University's President's Award for Sustainability for this program.
- We created AZ Eco Fashion Week to celebrate and support local sustainable fashion brands and provide education about sustainability to the community.
- We manufactured 600K sustainable medical gowns during the COVID-19 pandemic that can be washed 100x which has kept 60M disposable gowns from the landfill.
- We were recipients of the AZ Department of Environmental Quality's Voluntary Environmental Stewardship Program Award.