Galerie LA: Sustainable fashion Panel
A few weeks ago, we were delighted to have the honor of speaking on the Women in Sustainable Fashion Panel at GALERIE.LA. AmyAnn Cadwell from The Good Trade mediated the discussion as we chatted with Jordana Howard from Echo & Air, Rachel Denniston of HFS Collective, and Su Kim of Father’s Daughter about what ethical fashion means to each of us. These ladies shared with us some of the small steps and exciting leaps they took in the beginning of building their businesses and how they’ve overcome their toughest challenges.
This was an incredibly empowering and encouraging experience for us. It was clear and encouraging to see that we are not alone in our fight to create supply chains of empowerment. We all carry unique but equally inspiring messages but possess the same vision for sustainability.
Together, it is exciting to see the ripples of positive change we can make in the industry.
Here are our Top Three Takeaways from the evening:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
We had a fantastic audience asking some powerful questions. One question that stood out is, “What do I look for to know that a factory is producing ethically here in LA?” While answers were peppered from each brand, here are a few things you can do:
An L.A. City Council poster that ensures factory employees are being paid minimum wage. This poster is mandatory for all factories in Los Angeles.
Ask factory owners if employees are given workers compensation’ and health care. Although this sounds like a basic essential, it is sadly not always the case.
Ask the makers themselves. While it’s saddening, often you simply cannot assume how workers are being treated and you must have the boldness to find out for yourself.
2. Start with why.
From the HFS Collective’s hands free belt bags to Father’s Daughter’s small batch denim, each brand had such a unique story and purpose behind what they do. However, the resounding message from each panelist was to do what you love, and stay true to your message.
A beautiful example was when Jordana spoke about how each piece of clothing is a form of art. While there are often pressures to fit a more mainstream, wholesale image, she is authentic to the creator and designer that she is. Her gifts are used to simply express what she loves.
3. Start small
It was interesting to learn that almost all the panelists had experience working within the fashion industry, prior to diving into launching their own brand. This exposure led them to be impacted and appalled by the scale of waste perpetuated by fast fashion. The huge orders and quick turnaround times were unsustainable, and resulted in waste.
For us, it served as a great reminder of why we’re so passionate about slowing fashion down at Velé. Through supporting small or indie brands which only launch small batches of product, you are innately to helping reduce the large amounts of waste perpetuated by the fast fashion pace.