When we talk about ethical fashion, we often think about the way people are treated in the production process as the main factor for defining "ethical". This value is at the core of our mission to empower women through our fair trade design partnerships. However, as a company, we also deeply focused on preserving our beautiful planet by being very thoughtful about the way we produce our designs as well as the types of materials we choose to use for our collections. I just happen to be a massive nature lover, so being thoughtful about how Raven + Lily impacts our planet really matters to me personally. If we care about protecting our lovely planet, then we are ultimately caring for people as well.
The strongest environmental impacts of "fast fashion" are pollution and waste. Newsweek just wrote a fantastic article called Toxic Fashion, and The True Cost Movie details some of the most damaging effects of fast fashion on the environment. I highly encourage you to read this article and watch this film if you haven't already. And then share it with your friends, ok?!
As a company, we are committed to designing collections that include earth friendly materials, so here's a little of list to give you an idea of what the specifically means:
- Organic Cotton: our sweaters from Kenya, as well as our cotton totes and make-up bags from India are made using organic cotton, grown without using any chemical fertilizers or pesticides from non-genetically modified plants
- Vegetable Tanned Leather: we only source vegetable tanned leather for our Ethiopian purses and accessories, because chromium dyed leather causes excessive pollution, waste, and health hazards to those exposed to the chemical (both directly and through polluted water)
- Upcycled/Recycled Jewelry: our entire Kenya brass collection comes from brass that is re-purposed for our beautiful designs, and our Ethiopian jewelry collection is made melted down scrap metal and bullet casings
- Remnant Fabric Apparel: our Cambodian partnership is a zero-waste facility that creates our recycled remnant jersey skirts, pants, tees, tanks and more out of scrap material from factories
- Recycled Paper Journals: scrap fabric is used to create our recycled cotton journals through our India partnership
- Natural Dyes: for most of our silk and cotton apparel, we use natural dyes and plant based dyes that have a low impact on the environment as well as the people exposed to these dyes. In addition, the natural dyes are beautiful!
Finally, as a company we are committed to doing our part in the workplace: we use all eco-friendly materials in our shipping and packaging, we source reclaimed vintage wood for our store/studio furniture, we use environmentally friendly soaps and cleaners, and we practice recycling as a team! Every little effort counts.
We can make a big difference together if we take the time to exercise our power of choice to support ethical companies who care for both people and the planet. Our world is so amazing and beautiful. Let's keep it that way.