Made without harmDo - August 10, 2018
Ever since I met Marci Zaroff, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be ‘made without harm’, about the things we wear and use daily and the impact on the environment and our bodies.
Over the past year, I’ve met the founders of and got to know 3 amazing brands who are creating clothing that is meant to last a lifetime and have a small an impact as possible during its production process.
First up is Feit– an organic shoe company founded by Tull Price. I met these Tull and his wife last year in New York and said to them they had to come to Green School! They came this year and I got to show them around.
Feit are the only organic shoes on the market. These shoes last forever and they fix them forever and they’re magic. They are made by hand. Tull traveled the world to find shoemakers still making shoes by hand and he found a tiny village in rural China. There is nothing in the shoe that isn’t natural, the stiffener is a piece of invisible bamboo, the sole is cork. It’s all vegetable tanned leather and they feel like nothing you’ve ever had on your feet. If other shoes are made for suffering, these shoes are made for heaven.
People, not machines, craft FEIT products. For thousands of years, humans produced products primarily by hand, building a global industry that employed workers in communities throughout the world. As machine automation / technology has advanced, human labor (and natural materials) is becoming the most expensive part of the production process. Corporations strive to deliver quarterly growth hence their focus increasingly moves toward automation as an opportunity to cut costs, thus rendering the human obsolete.
Though computer-automated production is better for the companies, it does not make it necessarily so for the customer, worker, earth…
The use of computer-automated production has necessitated the increasing use of synthetic materials, which are more uniform and predictable in the production process. Feit believes that producing products by hand from natural materials creates a superior product and wearing experience. Human decision-making allows the maker to use our materials judiciously, and to adapt and improve the product as needed during construction. Fewer machines also reduces the energy consumption and environmental impact of our supply chain / production process.
The second brand is Nudie Jeans. The greenest, most beautiful jeans. They are so cool.
Their NYC store blew my mind. They’re making beautiful organic cotton shirts and jeans where they can tell you what’s in them, where they were dyed, where they were made. They’re real jeans, you have to wear them in.
We always make social audits and follow-ups following the FAIR WEAR FOUNDATION (FWF) methodology at all of our manufacturing suppliers. This includes every step of the garment production, from stitching to laundry and packing units. We also check their subcontractors if and where applicable.
The audits done in Tunisia, Romania, Turkey and India are made by Fair Wear Foundations own audit teams. In Italy and Portugal, the audits are conducted in cooperation with MOST CSR , an independent audit consultancy firm who follow the procedures of FWF audit methodology. Once we start the follow-up process after the audit, the suppliers and subcontractors are given limited time to make the improvements we request. The time frame is something we discuss together with the supplier, whether one, three or six months are needed to apply these improvements. All audits are announced as we believe in good cooperation and an open dialogue with our suppliers.
In addition to audits, Nudie Jeans representatives visit our suppliers on a regular basis. Most of our suppliers and subcontractors carry out production all year around, but during production peaks we visit more often. Many of these visits are unannounced.
There is documentation of all our audit findings, for every unit where we have performed audits, and/or are in the process of improving conditions. You can download a summary of the audits as PDFs under each supplier.
The final brand (or platform) is Heddels.
Launched in March 2011 as Rawr Denim and reborn as Heddels in October 2015, Heddels is the most comprehensive online resource for quality clothing and accessories. By providing story-rich content and powerful tools that go beyond the visuals, we have been able to help millions of people make more intelligent lifestyle decisions.
The foundation of our website is our range of useful, in-depth content. From timely product releases and special weekly segments to educational guides and thought provoking editorials, we cover every facet of quality goods.
We also supplement our repository of articles with robust tools. The Scout helps denim heads find the ideal pair of jeans out of a database of 4,000 raw denim jeans and the Store Guide aids readers in finding a retailer based upon location and/or a particular brand.
One of the brands on this site is Sugar Cane– a company from Japan: “While most raw denim brands use 100% cotton fabrics, Sugar Cane often uses a blend of cotton and sugar cane fibres which is better for the environment due to the lower percentage of cotton used. Some of their best-known jeans are the Awa, Okinawa, and Hawaii – all of which are named after areas where the sugar cane plant is grown.”