As the fashion industry is under hefty consumer pressure to rethink its polluting production practices, some retailers are showing some commendable progress towards infusing sustainability into their garments.
Take ÉTICA, for example, a Los Angeles-based denim brand that takes pride in considering every aspect of its supply chain, starting with the cotton. Due to the fact that growing cotton fiber involves an overwhelming amount of water and pesticide use, the company is actively seeking alternative fibers to blend with or completely replace its cotton use. These alternatives include lyocell made from fast-growing eucalyptus, recycled cotton from both pre- and post-consumer waste, and deadstock fabric sourced from Los Angeles warehouses.
Once the fabric is chosen, it is dyed using liquid indigo, rather than the powder that’s industry standard. This reduces water usage by an impressive 90 percent, energy consumption by 63 percent, chemicals by 70 percent, and produces less wastewater sludge. What’s more, all the wash stones used to create that ‘stonewashed’ look are “compressed into bricks to build low-income housing”.
On top of all that, the factory workers are paid a fair living wage, and ÉTICA invests in communities with annual donations to several charities. It’s an impressive list of qualifications that certainly makes ÉTICA stand out in an industry that’s notoriously bad for the environment, garment workers, and the communities that surround denim factories.