On October 24th, the Sustainable Fashion Alliance partnered with Fibershed for a conversation about shifting the needle in the apparel industry with a focus on regional economies and localized production in California.
From farming to production to shipping and consumer use, the apparel industry accounts for more carbon emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined. If we continue with business as usual, fashion is poised to account for nearly one-third of our global carbon budget by 2050.
Regional value chains offer an alternative to the status quo -- an opportunity to invest in local livelihoods and the restoration of fiber-producing landscapes. Each year, California produces nearly 3 million pounds of wool, more than 1 million bales of cotton, and supports tens of thousands of workers in the garment industry. Additionally, various efforts around the state focus on regenerative agriculture which brings true circularity to the fashion space-- like Fibershed's Climate Beneficial Wool project.
Panelists included Rebecca Burgess, founder and Executive Director of Fibershed; Ryan Huston, founder of Huston Textile Co, a farm-to-fabric mill located near Sacramento, CA; Taylor Jay, founder of Taylor Jay Collection an Oakland-made sustainable fashion brand; and Lydia Wendt, founder of California Cloth Foundry sustainable fabrics and wholesale basics.
Attendees explored locally farmed, designed and milled fabrics from Huston Textile Co's latest organic chambray release as well as samples of the Cleaner Cotton Project, a biologically farmed sustainable cotton grown in California.
Taylor Jay, a member of the Sustainable Fashion Alliance, hosted the event at her Oakland brick and mortar. Fashion designer by trade, Taylor spoke of the importance of designing for inclusion and making clothing that all women will want to wear for years to come- even if their bodies change. Her collection of modal/organic cotton blended garments are exclusively made at a manufacturing facility in Oakland.