Updated: Oct 22, 2020
It is projected that 35.4 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste will go to U.S. landfills this year. Meanwhile ocean plastic pollution has reached a critical point due to an overabundance of disposable consumer products and synthetic micro-plastic shedding fabrics like polyester.
The Sustainable Fashion Alliance hosted an informative conversation with Patricia Ermecheo, Founder & CEO of OSOMTEX and Osom Brand; Jedannah Vieira, Controller at Rothy's; Andrew Graham, Director of Custom Projects at Marine Layer to answer the tough questions behind our nation's waste problem.
-What innovation technologies are in place to recycle our post-consumer waste?
-What are the limitations to textile and ocean plastic recycling?
-How can fashion brands develop circular strategies to mitigate production and post-consumer waste?
-What can we do as consumers to encourage this shift?
Patricia Ermecheo is an environmental entrepreneur who founded OSOMTEX, a company committed to keep clothing and textiles waste away from landfills, closing the loop in the fashion industry by offering the world the first of its kind ethically manufactured high-quality yarns, fabrics and apparel goods made from 100% post-consumer and post-industrial textile blends. The patent pending process uses no water, no dyes and no harsh chemicals while diverting more than 40 million pounds of unwanted garments away from landfills since Patricia sustainability mission started her mission in 2011 also saving 10+ million gallons of water and carbon emissions each year by preventing the generation of unnecessary virgin and synthetic resources like cotton and polyester.
Jedannah Vieira is the Controller at Rothy’s, supporting business strategy and defining financials at the fast-growing San Francisco-based company. With a passion for fashion and sustainability, Jedannah was inspired by Rothy’s mission to transform recycled plastics into beautiful, endlessly-wearable shoes— joining the company in March of 2018. As Controller, Jedannah leverages over twelve years of experience spanning finance and accounting, audit and controls, insurance, banking and consumer tech. In recent years, Jedannah has dedicated her career to the mindful production of consumer goods at VSCO, Artifact Uprising and now Rothy’s. Jedannah is a CPA, having served on the board of Canada's Fashion Takes Action and The Living City Foundation one of Toronto's conservation authorities. Jedannah graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University. She lives in San Francisco, California with her family.
Andrew Graham is the Director of Custom Projects as well as the leader of Marine Layer's sustainability efforts, aptly called the Green Team. His primary role is developing new sales channels including corporate swag, wholesale and brand partnerships. Andrew started his career as the 8th employee at Groupon and was part of the exponential rise and eventual fall after going public. Following Groupon, Andrew moved to SF to launch a sales team at a software start up. During that time Andrew discovered Marine Layer and became a huge brand advocate and top customer. Since joining Marine Layer, Andrew has started a growing channel for Marine Layer while also learning more about the environmental impact of the apparel industry. Re-Spun by Marine Layer has been a full company effort that has now officially launched on April 28th.
The discussion was moderated by Andrea Plell, the cofounder of the Sustainable Fashion Alliance.