When I started Janee Michal, one of the most frequently asked questions was, why a slow fashion brand? My love for the fashion industry started at a very early age. When I was 12 years old, my mother taught me how to sew. I was instantly hooked.
As I learned more about fashion in the United States, I soon realized that they did not even produce many things in the United States. This led me to research the supply chain and see exactly where things were being made. To my discovery, I saw that most fast fashion brands items are manufactured overseas. Why? Because it was being done at a fraction of the price, it would take to be made here locally in the states.
Why are the clothes from bigger fast fashion companies so cheap? I know how much fabric and supplies cost, and this just wasn’t adding up. It was disturbing to find many of the horrors of manufacturers overseas. Under age workers, unfair wages, poor work environments. Being the empath that I am, it disturbed me tremendously to know that something I loved to do was being done is such an unpleasant environment.
Slow Fashion Brand
When creating sustainable fashion, it is important for me to ensure my production process is environmentally friendly. I focused my brand on sustainability and ethical practices. My goal is to create items is small batches to prevent unnecessary waste. I seek like-minded companies who stand by the same principals to collaborate with. From fabrics to packaging supplies, I purchase from eco-friendly companies.
One of the most important factors when designing products is finding the right fabrics. Not only is the design of the fabric very important, but the textile itself plays a huge role in the final product. The texture, amount of stretch, and the weight of the fabric can make or break how a dress will drape on your body. With the same respect, it will also affect how sturdy your tote bag or makeup bag will be.
I am constantly seeking sustainable materials to product my products. In addition to these factors, it is important for me to use the best sustainable fabrics I can find to ensure I produce not only a safe garment that will not have any toxic chemicals in them, but also the best quality to ensure the garment will last for many years. Here are my top 5 sustainable fabrics that I source when designing everything from organic hair scrunchies to organic lined makeup bags.
Linen is one of my favorite sustainable fabrics to use for clothes and facemask. It is a natural fiber that is plant based and biodegradable. Linen is made from the reed of flax plant and is often combined with cotton to create a fully biodegradable and soft textile. It is eco friendly and does not require pesticides to grow.
Linen is antibacterial and can inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungus. People love to wear linen because of how great it feels next to your skin. It is naturally breathable and helps to keep you cool. This is ideal for the spring and summer months. It is extremely durable, and more resilient than cotton.
They made hemp from the fibers of the cannabis sativa plant. It is extremely resistant to pest and does not require pesticides to thrive. Because of its resistance to pest, it produces significantly more fibers per acre compared to cotton of flax.
You can use hemp fabric for a variety of products such as apparel, home furnishings, and shoes. Hemp is extremely durable and one of the strongest fibers made today. This makes it an excellent fabric for outerwear and bags. This fabric blends very well with many fabrics, which create a softer but strong textile.
Vinyl is the most popular alternative to leather. The issue with traditional vinyl is when it is being processed, it emits a toxin called dioxin. They have linked dioxin to reproductive and immune disorders. They have also linked it to cancer. Now there is a healthier alternative, pvc free vinyl.
PVC free vinyl doesn’t contain this toxin and is a healthier alternative. The texture is also very similar to leather and can be a great vegan leather alternative. You can use this for bags, wallets, keychain wristlets, or accent pieces that may require a small amount of stability that leather brings.
Cork is another great alternative to leather. It comes from the trunk of cork trees and can be harvested every ten years. The great thing about this is the trees do not need to be cut down for this process. This leaves the trees unharmed, and this allows them to live up to 250 years.
Cork normally comes in tan and browns, which is very similar to leather. You can also find cork that has been dyed in denim blue, blush pink, purples, and many other colors. This is great for accent pieces for a bag, or anything that requires a firm hand. You can also find cork in some nice designs such as floral, butterflies, or rainbow.
The elephant print is one of my favorite designs on cork. I use this for a very limited clutch bag collection. I also use cork for to make keychain wristlets. This is an excellent alternative to leather, as it has the same texture and is eco-friendly.
Another great eco friendly fabric I use is recycled canvas. The fabric I source from Spoonflower is 100% polyester and has 50% REPREVE. REPREVE high-quality recycled fiber that helps conserve energy and natural resources. 10 recycled bottles are used to create 1 yard of fabric. This will make a tremendous impact on the environment.
With the texture and weight of the fabric, I love to use it to create cosmetic bags, tote bags, and more.In addition to the fabric, I also use recycled canvas for some of my graphic t-shirts. The shirts are a mix of recycled polyester and organic cotton.
Cotton is one of the most popular textiles used in fashion manufacturing. However, conventional cotton is one of the most toxic fabrics, as they heavily sprayed it with pesticides. It also takes large amounts of water to maintain the crops. Because of the many illnesses linked to the toxins, organic cotton production is gaining popularity.
They grow organic cotton without the use of pesticides and without genetically modified plants. Organically grown cotton has enormous effects on the environment by using less water, less energy, and doesn’t damage the soil like conventional grown cotton.
Organic cotton is my first choice when looking for sustainable fabrics. I like to use organic cotton in clothing, face mask, scrunchies, and lining of all of my makeup bags. I also have a line of graphic t-shirts that are made with 100% organic cotton, and those that are mixed with recycled cotton.
This is my top sources for fabrics in my slow fashion business. There are a few other sustainable fabrics on the market now. Some are plant based and a few are sourced from animals. Being an ethical company, I will never use any fabric that is sourced from animals. I stand by the belief that we can have nice quality clothing without inflicting harm.