Sustainability is at the core of our design philosophy. Nowadays it is a buzz word that is flippantly thrown around. But, what is sustainability? What does that mean to us? And, why should you care?
Sustainability is a complex concept and each person, business, or organization has their own definition. However, the most often quoted definition comes from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development:
“Sustainable development is development that meets the
needs of the present without compromising the ability
of future generations to meet their own needs.”
People: We want to make sure that we create everything in an ethical way, and that everyone is treated fairly throughout the supply chain and production.
Planet: This means being aware of how all our decisions and actions impact the planet and questioning whether it can be done in a better way that uses less resources or reinventing the system altogether. Just because something has always been done one way, doesn't mean there isn't a better, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly way to do it in the future.
Product: Our first priority is to make a product that is beautiful, desirable, and functional. Because let's be honest, if something is boring, ugly, or doesn't serve it's purpose it doesn't matter how sustainable it is. No one will care or want to buy it! Our hope is that choosing to make a purchase from us will promote mindfulness and reduce fast fashion purchases often referred to as "disposable fashion".
We want to change how people perceive sustainable fashion. That the two are not mutually exclusive and it can be just as stylish and beautiful as something high end. We know that sustainability is not everyone's first priority when shopping and that's a personal choice. So, we hope to give everyone a low entry point to learn more about it by focusing on our product first and making it desirable even if it wasn't sustainable.
Lastly, why should you care about sustainability? At the most basic level, we all live on the same planet and it is our responsibility to be good stewards. Just like in camping, we should leave it better than we found it. With climate change accelerating and the oceans on track to be more plastic than marine life, the earth is declining at an alarming rate. If we don't do something now, there won't be a planet in the future for your children or your grandchildren or great grandchildren. And, even if you don't have kids or don't want kids this affects you too! We are already seeing the affects of depleting resources and temperatures reaching an all time high. How much longer can we go before we can no longer eat seafood without ingesting microplastics as well? Do you really want to find out?
Our mission is to give you an alternative to what has become the traditional fashion system. One where the cycle gets faster and faster and the collections each year are more numerous than one can count. According to the Huffington Post, as of 2014 the fashion industry was churning out 52 "micro-seasons" each year. The average American currently discards 68 lbs of clothing each year. This is not clothing that is recycled or repurposed. This is clothing that is thrown into a landfill and most of it does not biodegrade because the majority of it is made out of polyester. Yet people continue to buy because fast fashion is cheap, but it is also designed to go out of season and not last. This is simply mind boggling and an unsustainable model, not just for the industry but the consumer as well. Who can keep up with that?
We are here to give you another option and these are the ways we are doing that:
- We don't follow the fashion calendar of when to release collections. Rather, we design and release new designs when it feels right and necessary.
- We make everything to order. This means we can better control our inventory and maintain high quality standards by making everything in house rather than outsourcing it. This also reduces unnecessary waste. We only make what is ordered instead of overestimating quantity and having excess inventory sitting around.
- Versatility is also important to us so that you can wear our pieces year round, whether it is on it's own or layered. We don't want you to worry about it going out of season or style.
- Another factor that we keep in mind is that our clothing is meant to last, not thrown out next year. So, we strive to make our designs timeless and high quality.
- And lastly, because we feel there is a disconnection between the consumer and the process in the current system, we want to bring you into the process. We want you to know who is making your clothing, how it is being made and where it is coming from. And, we will always be as transparent with you about it as possible. We talk a lot about this on our Instagram @vanhoangthelabel and hope to have a journal up soon!
We hope this gives you something to think about and as always value any suggestions or feedback you may have. Please let us know if there is anything you would like to know or get more information about. We are all in this together and capable of bringing about change. Thank you for your support!