SAN FRANCISCO, United States — The average American now throws away about 70 pounds of clothing each year, which ends up in our landfills. Large companies like H&M and Zara, among others, who produce cheap fast fashion, vastly contribute to this environmental world waste crisis. Amid this growing problem, we decided to take a closer look at eco-conscious fashion start-ups as some obvious questions raise: Are they true to their vision of sustainable fashion? Or is it a marketing strategy and purely a revenue driver? We speak with two earth-conscience start-ups to find out.
Eco-Fashion Startup: Annaborgia
Annaborgia is a San Francisco-based vegan fashion brand launched in summer of 2015 by former wedding photographer Daniela Degrassi. Astounded by the disposable nature of wedding attire, she set out on a quest to revolutionise the bridal fashion industry with a more PETA-approved and sustainable approach.
Today’s brides and bridesmaids are looking for smarter alternatives to mass-produced, one-time-wear bridal attire. The brand’s innovation is a versatile evening wear that will break through in traditional formal wedding attire, and pioneer in creating sustainable, cruelty-free and ethical evening wear that easily transition from day to evening, spring to autumn and wedding day to resort.
Annaborgia defyes the tradition that you should only wear your bridal dress on your wedding day, and encourages brides to look outside the box when purchasing their wedding attire. In doing so, this brand keeps us away from the madness of seasonal collections and fast fashion, while tackling the massive clothing waste currently piling up in our landfills.
Despite these efforts, is the company meeting consumer demands while also remaining true to its vision of sustainability?
The designer thrives on creating a capsule collection using only luxurious vegan, cruelty-free fabrics made from Japanese textiles free of toxic dyes that are harmful to the environment, not to mention that the fabric is wrinkle-resistant! Who wouldn’t love a wrinkle-free wedding dress? It allows those that dislike ironing and practical jet-setters to ease their travelling without the extra burden of steam or dry cleaning the dress, thus also avoiding chemicals on the dress that can contribute to Earth pollution! In addition, the brand is designed in Italy and manufactured ethically in San Francisco, thus, also eliminating overseas production and workers’ exploitation.
Annaborgia: What we think
Annaborgia is true to its vision of sustainable fashion in bridal wear. The label recently won San Francisco’s “Best Sustainable Collection of 2016”, so they must be doing something right. We especially love that the fabrics are vegan and wrinkle-resistant. Their recent 2016 capsule collection of classic-coloured minimalism and simple silhouettes, makes re-wearing a wedding gown to another event a hassle and guilt-free second experience.
Not only will we save money on not having to buy a new dress, but putting good use to the dress we love and know we look good in, is certainly a win-win situation! The collection is sold exclusively on-line to avoid over manufacturing of multiple sizes and styles that may go to waste associated with a physical store. This also keeps the brand’s overheads low to ensure luxury products and top-notch craftsmanship at a reasonable price point from $125 to $700.
Eco-Fashion Startup: Rebagg
Rebagg is a fashion e-commerce startup founded a few years ago by a team out of Harvard Business School along with Google to fill a void in the resale marketplace. Headquartered in New York City and backed by leading US venture capital firms and superstar angel investors Fabrice Grinda, Rebagg is taking reuse and recycling of your designer handbags to a whole new level.
Rebagg.com is an on-line service conceived to purchase pre-owned designer handbags from customer’s closets and partners with stylists and personal shoppers through a strategic and incentivised programme. Conveniently, turning your bags into cash. The service is more instantaneous compared to consignment as they pay upfront (2-3 business days after they receive your handbag). Also, they don’t take any commission, thus the individual receives 100% of the quoted price. It’s a sustainable, new way of shopping for luxury designer handbags.
Is the company meeting consumer demands while also remaining true to its vision of sustainability?
Rebagg is technically not an eco-conscious fashion brand, but rather a new way of shopping. The company’s vision was not intended to be sustainable, but rather to fill a void in the resale marketplace. Unintentionally, this way of shopping does contribute to a more sustainable, ethical and cruelty-free luxury lifestyle because it promotes buying and selling used luxury products.
Rebagg: What we think
We believe that this smart way of shopping is environmentally responsible because by continuing to recycle (resale or reuse) second-hand designer handbags, it prevents us from purchasing a brand new one. Just think, if more people started to shop this way, there would be less demand for new products. In return, there would be a decline in wasteful materials sitting in landfills, less cruelty in animals for their skin and less child labour as the knockoff market will also dwindle down. Little, as it may be, is still contributing, and it does make a difference.
We conclude that Rebagg’s vision wasn’t meant to be an eco-conscious company to begin with, but we found the end result of this new age shopping experience to be, well, conscience shopping. And that may be just good enough for us!