Happy SUMMER everyone! How do you wear your values during summer, for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere? Tag us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to show off your summer fashion with our hashtags: #RemakeOurWorld + #WearYourValues! In fact, many Remake Ambassadors are doing the 90 Days #NoNewClothes challenge together this summer. Interested in joining? Contact Sam on Instagram or through Email to join the group!
For July, we rounded up three Remake-Approved brands below to inspire your choices to make fashion a force for good. We interviewed Nightswim, Akamae and KNOWN SUPPLY to bring you the stories behind these amazing brands on how to make the fashion industry respect women and our planet.
“Nightswim is a beachwear brand using recycled and organic fibers for the conscious collective. It is made in Los Angeles with care for mama earth and the people.” — Diana Ganem, Founder of Nightswim
What is Nightswim’ aesthetic?
Nightswim’s aesthetic is naturally moody with relaxed pieces that ooze an effortless edge.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud that I persevered and delivered a brand that genuinely cared for the planet and people every step of the way. I didn’t cut corners in the development process regardless of how complicated the eco or ethical avenues became.
What has your journey been like as a sustainable designer?
It hasn’t been easy. At times, I’d question why I was complicating my life by creating an eco and ethical collection. When I first started the sourcing process, we didn’t have as many alternatives because the demand wasn’t there yet. It was like a game of trial and errors that delayed the launch date by a lot.
I’ve had extensive experience in product development that generated much revenue for a well-known women’s line. It gave me a reference point on how it is to cut corners and operate successfully without pursuing a sustainable path. It was tempting, but I knew at the end of the day that listening to my values would bring more peace in the long run.
Do you feel like marketing Nightswim as sustainable has helped or hindered the brand?
For the most part, it helped the brand find the niche consumers that genuinely care about sustainability. It is also bringing awareness to an audience who isn’t necessarily interested in this way of fashion. I consider it a major win if we expose the fast fashion problem to even just one single human.
Where do you see Nightswim by 2022?
Nightswim has goals to expand beyond a fashion brand. I want to make a positive impact on our society through talks, and travel activations intended to empower, educate, and support women. I want to share our beach lifestyle with women who haven’t had the same opportunities or experiences in sustainability, travel, spirituality, wellness and community.
How do you wear your values?
I try my best to wear my values—I live a very minimal lifestyle now in Costa Rica most of the year, so my shopping, in general, has drastically reduced. The pieces I own tend to be from vintage or second-hand boutiques. Shout out to Wasteland and American Vintage in LA! I do support small designers who make quality pieces that I know I will wear for decades or sustainable retailers. I’m guilty of sample sale shopping, but I like to think this is a great way to shop if you want to save on-trend pieces that could end up in the landfill.
“Akamae connects fashion designers and refugee artisans to co-create change in the fashion industry through exclusive capsule collections fusing traditional skills and modern design. Akamae provides connection, a marketplace and a global reach for disconnected artisans living in refugee situations. The result is entrepreneurship, self-reliance and preservation of traditional skills.” — Cara Boccieri, founder of Akamae
What inspired you to found this company?
Akamae was a co-creation from the beginning. After completing my M.A. from the United Nations University for Peace in International Peace & Conflict Resolution, I made a name for myself with my unprecedented work on “holistic approaches” to refugee settlements. My research, the basis for Akamae, focused on cultivating self-reliance in refugee communities, moving away from our current global model of humanitarian aid, dependency and deficit, and towards a model of abundance, human connection and worth. During my research in refugee camps in 2011, I was hearing repeatedly from people the desire to use their traditional skills to work towards self-reliance. The missing link was access to a marketplace.
Tell us more about the Co-Creation model at Akamae.
Our Co-creation model requires each of us to shift perspectives and see all people as worthy: worthy of creating and worthy of joining our capitalist economy. Opposed to approaching each other with preconceived judgments based on power imbalances and resulting in fear and pity. Our entire approach comes down to authentic connection.
What is the most rewarding part of doing what you do?
The connections. The connections I have with the communities I live with. The connections I have living in the remote Jungle. The connections I build with clients and students who seek me out and come to work with me. And the impact I get to witness everyday that this approach to how we connect with each other has.
Can you tell us about the people of Akamae?
Our brass jewelry is made in a Kayan village where many women wear brass coils on their necks. Internationally, rumors exist that women there are forced to wear these coils. The Kayan women we work with were so surprised to hear this—no one had ever asked their thoughts on the topic—that they wanted to create jewelry which shared their stories and embodied their voices. We used brass from recycled neck coils and the jewelry became the story of choice. Each piece of jewelry embodies the essence of personal freedom and feminine strength, the actual representation of the rings in Kayan culture, starting with each women’s choice to wear them or not. It is exactly these stories, of the Co-creation journey, that we share on our website.
How do you wear your values?
This is so important to me! My everyday is an embodiment of my values. Every action I take, the way that I touch the world, is an act of chosen values moving through me. Love, connection, worthiness and abundance .If we are specifically talking about what I wear… I don’t buy much. My clothing is minimal. Mostly second-hand, passed on to me with an epic story. You might notice that my work is no different, wholly based on my values.
“KNOWN SUPPLY exists to humanize the apparel industry through connection and collaboration. We CONNECT our customers directly to the makers of their items, and we COLLABORATE with other companies to help them take part in an ethical production process.” — Kohl Crecelius, CEO & Co-founder of KNOWN SUPPLY
What were you doing before you co-founded KNOWN SUPPLY?
Before starting KNOWN SUPPLY I had spent 10 years growing Krochet Kids intl.—a social enterprise head-wear brand that empowered marginalized women globally through education and jobs in fashion production. This is how I learned the power of leveraging fashion to positively impact the lives of women abroad, as well as consumers everywhere.
What inspired you to co-found this company?
KNOWN SUPPLY was born out of our experiences trying to educate and change shoppers perceptions around where their clothing came from and WHO made it. We realized that more was needed to be done in order to help change fashion at a broader level. To do so, we decided to start the company with both a direct-to-consumer model, as well as a business-to-business element. In addition to producing and selling our own products, we also partner with other companies and organizations to produce apparel for them in an ethical manner. This helps to expedite our mission of connecting more shoppers with the people who made their products. More humanity, more empathy and more understanding follows.
What are the challenges of operating the company?
In the early days we didn’t have the knowledge, and there weren’t resources that are available today for transparency within production. As a result, we started our work by building two of our own production facilities from the ground up. We still manage these locations, but to help with our scale we have chosen to partner with Fair Trade USA to help ensure fair practices and additional program services for our makers. Even with that, it simply requires more effort for us to deliver on our promise of transparency. We visit factories, capture media, and work closely with makers to collect profile information. These are things that most brands just don’t even think about.
Who gets to put their names on the garment tags?
Very rarely is one individual responsible for the entire construction of an apparel item, even something as seemingly simple as a t-shirt. Typically, t-shirts are constructed in groups of 4-6 people so we have everyone responsible for making the t-shirts sign an even amount of labels. What’s most important to us is the direct connection that can take place when you learn about the humanity behind your clothing. Meet the makers here.
How are customers responding to the customization service?
We love the customization aspect for our apparel for a couple reasons. First, just as we hope for the makers of our products to be KNOWN, we also want our customers to be KNOWN as well. Letting people put their names or important phrases on their garments is a great way to deliver on our mission in a whole new way. Secondly, our customization takes place at our offices in Costa Mesa, CA. We restored a vintage chain stitching machine from the 1940s and it is a beautiful way to craft the personalization.
How do you wear your values?
When it comes to clothes I have a very limited wardrobe—I literally wear a red beanie every day. I only shop second hand or from brands that I believe have ethical production practices.
I believe being a part of the ethical fashion movement leaves little margin for purchasing frivolously. Our actions matter, to those around us and to the companies who want our buying power.
Prepping your arguments to convince people to wear their values? Click here to read “Why You’re Better Off Saying ‘Thank You, Next’ To Fast Fashion”.
Images: Courtesy of brands; Cover Image: Nightswim