Iâ€™m at a crossroads with my fabric sourcing. For a few major reasons, Iâ€™m considering using American- and Canadian-made fabrics in addition to the surplus fabric I already use. And I would love your opinion!
the long story
As I've written before, the "perfect fabric" doesn't exist.
Lots of eco-friendly options are available, but there are tradeoffs associated with each of them. (Curious? Read more here.)
When I started Seamly.co, I couldnâ€™t decide which fabrics to use, because I found something flawed in all of them. And so, I started using surplus fabric -- excess from mills and factories.
Now, one year later, my vision is evolving, towards what I believe is a more sustainable model -- with a major focus on quality and longevity.
So, I'm considering mixing up my fabrics.
Here's why: We need reliable quality.
I'm finally ready to take Seamly.co in a more focused direction --
VERSATILE STAPLES THAT LAST. As we move towards this goal, there are three things that are really important to me.
Quality / Longevity. Season-after-season pieces that look as good after 50 washes as they did after 5.
Easy Care. By some estimates, 60% of the environmental impact of our clothes happens during laundering. Wrinkle-friendly, easy-care garments are a must.
Transparency. Using surplus, I can only trace about 1/3 of my fabric purchases. The rest? I don't know where it originally came from or how it was made. I'd like to change that.
What's wrong with surplus?
I source fabric for each new style. Sometimes, we'll even use multiple fabrics within the same style! I can't begin to describe the hours and money spent locating and quality testing origin-unknown fabric. About 2/3 of the fabric I use is untraceable, and, can be unreliable. (My best guess is that most is originally from China.)
I knew, starting out, that fabric would always be very uncertain. But I didn't understand the toll it would take on me, and the entire production process.
I want confidence in quality. I want to directly see where and how fabric is made. And I want to make the best products possible, that last a long time.
So what's next?
I want to continue using traceable USA-made surplus, but I have a few other ideas, too.
Iâ€™ve been researching two North American knitters. One is already my most reliable surplus source (they knitted the black and charcoal Versalette fabric, and fabric for the "No Sweat" Pants). I would still partner with them to use all of their surplus I possibly can, plus fabric they keep in stock.
The other knitter is based in Canada (Toronto) and has also offered to partner with Seamly.co -- we would buy their excess fabric, in addition to buying stock fabric they carry (organic options included).
I would buy surplus from both of these companies, plus fabric they knit here in North America. All traceable. All impeccable quality.
Fabrics would be a mix of rayons, cottons (some organic) tencel, poly, and modal.
The thing is, I donâ€™t want to make this business shift without your input. Because this is your company, too. So...
What do you think? Would you support a mix of North-American-made fabrics and surplus fabric? 1 = No, 10 = Yes. lowest12345678910highest Sorry, voting is closed.
OTHER COOL STUFF THIS WEEK:
Um, best Facebook comments EVER on getting centered and back-in-touch with creative ju-ju. Read 'em here.