HOW WE DO
a candid Q&A with our founders. because Earth Day, yes, but more so because there needs to be a change and this is as good a place to start as any.
LET'S BE REAL.
going into the business of responsible fashion isn’t for the weak of heart. but lucky for us, we are anything but weak of heart. we are stubborn, and determined, and hellbent on creating a wardrobe that can look good and feel good and do good. and so, in honor of Earth Day, here is a completely honest look at how we approach the business of making clothing that is as responsible as it is chic. of doing our part to make the earth a better, cleaner, happier and more stylish place.
YOU LAUNCHED ÉPOQUE ÉVOLUTION WITH SUSTAINABILITY AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY TOP OF MIND. WHY?
we saw a lot of waste in the industry in our past work experiences — mainly around toxic chemical usage and wastewater management, leading to polluted water streams and poor soil conditions, all of which directly affects communities around the manufacturers.
we were turned off by the quick turnover of clothing in the fast fashion industry, with new styles constantly being pumped out in cheap quality and falling apart after a few washes. but we were also frustrated than even pricey garments of good quality required toxic drycleaning processes! … and that consider the working conditions for so many employees?
we knew we could not (for our own sake and the sake of the planet) start this business without responsible manufacturing practices as a foundation. so we looked at every aspect of the fashion manufacturing business when launching époque évolution.
AND WHERE DID YOU LAND?
with trying our best. we aren’t perfect (yet!) but we are looking at the whole picture. baby steps. we partner with local factories, like D.A.D. in San Francisco, which is close to our HQ. (less shipping = less carbon pollution!) we use deadstock fabric (excess fabric leftover from another brand or manufacturer) to make some of our garments (less waste!), and post consumer-waste regenerated fibers for others. (our bestselling orion legging, for example, is made from ECONYL® which is 100% regenerated nylon fiber from fishnets and other nylon waste!) we work with Italian mills that employ state-of-the-art wastewater management, solar facilities, and in-house recycling programs, and ensure our European factories all have responsible labor standards …and nothing we make is dry clean only!
HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHAT YOU COULD MANAGE?
well, we don’t make it easy on ourselves. we love our performance fabrics, but they have to be eco or manufactured responsibly (thoroughly monitor every single stage of the production’s cycle in order to reduce the use of water, energy, chemicals and waste), so that narrows the field quite a bit. we try to balance them out with natural fibers for those lighter performance days. we go to tradeshows, we network with other eco brands, we research online, we attend sustainability community talks and we constantly question whether or not what we are doing is still relevant and right. we are constantly looking for ways to improve.
BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY FOR THE FASHION INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE RIGHT NOW?
to use up the waste that exists, to continue to make sustainable fibers available, to clean up the manufacturing processes, to enforce safe labor regulations. it is impossible to highlight just one major opportunity — there are just too many.
ADVICE FOR HOW WE CAN ALL DO OUR PART?
say no to fast fashion, it's just not worth it. if a bargain t-shirt sounds like an incredible deal, consider the actual cost of making that t-shirt: the shipping, materials, the labor to sew it! buy wisely, and think about whether it is really worth having more clothing. we find a great deal of freedom when we have less. more is not better. and when you do buy, choose high quality from small local brands who have a commitment to sustainability (ahem!) — or go vintage. it makes you more creative, anyway!
YOU CAN FEEL GOOD ABOUT wearing ALL OF OUR CLOTHES
...BUT HERE ARE A FEW OF OUR FAVORITES.
GO-TO MOCK NECK TEE
sewn locally in San Francisco by a woman owned factory. cut from deadstock poly/merino wool which is discarded excess fabric from textile mills and garment factories that would otherwise be sent to a landfill.
NONSTOP TEE DRESS
made from our favorite natural fiber merino wool. this super fabric is rapidly renewable, biodegradable, and recyclable.
this Italian made woven fabric is a blend of post consumer waste recycled poly and our favorite renewable fiber - merino wool.
sewn locally in San Francisco by a woman owned factory. cut from deadstock merino wool which is discarded excess fabric from textile mills and garment factories that would otherwise be sent to a landfill.