It’s a word that is always thrown around in the fashion industry, claiming to be the difference between a company you should support and a company you should avoid. But what is sustainability, and why does this word hold so much power in the fashion industry? The answer lies in textile waste, and although we aren’t perfect, (IN)LARKIN does what we can to limit the amount of textile waste we produce as a company and small business in the fashion industry.
People typically don’t think twice about the impact our clothes and shopping habits have on the environment. From start to finish, the process of creating a single garment can be detrimental to the environment. Producing textiles requires a large amount of chemicals, energy, water, and various other natural resources, causing the depletion of non-renewable resources. Textile dyeing is also the second-largest polluter of water in general, and the leftover is disposed of in rivers, ditches, and streams. Unfortunately, a high level of demand for clothing is common, and fast fashion brands produce inexpensive and non-durable clothing more often and in higher quantities to keep up. Trends change frequently and because these fast fashion garments are low quality, they are disposed of when the season ends.
This ever-rotating carousel of trends leads to an increasing number of pieces thrown away per year. Many clothing items take 200+ years to decompose in a landfill, and this decomposition process produces toxic chemicals and dyes into the ground and our soil as well as omits greenhouses gases that are harmful to our environment. These affects aren’t even considering the space textile waste takes up in landfills that could be used for less harmful materials. Textiles clog up about 126 million cubic yards of landfill space in just one year. The true downfall of this number is that most of these materials are reusable, recyclable, or donatable.
The good news is everyone can do their part in limiting the amount of textile waste they produce, beginning with the companies they choose to purchase from.
At (IN)LARKIN, we strive to do our best as a small business to limit the amount of waste we create in all steps of the designing process. For starters, our owner and designer, Mary Beth Larkin, does not special-order raw materials or dye fabrics for her collections. She mindfully purchases stock fabrications that have already been created and uses that selection to create her pieces. This adds virtually nothing to the textile waste dilemma and instead utilizes materials that may otherwise be thrown away. She also uses excess fabric to create the exclusive accessories that can be found at our pop-up shops this summer. By using these fabrics in a multitude of ways, we are creating garments that can be guiltlessly worn by our customers who are pushing for a more sustainable life.
Besides materials and the design process, the next largest contributor to textile waste is the amount of clothes that are thrown away each year. This large amount is caused by the purchasing of trendy fast fashion from retailers that produce inexpensive and low-quality clothing. By the next season, those clothes are either in poor condition or out of trend and are considered unwearable by some. By committing to buying primarily from businesses who produce long-lasting and timeless clothing, you can limit the amount of clothes you dispose of every year. (IN)LARKIN offers pieces that are not only produced with more sustainable fabrics but are representative of these timeless styles the sustainability movement encourages. When you purchase from a business that’s is creating products with a longer shelf life and willing to commit to limiting textile waste, you can aim to reduce your personal carbon footprint. While a slightly more expensive way to shop in the moment, your wardrobe and the environment will thank you later.
While we aren’t perfect and living a completely waste free life is almost impossible, we strive to do our best to not create more textile waste than there already is, and we will continue to take steps to do so as we grow. By only using fabrics that have already been created and focusing on designing styles that will be closet staples for years to come, we can reduce the amount of textile waste that both we and our customers are creating. If you want to know more about (IN)LARKIN’s commitment to limiting textile waste, you can reach out to us on social media or through the contact tab on our website.