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Sustainable fashion and the importance of rigorous certification
Conscious shoppers are often faced with the difficulty of judging the validity of clothing labels, which includes an ever increasingly list of terms like “conscious,” “eco,” “recycled” and “vegan”. Most of the time these vague labels are not regulated terms, meaning there is no way for shoppers to know the conditions for the factory workers making the garments, the farming practices used to grow the materials, the waste and pollution created in the process, or the impact this all has on the environment.
Fortunately, one company has moved to address this issue by impartial third-party certification. Founded in 2017, Terra Thread is a fashion brand that provides consumers with bags and clothing that are 100% organic and Fair Trade Certified™. I had the opportunity to talk to Vizan Giri, Terra Thread’s co-founder, about her vision for the fast fashion industry, the company’s recent move to use Regenerative Organic Certified® (ROC™) cotton, and their next step of development. Below are some of the key points from my Forbes article on the topic that highlights the work of Terra Thread:
Giri argues that practicality and sustainability are both important to consumers. She says, “Frankly, you have to make designs that people want to wear. No matter how sustainable a product is, if it isn’t stylish also, and practical, people will not buy it.” She adds, “A lot of sustainable brands have been historically pretty pricey. That’s why one of our key goals with Terra Thread is to make it as affordable as possible and be on par with other mainstream bag brands.”
Giri believes ROC™ can provide consumers with useful information beyond their existing certificates. “ROC™ is the highest standard for organic agriculture in the world and the only certificate with stringent requirements for soil health, animal welfare and the social wellbeing of farmers and workers,” She says.
Behind the decision to adopt ROC™ is Terra Thread’s commitment to workers welfare. Giri says “It’s very important to us that we actively support not only the wellbeing of our planet, but also the wellbeing of every single person in the supply chain.” She adds that “We felt like this (ROC™) was the next frontier in terms of supporting our farmers and working toward rehabilitating the environment.”
Terra Thread operates on a business model that allows it to pursue its long-term goals. Giri explains “Firstly, we are self-funded. That helps immensely because we don’t have to answer to anyone but ourselves. We are committed for the long-haul to build a brand that is environmentally and socially sound.”
Giri talks about the influence of the recent boom in sustainable brands. “With many sustainable clothing options, it is easy to over-consume, thinking that buying sustainable clothing does not affect the planet. This goes back to the same cycle as fast fashion,” she says. “We need to be mindful that we don’t need closets packed with sustainable clothes. I think that will make the greatest impact and keep products out of the waste stream in the long run.”
Finally, Giri also gives consumers with some advice on how to select the right product. “When you do need to buy something, go for products made of natural fiber, like organic cotton t-shirts. If you can opt for organic, it helps keep chemicals out of farming and out of landfills,” she says. “Plus, look for third-party verifications such as GOTS and Fair Trade, which you can find on item labels or brand websites.”
As I have discussed in a previous newsletter, fashion industry is experience a sustainability revolution, where we can find new products that embodies sustainability, affordability and practicability launched in an increasing rate. Terra Thread is among one of the fashion brands that fuel this revolution. Their success originates from their goal of maximizing the welfare of an extended shareholder group that includes their workers, farmers, and consumers.