The Ethics of Fashion ft. Ankura
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Something you may or may not know about me is that my background is in Apparel Merchandising. One of my favorite classes at Baylor University was Case Studies, where we read about different situations in the industry and then draw out of a hat and had to defend a certain side. Something that always came up in this class, as well as my other apparel classes, were the ethics of fashion. Yes, how the "Forever 21s of the world" have often being accused of stealing designs or producing wasteful fast fashion, but also how things are made. Similar to the beauty industry, some brands try to sell you things as "better for the planet", when it's actually not. For example "bamboo fabric" that is usually the same or worse as manmade fabrics (not always the case though, ie Tasc Performance) or products labeled with fresh ingredients like ginger or kale, but they actually contain toxins?? Makes no sense.
Recently Ankura, a sustainable fashion company based in Peru, reached out to me and I am elated to share their story with you. One of the reasons I have increased my "Art of Versatility" posts is obviously because y'all like them, but also to help you get more out of your clothes and to shop smarter, so you "need" less. It's why most of the time I focus on staples and basics, not super trendy things. I meaaaan how many of you are actually wearing those two piece sets on the regular. Am I right?! Ankura works to create an ethical and sustainable line and believes that socially conscious business is not a trend, but a movement. To contribute to this way of life they follow the Code of Practice set by the World Fair Trade Organization, which includes but is not limited to
committing to fair trade and social justice
being transparent about everything from sourcing to financial information
working opportunities that are equal and have safe conditions
being concerned for the environment and cultural identity
Let's take a look at this Ankura Jade dress that I am wearing. It is made of 80% baby alpaca and 20% mulberry silk. First let's consider the alpaca. Alpaca is growing in popularity for many reasons - it's main competitor? Cashmere. Cashmere comes from none other than the cashmere goat. These goats are typically harmful to the rest of the ecosystem they live in, among other things. Here's several reasons why alpaca is a better alternative:
Alpaca wool is actually softer than cashmere
Alpaca wool does not contain lanolin like cashmere does, so it is actually hypoallergenic
Alpaca wool can be layered and worn more easily, because it is the lightest wool
Due to its rarity, Alpaca wool processing is regulated; this keeps the alpacas safe, making their wool sustainable
Ankura works specifically with Peruvian Alpaca, who ensures all of the wool that they source is responsibly processed. To touch briefly on mulberry silk, it is 100% natural, odorless, and hypoallergenic. It is the highest form of silk and is usually used for sheets and pajamas as well. Ankura also uses organic and pima cotton of course ethically sourced as well. While they do use some organic dyes, for the most part, they try to stay true to the fiber's original hues!
I'm so glad to have found Ankura. Their mantra lines up with my thoughts of buying apparel that is more on the classic side of the spectrum. Not to mention that it is quality and built to last, in addition to being responsibly made. Next time you look at a piece of clothing, check out the tag and look at where it's made. Look at the price tag and think about the person who made the clothing and how much you think they made from that one garment. It's kind of scary but something we all need to think about.
This dress is from Ankura's winter line, but their spring/summer line launches soon! The best part? I can pretty much wear this dress year-round and that silhouette? It's never going out of style. Be on the lookout for the newest line and other great strides this brand is making to build a better planet.
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