Sustainability At Ivory Ella
As a socially conscious and environmentally friendly brand, the virtue of sustainability is extremely important to us. We recognize that the well-being of our planet relies largely on the actions we take as organizations and individuals. Here at Ivory Ella, we pride ourselves in the strides we have taken to lighten our footprint, raise conservation awareness, and strive to make our planet a brighter, healthier place.
We sat down with Junior Designer, Betten Orr, to chat about the many sustainability efforts that Ivory Ella takes to establish and maintain an eco-friendly fashion brand.
Q: How does Ivory Ella practice sustainability? What are the key measures you take?
A: We do what we can to build products that are created as responsibly as possible while still being able to support our mission.
As an example, this is the lifecycle of our hoodies and t-shirts:
Our hoodies are made in India with one of our main partners. The fabric is made from 100% GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) Certified Organic Cotton. Cotton is grown in India, local to our factory. This is a sustainable product as the facility that processes the fabric is very environmentally conscious. That facility in particular harvests rainwater to lower its carbon footprint, while the processing facility also recycles 95% of all the water it uses.
All the machinery used to process the garment uses advanced technology which lowers water consumption as well as energy use. The garment itself is then cut and sewn in a facility that uses solar power, thereby lowering its carbon footprint in using a sustainable power source. And then when it’s time for us to receive our goods, all shipping boxes and packing materials are made from recycled paper.
Not only do we want to be sustainably conscious but we also try to keep as much of our process as local as possible. Once we receive our PFD (prepared for dying) goods, we send them to our local dyehouse in New Hampshire where each hoodie and t-shirt is hand-dyed and then passed onto our local print shop in Westerly, Rhode Island.
Q: What are the clothes made of?
A: We strive to use only organic cotton, and when synthetic materials are needed, we look for fabrics that have been recycled. For example, our leggings are not made of cotton but are made from 86% Recycled Polyester yarn (the other 14% is spandex) and the Polyester in our Organic Cotton/Poly sweatshirts and joggers is actually made from recycled coca cola bottles!
Q. What is the supply chain? How do products get to consumers?
A: In a nutshell, Ivory Ella has a few partners that we work with to create our products, this is basically how it works:
Our design team creates a product and specs it out about a year in advance. This means we design the garment or accessory, choose fabric, colors, and apply branded graphics. Then, we send out a Tech Pack (a document that is essentially a blueprint for the product) to our partners who create samples. We go back and forth on details until we have a finished and approved product - this gives our partners the green light to move into production. Shortly thereafter, we receive the product in our warehouse. From there, it goes live on our site and into the hands of our community!
Q: What percentage of your packaging materials are made from recyclable materials?
A: All of the poly bags that our product is packed and shipped in are made of recycled plastic. Whether it comes from India, China, or South America, we make sure this standard is upheld. Our next step is to tackle our paper-based assets - for example, the cardstock that some of our accessories come with. At Ivory Ella we recognize that there is always room for improvement and we welcome it!
Q: Where do you feel Ivory Ella excels in sustainability?
A: Ivory Ella is, at its core, a collection of like-minded people who want to leave this planet better than we found it. We came together with the joint passion for our mission, and this is what drives us to be as kind to the environment as possible. This core belief is a huge asset and is what drives us to do better and be better, season after season.
Q: Do you set goals when it comes to improving sustainability? How do you work to achieve them?
A: At the beginning of every season, the design team reassesses our line and evaluates where we can improve. We aim to increase our sustainable product line each and every time.
Q: How does being sustainable relate back to and connect with Ivory Ella’s mission of saving elephants? How does it relate to the overall company plan?
A: Our overarching brand mission is the most important part of the Ivory Ella design process. Saving the elephants is our primary focus, and to help us reach that goal, we design clothing and accessories that we think our community would enjoy. We do not want to negate this goal by creating products that cause more harm to the planet that we (and the elephants) inhabit.
Q: Do you think the fashion industry, in general, does enough to help the environment? Do you see this improving in the future?
A: The fashion industry has a long way to go. The fast-fashion model has made it increasingly challenging to create sustainable products that can compete. The only way to truly change the industry is to be picky and choose brands that are dedicated to sustainability. Every dollar a customer spends is a direct endorsement of a product's life cycle and production process.
Q: How do you communicate ways to be sustainable to your consumers?
A: This blog post is a pretty good start! But communication is a two-way street, we always welcome any and all questions, ideas, and feedback. The Ivory Ella community is full of wonderful people with amazing insight on how we can improve our process and we would love to hear from you!
Ivory Ella is constantly seeking new ways to improve its sustainability efforts. We hope that Betten gave you some insight into what really goes into creating that favorite tie dye hoodie of yours. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how we can continue to help the planet, be sure to contact us and let us know!