Eco-Friendly Designs: Look Good, Feel Great05.18.11
Behind every great brand is a story about an idea that comes to fruition with a lot of care, time and work. Cotton Candy contributor Joann Pan goes behind the scenes with two green designers to find out what made their unconventional endeavors rise and thrive.
Love and do good. Daily ideals? Or perhaps something individuals strive to accomplish once in life. It seems like an unconventional wave of thought to include clothes into a conversation about love and goodness, however for Vancouver-based denim brand Goodsociety it was the perfect line of thought.
Goodsociety’s founder Ryan Shantz began his journey in the Himalayan Mountains in Northern India before the idea of environmentally conscious clothing took root. Here, he met a group of children that were living without the grandiose luxuries, with no clear food source day to day. All the children he came across were however living with an incomparable joy for life even in the face of daily hardship. Inspired by the children’s zest for life, the Goodsociety’s compassion-driven brand built on helping these children and others in need was born. Organic denim made to fit and be flattering for both men and women in the global market is the basis of bringing immeasurable change in needy communities, one or a few at a time.
(Dolls, click through the photos below.)
Love and goodness have helped create a global web of improvement—not just with good-looking denim, but with a trickle-down effect from the denim line created with caring in its roots. The denim line is made from organic cotton grown by local farmers on an Indian mill. A continent away, about a thousand cotton farmers are trained and working with a green growth regimen composting, using pesticide-free pest management alternatives and upholding standards of organic farming. “We believe that love will do good. This means that from our fabrics to our manufacturing and our giving back, we desire to create a line that inspires others while caring for others in the process,” Shantz explained.
The company is inspired by people and their willingness to get involved to spread good to others. Workers at Goodsociety say they hope to bring change to the life of people who desperately need it with the sale of environmentally conscious denim.
Goodsociety specializes in denim products in a variety of slim, straight and relaxed options in different washes. The company offers to give a quarter of its profits to different organizations that focus on various efforts abroad. Currently, Goodsociety is in partnershop with SA Foundation, Dalit Freedom Network and Child of Mine.
Goodsociety believes in down-up measures of giving—starting locally and interacting directing with the individuals they are trying to help. “Interacting directly with the individuals that we are sharing profits with reinforces to us the purpose of our work and the lifestyle approach that we embrace,” Shantz said. “While we haven’t solved world hunger or homelessness yet, we love knowing and seeing the people that we are helping. Having twice visited on of the children’s homes that we partner with in Northern India, it’s been inspiring to see Chutzin or Vinay or Sanjay and how excited they are with life in general.”
Allison Teich McGowan is the owner of a beautiful boutique in Manhattan’s East Village. TEICH is located on a street that is hushed and neighborly. When Cotton Candy went to visit, there were children playing in the street and people drinking coffee outdoors at village favorite Abraço Espresso. The space is lined with homemade jewelry and other goodies. Bags hang from handles all over the store. It’s the perfect place to pick up earrings as a gift or as an impulsive pick-me-up. It’s a store you don’t leave without buying something unless you’re able to resist the call of the perfect accessory. But, you can feel good about this splurge because with each purchase know you are helping the environment and economy.
(Dolls, click through the photos below.)
Teich McGowan says she has always been concerned with the environment and interested in green design even as someone with a background in film and video. The designer started in green design with a line called Again NYC, which sold limited edition bags made from entirely rescued and re-purposed materials. These bags were simple, clean and good for the environment. TEICH launched two years later to reach a broader audience incorporating a new design ethos, but maintaining the same standards of sustainable goods.
The designer uses dead stock from her factory in Brooklyn, NY, vintage materials and local materials in her work. Stunning handbags, clutches, totes and wallets are made from vintage lambskin, deer skin, hemp blends, organic cotton, canvas and dead stock. With the rebirth of the brand also came the incorporation of products by local designers in her East Village store. In the store, you’ll find jewelry from The Andean Collection, Studio DuArte and Snoozer Loser. The Andean Collection features jewelry made in artisan workshops in the Andes regions of South America.
Teich McGowan says she strongly believes in supporting local. “I found that I got to a place where shopping at H&M or Urban Outfitters became wasteful. It’s hard to tell someone to go find eco-friendly products. Instead, buy something made locally that is good quality that you will wear awhile. It’s better for the environment and economy.”
Cotton Candy Contributor: Joann Pan