Earth Day 2020 is here, and as we shelter in place, quarantine, or care for our loved ones, this year’s celebration of the natural world doesn’t look much like we’d have ever hoped or expected. But if anything, this year, it’s more important than ever to consider what we can do for the health of our only home planet, as COVID-19 reveals how truly vulnerable human society is — even more so when we work against the Earth rather than seeking out a more harmonious existence with the natural world around us.
Elle Wang, founder at Emilia George and Marjorie Verschueren, founder at Choix are discussing their commitment to creating sustainable clothing for modern mothers with conscious fabrics.
For me, I’m looking to this year’s Earth Day (from the vantage point of the interior of my family’s apartment, of course) with renewed inspiration to take our commitment to safe, sustainable clothing and go even further. For example, I’m thrilled that our elegant, versatile Zena dress was just officially certified by ECORPET. You’d hardly guess this silky, easy-wearing model began life as a collection of PET plastic bottles, yet the fabric comprising our lady Zena is just that.
ECORPET is a new kind of polyester fiber that represents an improvement in every way over traditional synthetics, and it perfectly embodies the ethos behind Emilia George. The process of creating this 100% recycled material begins with sorting and de-labeling used, high-quality PET bottles. They’re put through rigorous cleaning and crushing processes, then reduced to short fibers which can be converted into different types of yarn. From there, these yarns are woven into wearable material, called PRET fabrics, which are incredibly durable yet unexpectedly silky and luxurious to the touch. And if this sounds like a concerningly heavy-duty manufacturing process, fear not—it isn’t.
The beauty of ECORPET’s production methodology isn’t just the recycling aspect, but the fact that the entire process from start to finish requires less energy than standard polyester manufacturing. These materials not only pull waste from the waste stream, but they also reduce energy consumption associated with fabric production and help lower emissions from pollution. It’s the kind of top-to-bottom sustainability I envisioned when I founded Emilia George and which I’m over the moon, now, to see made into a wearable reality.
The Zena dress, though, is just one piece of the puzzle. In mid-May, we’ll launch our 100%sustainable summer collection. In addition to organic cotton blends, we’re continuing to work with fabrics like organic, recycled cupro, and biodegradable bamboo. Cupro is a wonderful alternative to silk: washable, wrinkle-resistant, and believe it or not, a by-product of cotton production that might otherwise go to waste. Bamboo, meanwhile, is a mainstay of sustainable clothing production as the plant, which is inherently organic, matures in a comparably lightning-fast two years.
At Emilia George, these fabrics are almost all vegan as well as OEKO-TEX certified, which means they’re certifiably safe for human contact, free of harmful chemicals and other substances. It’s just what we want for our mamas on a mission, and what’s absolutely necessary for the little ones we’re nursing and cuddling close.
After all, it’s the generation in diapers or still in utero that’s central to what Earth Day is all about.
When this day comes around each April and I take stock of what I’m doing for our planet, how I can improve, and the ways I’ve progressed since the year before, my focus isn’t myself. Even if my attention is attuned to what’s going on with me and around me in the present, it’s always with an eye to what the future holds for my young son. What kind of world will he inherit? My strongest wish is for a society far better attuned with our Earth and increasingly mindful of her needs. And as strange and unexpected as this year’s Earth Day maybe, for me, I’m cherishing this vision more than ever. From my family to yours, wishing you a happy, healthy, and thoughtful Earth Day.
I have worked in the textile industry for over 10 years and I’ve seen the damages that the industry has on our Mother Earth. Becoming a mother made me even more conscious and changed the way we live and we consume. I am not perfect but I definitely strive to make better choices such as shifting to clean beauty, shop farmers produce, reduce the use of plastic in our house, etc…
There is no Planet B, this Planet is what we are going to leave behind for our children. I am hopeful by informing and being united, we can change and make our planet better. I believe retailers have the power and duties to take action to offer better alternatives to their consumers.
From Day 1, Choix's mission was to create clothes in more sustainable ways. The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. From water pollution and consumption, microfibers in the oceans, wastes accumulation, chemical addiction, greenhouse gas emissions, soil degradation, and desertification to rainforest destruction.
Being 100% sustainable in fashion doesn’t exist. From the moment you start creating something new, resources will be needed. But there are solutions and alternatives to reduce our footprint and that's the route we are choosing for the different aspects of our business operations.
We produce locally in the U.S where we can visit our manufacturer and ensure good labor conditions and fair wages. Keeping production local means less of a carbon footprint.
For our debut collection, about 70% of our fabrics are sourced from deadstock places, meaning there are the left-over fabrics of other fashion houses who might have overestimated their needs. We select only breathable and more natural fabrics. The rest is sourced from responsible suppliers and we choose sustainable materials. Our Annie Dolman Wrap Top is made of super-soft Tencel™ Modal which is a type of rayon cellulose fiber derived from sustainable wood sources that are harvested from renewable tree groves. Low toxicity solvents are used (and recycled to be used again) to convert wood pulp into a fiber. I share the same love for Cupro fabric as Ella and we used it to create our versatile and timeless Amandine Kimono Wrap Midi Dress.
We choose to use responsibly sourced paper for the use of hangtags or cards, we prefer compostable mailers and organic cotton labels.
Early on, we've been using surveys. It helps us choose fabrics, colors, test designs in order to create solutions to our mamas love and need. We make sure to create consciously and avoid waste.
Emilia George & Choix are reinventing and cleaning up the maternity and nursing wear one dress at a time.