Ethical & Sustainable Manufacturing

Ethical & Sustainable Manufacturing

Creating garments made with care and consideration for the Earth has always been important to us as a brand. We are still learning what sustainable manufacturing really means, but wanted to share a little more about the steps we are taking to reduce our environmental impact. 

One of the simplest ways in which we work towards sustainability is by producing in small batches (by industry standards), and taking a slow-fashion approach to design and production. Rather than following the typical fashion timeline of churning out new styles that are meant to be trendy one year and out of fashion the next, we create sleepwear and gifts that are made to last. We design two major collections each year, selling out of some of our catalog (no inventory is destroyed or discarded) and keeping best-selling designs in our collection for years to come, happily evergreen. We use wait-listing on our site to help establish if it's time to re-order and replenish rather than overproducing. 

We’ve also made it our mission to partner with vendors whose environmental and ethical values align with our own. We’ve made it part of our process to travel to India twice a year, and being there in person has allowed us to really dig into the manufacturing process and helps us to ensure our production partners share our vision of socially responsible manufacturing.

The factory we work with most closely, located in the Indian city of Jaipur, was founded by an entrepreneur who loves all aspects of manufacturing and is a wealth of knowledge—he’s an expert on fabric construction, printing techniques and all things textiles! On our last trip he recounted the story of how he got his start in the industry, and how he went from riding a moped around to picking up supplies and ship all of their goods, to managing multiple factories that pay their workers well above minimum wage standards.  

They recently built the facility where our sleepwear is cut and sewn, with the goal of creating a state-of-the-art, green factory. It boasts many modern sustainable practices, complete with solar power as well as onsite water recycling. It is spacious, well lit and organized, and is always a pleasure to visit.

 
The studio where our fabric is screenprinted is located in a printing district, situated a few miles outside of town. Water waste is a major concern in the apparel manufacturing process, and our factory, along with a group of neighboring facilities, founded a private water plant of their own that is able to recycle about 80% of the water used during manufacturing (about 20% evaporates in the process). Some of the recycled water is even returned to the factories in a drinkable form, although most is reused for future printing. 

Not only are our manufacturing partners committed to environmentally sound and ethical business practices, but they also focus on preserving Indian craft and hand-printing techniques. Jaipur is known for its block and screen-printing, but many artisans gave up the craft when manufacturing scaled and digital and rotary printing became more popular. Our partners work hard to give these artisans the opportunity to focus on their craft, which dovetails nicely with our own desire to have our designs lovingly screen-printed, layer by layer. Recently, the founder fulfilled one of his big dreams of creating an incredible, light-filled block printing studio. There, master printers hand-carve wooden blocks and carefully stamp fabric, preserving this ancient tradition.  

In 2020 we implemented several new eco-friendly initiatives, one of which was tweaking our packaging to make sure everything was easily biodegradable or made from 100% recycled materials. We partnered with EcoEnclose and switching to plastic mailers made from 100% recycled content—50% of which is post-consumer waste. While we were previously using recycled paper mailers, after a tremendous amount of research we learned that plastic has the added benefit of a lower carbon footprint, as they take up less space in delivery vehicles throughout the shipping process.  

Even more exciting, we are currently working on switching from premium cotton to 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton fabric for all of our sleepwear! Starting with our Spring 2021 collection, all new robes and sleepwear will be sewn from organic fabric (with the exception of styles that utilize leftover or damaged fabric from previous production cycles - more on that to come!). We'll also be discontinuing the fabric bags that our pajamas were previously packed inside, in an effort to further reduce waste. 

We are so grateful to have such amazing friends and vendors helping us work to become more eco-friendly, and are looking forward to continuing to share our journey as we become an even more sustainable brand in the years to come. We also love feedback, so if you have any questions or suggestions, please send us a note at hello@printfresh.com.

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1 comments

Please let me know when organic come in

Lynn Powers @ 2020-07-16 18:44:34 -0400