This new fashion startup makes its clothes in the USA from entirely recycled fabric, and encourages customers to close the loop with their own donations.
Aeon Row is a new American clothing company that wants to minimize waste within the fashion industry. This is an ambitious and noble goal to have, considering that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. The way in which Aeon Row hopes to tackle this is quite innovative.
First, the company makes its fabric at a factory in Los Angeles from entirely recycled materials, half from old cotton clothing and half from plastic bottles. This eliminates several major processes from the conventional manufacturing process for clothes – the growing, harvesting, and dyeing of cotton.
(In the past there has been vigorous discussion among TreeHugger staff about the pros and cons of ‘wearing’ plastic waste, but apparently the polyester blend is needed to make the recycled fabric strong enough for new clothing.)
Second, the fabric is shipped to Boston, where Aeon Row is based, and transformed into classic and stylish wardrobe basics that will last for many years without looking dated. Currently the line is limited to women’s clothing – a dress, skirt, T-shirt, and camisole – but there are plans to expand into a men’s line, too.
Finally, through its ‘Alternate Endings’ program, customers are able to send back an old clothing item for every new piece purchased, if desired. These are recycled into new fabric (or passed on to a donation center if unusable), and provide the customer with a 15 percent discount off their next purchase. Used clothes are sent back via the same cardboard box in which the new item was shipped, and the company asks customers not to tape it shut, as these are reused.
Says founder Griffin Vanze in an interview with Ecouterre:
“Each time we reuse a box, we attach a sticker to it to let the customer receiving the package know how many times it has been used. It’s exciting to challenge ourselves and our community of customers to see how many times we can reuse a box.”
Having such a minimalist business approach and relatively few production costs allows Aeon Row to keep its clothing prices fairly low, compared to other sustainable brands. The dress, for example, costs $78 and the t-shirt is $28.
“[Fast fashion companies] have pitted customers' desires against their own common sense, instilling this constant feeling of FOMO to create a feedback loop of increased consumption.” (via FastCo)
Embracing closed-loop, zero-waste production of high quality, long-lasting clothing is one way to change in the world, which is why Vanze sees his company as “writing the next chapter of fashion.”
Visit Aeon Row online.