We believe in transparency into the business practices of the products you buy. Read on below for some initiatives and developments in the works at Rachel Comey, and click on the embedded links if you want to learn more.
Thanks to Refuse Uline, we were able to source recycled content, affordable cardboard for all of our wholesale and bulk shipping supplies. This has been a thorn in our side for years and it's exciting to have new resources.
“It’s clear how many other people had this on their minds, too,” Comey says. “I definitely don’t want to come off as greenwashing — I try with anything social and political to make it actionable. This is an honest share here and a resource for people. I’m sure some customers don’t like it but whatever, bye. The benefit outweighs the risk.” (Vogue Business. 8 July 2022)
Canopy Brand Partnership
We have recently become a brand partner of Canopy. Canopy’s mission is to protect the world’s forests,
species, and climate, and to help advance Indigenous communities’ rights. Every year, 3.2 billion trees are cut
down to make paper packaging or fabrics such as rayon and viscose. Many of these trees come from the
world’s most Ancient and Endangered Forests, integral for life on Earth. Canopy works collectively with some
of the world’s largest fashion, food and beverage, and beauty and care brands, as well as publishers and printers, to bring forest-saving solutions from the margins to the mainstream.
As part of this commitment, we are working to use FSC-certified fibers whenever we are not using recycled fibers, which ensures that the products come from responsibly managed forests.
You can read more about the Canopy pledge we have made on our website, which outlines the steps we are taking with their guidance: Canopy Pledge
Responsible Fabric Sourcing
As part of the Canopy pledge, we have promised to eliminate use of virgin viscose by 2025, using only responsibly sourced viscose to protect our ancient and endangered forests. We are doing an audit of our current suppliers of viscose to assess their viscose yarn spinners and suppliers. So far, most of our mills are using FSC-certified viscose, but Canopy will help us find alternate suppliers when needed.
For Pre-Fall 2022, we introduced a limited edition collection of 100% silk pieces, hand-dyed by Green Matters Natural Dye Company, a small artisanal dyeing plant comprised of all women and non-binary individuals, located in Gap, Pennsylvania. Green Matters uses natural ingredients such as madder root, hibiscus, logwood shavings and GOTS certified indigo to make their dyestuffs, giving each garment a one-of-a-kind appearance. Find more about it here
We are continuing to use The New Denim Project's Upcycled Denim on a regular seasonal basis. We are making an effort to order our core denims further in advance to ship by ocean freight as much aspossible, thereby avoiding air freight while also striving to keep our liability and excess to a minimum.
We are running trials on a new wash technology that uses a laser to print the denim. As opposed to traditional denim processing, this process doesn't use potassium and they use organic neutral enzymes to wash the denim, so there are less harsh chemicals involved.
Our wash house has a recycled water system in development, in order to treat and recycle a portion of the water used at their facility. We will continue to ask for updates from them about this, as well as any other new technologies that we learn about in the denim washing world.
Reducing Reliance on Single-use Plastic
We are implementing a trial of Vela Eco's paper garment bags as an alternative to traditional plastic poly bags. These are FSC-certified paper bags that can be easily home recycled. We will be running a trial with LA production starting in August (and some NY production as well).
We are trialing Terracycle's thin film plastic recycling container at the warehouse. The thin plastics and polybags will be collected and sent back for recycling.
We are recycling our hangers within the company by shipping used hangers from the warehouse and stores back to production factories.
We have joined the Early Adopter Coalition of the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize. In 2020, Tom Ford partnered with Lonely Whale to launch the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize, the only global competition focused on catalyzing scalable and biologically degradable alternatives to thin-film plastic polybags. The TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize offers a purse totaling more than $1.2 million. Winners will be announced in Spring 2023, and Prize winners will receive significant support from Lonely Whale and other partners in the following years to achieve market adoption. The Early Adopter Coalition is an impressive mix of notable brands, each of whom will be testing and giving feedback on materials from our prize Finalists.
As part of the Canopy pledge, we are currently auditing the supply chains for all the paper products used in the company. We are working to adopt products with a high recycled content, specifically post-consumer waste content, reaching an overall recycled fiber content in our papers and packaging of at least 50% average within 3 years. (Though we are on track to reach this goal much sooner).
We will continue to encourage our suppliers to continuously improve and expand the availability of recycled content in papers and packaging. Where virgin fibers are used, we will give preference to FSC-certified fibers and do our best due diligence to ensure product is not coming from ancient or endangered forests.
We continue to be committed to producing everything Made To Order as a way to minimize waste. The sample sales in NY and LA helped us reduce our excess inventory (much of which was accumulated during the pandemic) by a significant amount. Nothing is ever destroyed.
We selected and donated 127 pieces of business attire to Dress For Success, an organization which seeks to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. We have donated to Dress For Success for several years and plan to continue supporting them with regular donations.
Our studio, sample room, and Crosby store are all powered by Green Mountain Power, which supplies wind-power and renewably sourced energy.