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.
We are proud, as a company, to offer a wide variety of products manufactured around the globe. While choosing the countries of origin, we keep in mind their special capabilities and immediate natural and regenerative resources, like alpaca and cotton sweaters from Peru, leather goods from Peru and South of Europe, beading and special weaves out of India, jewelry from Italy, and some silk woven groups and viscose/poly blended knits out of China.
84% of our 2023 Ready-To-Wear wovens are made in the USA. 46% of the collections overall are made in the USA.
We care about forging partnerships with factories and suppliers who share our social and environmental values. We work with many small, family-owned factories as well as women-led cooperatives. We have been working with most of these factories for several years or more, and have enjoyed watching their businesses grow with us over the years.
We have production teams on location full-time in New York, Los Angeles and Peru, our three biggest manufacturing hubs, where our production managers work closely with the factories.
We carefully vet our factories in Europe and Asia and chose partners who we feel confident in their high standards of working conditions.
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.
- 90% of our manmade cellulosic fibers are FSC-certified, and we are working on the rest.
- We are making an effort to source recycled materials where possible. We are working with fabric suppliers to adopt the recycled version of fabrics that we love, such as our signature Pebble fabric.
- We give preference to suppliers who are transparent about their materials origins.
- 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 ordering our core denims further in advance to ship by ocean freight as much as possible, thereby avoiding air freight.
- Our wash house has ordered new low-impact machines that minimize water and chemical use. These are expected to be introduced this summer, and we hope to have more details to share soon.
- We are running tests and exploring the latest advancements in wash technology, such as laser-printed denim.
Canopy Brand Partnership
- We are 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.
- 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
- The family behind Uline, the dominant shipping supply company in the US, are some of the biggest donors to extreme right-wing politicians and movements. As a company, it was a priority for us to find alternative suppliers so that we no longer had to support Uline with our business.
- Thanks to Refuse Uline, we were able to source recycled content, affordable cardboard for all of our wholesale and bulk shipping supplies. We have been purchasing boxes from Paper Mart on the West Coast and The Boxery on the East Coast.
- Read more about this on NY Mag and Vogue Business.
Reducing Reliance on Single-use Plastic
- After a successful pilot run, we are expanding our use of Vela Eco's paper garment bags as an alternative to traditional thin film plastic poly bags. These are FSC-certified paper bags that can be easily home recycled.
- We are now using these bags in our production facilities in Los Angeles and New York (for all flat packed groups), and we are in the process of expanding these to multiple international factories.
- We are working to transition more groups to ship flat packed in paper bags from hangers and poly bags.
- For groups that ship on hangers, the hangers are recycled and reused within the company, and the bags are 25% post-industrial recycled material.
We were honored to serve on the Early Adopter Coalition of brands who tested the prize finalists' packaging solutions.
We tested the bags made by Sway, a California-based company who makes home-compostable packaging derived from seaweed. Sway was just announced as the 1st place winner in the competition.
Prize winners will receive significant support from Lonely Whale and other partners in the following years to achieve market adoption. We will continue to serve on the Early Adopter Coalition during the next Innovation Accelerator phase. We are excited to support the adoption of more plastic alternatives in packaging.
Recycled Paper Packaging
- As part of the Canopy pledge, we are auditing our supply chain for 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.
- 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.
- The boxes used at our warehouse for e-commerce and wholesale shipments have a recycled content of over 80%.
- Our retail shopping bags and custom-printed tissue have a recycled content of 80% and 100%, respectively.
Reuse and Recycling
- We are recycling all of the fabric scraps from our sample room using Fabscrap. Fabscrap shreds fabric scraps to create insulation, carpet padding, furniture lining, moving blankets, etc. They also offer non-proprietary material for reuse by students, artists, crafters, quilters, sewers, teachers and others in the community.
- We reuse poly bags at our warehouse and studio as much as possible. Whatever cannot be reused, we are collecting to be recycled through Terracycle's Zero Waste Boxes, which make it possible to recycle things that are not accepted through local curbside recycling services. Learn more about Terracycle here.
- Hangers are kept in circulation within the company. We ship used hangers from our warehouse and stores back to our local production factories and sample room to be used again.
- Our studio, sample room, and Crosby store are all powered by Green Mountain Power, which supplies wind-power and renewably sourced energy.
- We have always produced everything made to order as a way to minimize waste.
- Our annual sample sales in NY and LA help us reduce our excess inventory. Nothing is ever destroyed.
RC employees are offered two paid volunteer days per year to encourage everyone to give something back to their community.
We support mentorship of BIPOC talent through RAISEfashion's Summer Internship program. We have hosted RAISEfashion interns the past two summers.
We make regular donations of excess inventory to Dress For Success, an organization which seeks to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support and professional attire.