YES AND is not just about fashion. It's about the global change we can bring to life in the process. The shirt, the dress, the hoodie-- they're all just vehicles. This Fashion Revolution Day, we want to share the story about how YES AND came about and why it matters.
Our founder, Marci Zaroff, has spent her entire career pioneering change-- in wellness, beauty, food and fashion. In 1995, she coined the term "ECOfashion" and began building sustainable supply chains for her then-catalogue-based company, Under the Canopy. This was long before sustainability and fashion were used in the same sentence. Marci was often questioned how they could coexist-- fashion and sustainability were seemingly at odds. But Marci was living proof-- she herself embodied both fashionista and treehugger. YES, cool... AND conscious.
Marci then spent years building relationships with organic farmers and factories in India, while also discovering a "Wild West" of certifications, claims and greenwashing that drove her to help establish the Global Organic Textile Standard. Before, different countries and organizations had varying eco labels and standards that were certified in unique ways. GOTS was established over several years, by a number of global organizations in an effort to develop consistency in labeling and in communicating sustainability.
Why Organic Means Solutions
The word "organic" has had quite the PR struggle, trying to clear its name of stigmas like added expense, elitism and/or hippie hemp skirts. In reality, organic farming is a multi-faceted worker welfare and climate change solution. Why? It's safer and less expensive for farmers. Organic farmers diversify their income through crop rotation, with the added opportunity of selling off biomass instead of burning down crops between harvests, thereby also reducing air pollution. Organic farming is regenerative for the soil and ecosystems. With low tillage, regenerative organic farming sequesters carbon in the soil and reduces runoff. It's better for factory workers' and consumers' health for obvious reasons: there's no exposure to toxic pesticides. Workers in GOTS-approved facilities are ensured a living wage. With reduced stress over finances, farmers and workers can maintain their health and wellness. Last, regenerative organic farming rebuilds & diversifies microbe populations, reviving biodiversity and turning dirt back into soil. Marci often reminds us that "soil is the skin of the Earth." Humanity's ability to thrive relies on healthy soil. Regenerative organic farming is the future.
The collapse of the Rana Plaza Factory in 2013 was driven by a slew of factors-- greed (of Western brands and the corrupt building owners), unsustainably short lead times, low wages, and desperation. By choosing GOTS-certified products, you are keeping farmers & workers safe & healthy, and PROVING that there is an alternative to the norm. In fact, you are shifting the alternative INTO the norm. Thank you for voting with your dollars for safe working conditions and sustainable, regenerative organic agriculture. You are part of the solution.
FURTHER READING: To learn more about the benefits of organic cotton, go to aboutorganiccotton.org. To learn more about Fashion Revolution Day, go to fashionrevolution.org. To learn more about the Global Organic Textile Standard, go to global-standard.org.