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DISCUSSION

In Conversation With Our Community

DISCUSSION

In Conversation With Our Community

 

Last week, we had the privilege of hosting a panel with Chantelle Davis, founder of new label Boe Davis, Liz Alessi, Sustainability Consultant at Coach, Stacie Chavez, President at Imperial Yarn, and Laura Sansone, designer and founder of NY Textile Lab, moderated by Dana Davis, our VP of Sustainability. We discussed regenerative farming, the advantages of Climate Beneficial wool, and the disruptive power of collectives. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

 

Dana Davis: Thank you all for coming and to our amazing panelists. Firstly, it's important for us to provide context for our conversation tonight. For some, hearing the term regenerative farming in the fashion context might seem strange but we have to remember that many textiles we wear come from the ground, such as cotton, hemp, linen, alpaca, and wool.

 

Regenerative farming is not a new technique and is a type of land stewardship that has been practiced for centuries by Indigenous communities that maintained healthy, thriving soil. It includes principles such as minimizing soil disturbance, which increases plant diversity, and integrating animals on the farm, which reduces the need for fertilizers and increases organic soil matter. The main principle is focused on removing carbon from the atmosphere, storing it in the soil, and subsequently reducing greenhouse gasses.

The term Fibershed was coined in 2011 by Rebecca Burgess who then started the namesake non-profit, which is a network of local farmers, manufacturers and producers who work with the natural fibers I mentioned before. Next came Climate Beneficial, which is a verification program that provides data to demonstrate the benefits of carbon sequestration, which is the value of working with Climate Beneficial fibers.

We started working with Climate Beneficial in 2020 because we were looking for a wool supply chain, and we were able to reduce our carbon footprint as a fashion brand by using these fibers from regenerative farms whose practices contributed to reversing climate change.

 

Now, let’s hear from our panelists, who all work with Fibershed.

 

Laura, there's not many people in the world who can say that they work with a supply chain within 300 miles of where they are. I'm curious about the journey and what change you’ve seen in recent years.

 

Laura Sansone: It’s hard to manufacture in a truly bioregional way—bioregional means working within the capacities and limitations of a region. Which is wonderful, but it can be difficult, especially when we have scant manufacturing infrastructure left. But more designers are interested in accessing these materials, and we have been developing a Carbon Farm Network, which is a Fibershed initiative. It's an interdependent group of farmers who want to implement Climate Beneficial practices on their farms and designers who want to use Carbon Farm fiber. This year, working with Pace University Food and Farm Law Clinic, we are incorporating it formally into a purchasing cooperative. I think what is significant about this is that it's changing the growth logic of our economic system. This idea of collaborative value creation is really important.

Jacq Beanie

$85

Jules Gloves

$58

Lou Scarf

$235

Rene Gloves

$58

 

Dana Davis: Chantelle, you haven't been in fashion long, you're making this big career change from insurance and you're building a brand. Tell us a little bit more about how you did that and why.

 

Chantelle Davis: I've always loved clothes. I’ve always had a unique, confident, unwavering sense of style. I started this brand because I became disinterested in clothes due to the fabric composition and the poor quality. I wanted to create things that were higher quality. I always wanted to get back to natural fabrics because it was what I grew up with. I think that starting a clothing brand because you're interested in the quality of clothes could seem a bit far out there. But, for me, I feel like God and the universe keeps sending me signs that this is exactly what I should be doing.

 

Dana Davis: Liz, you’re in the corporate world, at Coach. What is it like trying to implement change in that environment?

 

Liz Alessi: It's not easy. I had [once] sat around the table and talked about where we should be doing production to get the lowest labor price, what types of materials we should be using and what the price point had to be. Now, when I come into the office, I'm like, "Hey, guess what? I just made our leather out of algae.” I am blessed by working with Stuart Vevers who took me under his wing under the creative arm of the business. Creatives think about making something new, your job is to be creative. Supply chain's job is to get the best price and hit your lead time. So being under a creative is what has provided me this opportunity to do the work that I'm now doing.

 

Dana Davis: Laura, thinking about your suppliers and your large network and working with a new brand like Chantelle’s, do they have the capacity to keep growing?

 

Laura Sansone: We're working collaboratively, literally, we're purchasing fiber together, we're making yarn together, so the model is different. I think we really need to collectively think about how we grow things in the future. We need to look at natural systems and look at how nature grows things, which is in a regenerative circular way. Our human systems have to start to model that.

 

Dana Davis: Can you each share with us something that has inspired your work?

 

Stacie Chavez: Fibershed is number one. Number two is Allan Savory's Ted Talk. Number three is the carbon cowboys and their story. They were bankrupt. They found this way to retool their farm and it flourished. Number four, the documentary Kiss the Ground.

 

Chantelle Davis: I think these women here are all a huge example of what is happening with sustainability in this country!

 

Laura Sansone: Fibershed… Someone else to look at is the Or Foundation.

 

Liz Alessi: I'm going to go with a film called The True Cost. And, as was said earlier, these concepts are not new. So, look to the past, look to the crafts people that are working here in New York. Look to anything that's land based and understand the agriculture, your food, your clothes, your handbag, it's all one big happy family and everyone needs to work together.

This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity

 

CREDITS

Editorial photography: Mara Hoffman

Styling and Creative Direction: Mara Hoffman (rooftop images) Rachael Wang (indoor images)

Hair and Make Up: Sadhvi Babu (rooftop) Yumi Kaizuka (indoor)

Models: Sophie Alshehry (rooftop) Daria Bakhshi

Event Photography: Theo Samuels

Shop the Collection...

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DISCUSSION

In Conversation With
Our Community

Last week, we had the privilege of hosting a panel with Chantelle Davis, founder of new label Boe Davis, Liz Alessi, Sustainability Consultant at Coach, Stacie Chavez, President at Imperial Yarn, and Laura Sansone, designer and founder of NY Textile Lab, moderated by Dana Davis, our VP of Sustainability. We discussed regenerative farming, the advantages of Climate Beneficial wool, and the disruptive power of collectives. Here are some highlights from our conversation.

Dana Davis: Thank you all for coming and to our amazing panelists. Firstly, it's important for us to provide context for our conversation tonight. For some, hearing the term regenerative farming in the fashion context might seem strange but we have to remember that many textiles we wear come from the ground, such as cotton, hemp, linen, alpaca, and wool.

Regenerative farming is not a new technique and is a type of land stewardship that has been practiced for centuries by Indigenous communities that maintained healthy, thriving soil. It includes principles such as minimizing soil disturbance, which increases plant diversity, and integrating animals on the farm, which reduces the need for fertilizers and increases organic soil matter. The main principle is focused on removing carbon from the atmosphere, storing it in the soil, and subsequently reducing greenhouse gasses.

 

The term Fibershed was coined in 2011 by Rebecca Burgess who then started the namesake non-profit, which is a network of local farmers, manufacturers and producers who work with the natural fibers I mentioned before. Next came Climate Beneficial, which is a verification program that provides data to demonstrate the benefits of carbon sequestration, which is the value of working with Climate Beneficial fibers.

We started working with Climate Beneficial in 2020 because we were looking for a wool supply chain, and we were able to reduce our carbon footprint as a fashion brand by using these fibers from regenerative farms whose practices contributed to reversing climate change.

Now, let’s hear from our panelists, who all work with Fibershed.

 

Laura, there's not many people in the world who can say that they work with a supply chain within 300 miles of where they are. I'm curious about the journey and what change you’ve seen in recent years.

 

Laura Sansone: It’s hard to manufacture in a truly bioregional way—bioregional means working within the capacities and limitations of a region. Which is wonderful, but it can be difficult, especially when we have scant manufacturing infrastructure left. But more designers are interested in accessing these materials, and we have been developing a Carbon Farm Network, which is a Fibershed initiative. It's an interdependent group of farmers who want to implement Climate Beneficial practices on their farms and designers who want to use Carbon Farm fiber. This year, working with Pace University Food and Farm Law Clinic, we are incorporating it formally into a purchasing cooperative. I think what is significant about this is that it's changing the growth logic of our economic system. This idea of collaborative value creation is really important. 

Jacq Beanie

$85

Jules Gloves

$58

Lou Scarf

$235

Rene Glove

$58

Dana Davis: Chantelle, you haven't been in fashion long, you're making this big career change from insurance and you're building a brand. Tell us a little bit more about how you did that and why.

 

Chantelle Davis: I've always loved clothes. I’ve always had a unique, confident, unwavering sense of style. I started this brand because I became disinterested in clothes due to the fabric composition and the poor quality. I wanted to create things that were higher quality. I always wanted to get back to natural fabrics because it was what I grew up with. I think that starting a clothing brand because you're interested in the quality of clothes could seem a bit far out there. But, for me, I feel like God and the universe keeps sending me signs that this is exactly what I should be doing.

Dana Davis: Liz, you’re in the corporate world, at Coach. What is it like trying to implement change in that environment?

 

Liz Alessi: It's not easy. I had [once] sat around the table and talked about where we should be doing production to get the lowest labor price, what types of materials we should be using and what the price point had to be. Now, when I come into the office, I'm like, "Hey, guess what? I just made our leather out of algae.” I am blessed by working with Stuart Vevers who took me under his wing under the creative arm of the business. Creatives think about making something new, your job is to be creative. Supply chain's job is to get the best price and hit your lead time. So being under a creative is what has provided me this opportunity to do the work that I'm now doing.

Dana Davis: Laura, thinking about your suppliers and your large network and working with a new brand like Chantelle’s, do they have the capacity to keep growing?

 

Laura Sansone: We're working collaboratively, literally, we're purchasing fiber together, we're making yarn together, so the model is different. I think we really need to collectively think about how we grow things in the future. We need to look at natural systems and look at how nature grows things, which is in a regenerative circular way. Our human systems have to start to model that.

 Dana Davis: Can you each share with us something that has inspired your work?

 

Stacie Chavez: Fibershed is number one. Number two is Allan Savory's Ted Talk. Number three is the carbon cowboys and their story. They were bankrupt. They found this way to retool their farm and it flourished. Number four, the documentary Kiss the Ground.

Chantelle Davis: I think these women here are all a huge example of what is happening with sustainability in this country!

 

Laura Sansone: Fibershed… Someone else to look at is the Or Foundation.

 

Liz Alessi: I'm going to go with a film called The True Cost. And, as was said earlier, these concepts are not new. So, look to the past, look to the crafts people that are working here in New York. Look to anything that's land based and understand the agriculture, your food, your clothes, your handbag, it's all one big happy family and everyone needs to work together.

This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity

CREDITS

Editorial photography: Mara Hoffman

Styling and Creative Direction: Mara Hoffman (rooftop images) Rachael Wang (indoor images)

Hair and Make Up: Sadhvi Babu (rooftop) Yumi Kaizuka (indoor)

Models: Sophie Alshehry (rooftop) Daria Bakhshi

Event Photography: Theo Samuels

Shop the Collection...

Sold out
Sold out
Sold out
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