The North Face wants to figure out how to make sustainably made clothing that people will actually buy.
Local sourcing and craftsmanship has been shown to resonate with consumers, particularly when it comes to food. Consumers are willing to pay more for organic food because of health and environmental concerns. However, this is NOT YET the case for most consumers when it comes to clothing. Adam Mott, director of sustainability at The North Face know this and has launched the Backyard Project to try to create sustainably made clothing that consumers will care about.The North Face decided to create a hoodie as part of its Backyard Project, part of the company’s effort to work closely with the US textile industry, from farmers to factories, to use sustainably grown materials and reduce waste. The big question: Could they produce a product from start to finish working only within a 150-mile radius of their San Francisco headquarters? Did they do it? Almost.
Although consumers say they care about sustainability, it’s not always a priority when they shop for clothes. Instead, consumers buy clothes based on aesthetics, price and performance. We think consumers are right in the way they make this decision. Clothing is not about sustainability. Clothing is about functionality and looks, and all purchasing decisions, whatever they may be, are based on price ( How much can I spend? How much do I want to spend on this? Is it worth it to me to spend $ on this instead of on something else? If I buy this cheap then I can also afford that? Am I willing to spend more to buy this high quality item that I feel is worth the price tag? ....) .
So how does sustainability fit in and why is it so important in the textile industry?
At Wabi Sabi our firm belief that what you put on your skin is just as important as what you eat leads us to use organic materials and incorporate sustainability as a fundamental part of creating high quality fashion. We are not on a mision to change consumers´ buying habits or decision making process. Instead we inform consumers, just as the food industry has done, about the importance that clean soil, clean water, materials free of toxic chemicals and non polluting production processes have on our personal health and wellness. Those same health and environmental concerns that lead consumers to buy organic produce should lead consumers to buy bio cosmetics, household products and sustainable fashion. Most importantly as a brand we offer consumers a stylish alternative to wear that encompases all of these values.
No one should buy bad tasting food or ugly clothes just because they are sustainable
We don´t aim to sell sustainabillity or to talk people into buy clothes because they are sustainability. Yes sustainability is one of our core value. Yes we make our clothes with certified organic fabrics, but Wabi Sabi is first and foremost is about fashion and great design:
We create clothing this is aesthetically beautiful, designed for excellent performance and perfect fit at a reasonable price point that will make our customers look and feel wonderful everytime they wear one of our garments.
Through sustainability it is possible to have great clothes that also help us live healthier and happier. We won´t settle for anything less for ourselves. Why should our customers?
Find out more about The North Face hoodie and the Backyard Project