We’re in the dog days of summer, and Brian Lipstein, President and CEO of Henry A. Davidsen, the only professional clothiers who are also certified image consultants, has been helping us ensure we’re putting our best foot forward. This month, we look to the future as Lipstein helps us consider fashion choices that are sustainable—both for our wallets and for the planet.
First of all, what does sustainable fashion mean to you? Why does sustainability matter in our clothing choices?
Every year, 1 million tons of textile waste finds its way into U.S. landfills. 1 million tons! What we buy and how we buy it is crucial. At Henry A. Davidsen, we believe custom clothing is a solution to making an informed and long-lasting impact on the future. We’re here to guide clients through a simple, meaningful custom experience.
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We believe in responsible sourcing, which cherishes and protects the animals and plants that provide raw fibers used to make cloth. Supply chain tracking ensures a more authentic fabric in the end. Our suppliers have started to implement blockchain technology, which means each producer in the chain is held accountable in the final product. This cutting-edge traceability means there’s a level of care and attention to detail that the client can truly feel when they first try-on their finished garment.
We also work with clients to help them understand how sustainably-sourced fabrics and fibers affect the quality of the finished product. They get a deeper sense of how the life of the garment is extended. This allows them to think strategically and begin to build a wardrobe with a long-term vision in mind.
We genuinely believe this extended focus keeps clothing out of landfills. “Fast fashion,” clothing that is cheaply made and easily discarded, is a leading utilizer of synthetic fibers, which when broken down in landfills, ultimately produce harmful gasses which are damaging to the environment. Affordable clothing comes with hidden costs, and we believe an investment in quality, natural fiber products can help reverse this trend.
How do you guide clients through the design process so they have something that stands the test of time?
Sustainable fashion ultimately means shifting the focus from “fashion” (constantly-changing designs that remain ‘fresh’ and ‘current’) to “style” (a more timeless aesthetic that springs from individual personality and features).
Purchasing ready-made garments doesn’t give you the luxury of having input on design. It may look good for now, but if you aren’t constantly changing and keeping up with trends, you might send the message that you can’t keep up in other impressionable areas that matter as well. No one wants to convey this.
We believe this is where custom clothing can shine. We begin by designing for YOU. This is our expertise. We help you get to know what you don’t know, ensuring that you hit the mark with each custom look. We walk you through a detailed discovery process, perfecting the look which brings confidence, charisma, character, and trustworthiness—helping to ensure your first impression is a positive one. Maintaining this impression builds trust by displaying consistency over time.
The end result is custom pieces that are designed with style (i.e. Y-O-U) in mind. You have garments that can stand the test of time. It’s a higher level of investment, but it delivers a higher return over the life of the garment (which means it actually costs you less in the long run)—and it guarantees that you aren’t constantly dumping last month’s looks in a landfill.
How do fabric choices play into sustainability?
Synthetic fibers rule the day in fast fashion. These fibers don’t have the same strength and performance as natural fibers. They lack what is called “natural memory,” meaning they are difficult to sew, shape and to have creases hold over time, which means more pressing and dry-cleaning. They are more easily stained, less breathable, and they retain moisture and odors. Garments with a short lifespan are more likely to rip, tear, stain, fade, shrink or stretch. This means they get thrown away quickly.
Take polyester, for example. It’s a plastic compound, extracted with petroleum. So raw materials are taken from the earth, used for a short time, and discarded. The byproducts damage the ozone layer and contribute to global warming. So both the creation and the destruction of this fabric lead to environmental damage.
Even with natural fibers, you have to ensure sustainable sourcing and humane treatment throughout the process. At Henry A. Davidsen, we ensure a healthy sourcing chain and ensure animals are cherished. Our suits, for example, are largely made from wool sourced out of New Zealand and Australia.
Looking to contribute to a more sustainable fashion future? Want to invest in pieces that will truly last? Contact Henry A. Davidsen to learn more and schedule today.