To improve sustainability, Victoria Bartlett advocates Slow Design and ethical consumption through the following practices:
1. Efficient use of patterns and fabrics: We select a few versatile fabrics to be used in many styles over several seasons. Maintaining bulk stock helps reduce fabric waste. We work with conscientious patternmakers and graders to find optimal pattern placements for fabric conservation. And we reproduce core styles continuously, season-after-season, allowing us to re-use patterns and grading measures, and helping reduce paper consumption.
2. Utilization of textiles and trims beyond clothing: We work with shoe designer LD Tuttle and bag designer Fleabags to make efficient use of VPL’s left over materials in these collaborative collections. We also make home-products and jewelry using leftover yarn, fabric, and trims. We hope our sustainable collaborations promote eco-consciousness and strengthen the Slow Fashion movement.
3. Local sourcing and production: Whenever possible, we source raw materials locally. By minimizing the transportation of these materials, we can reduce our carbon footprint.
4. Eco-friendly office and store culture: As advocates for sustainability, we each take responsibility to reduce our environmental impact individually and collectively. We opt for eco-friendly supplies: biodegradable soaps and cleaning products, plant-based “plastics,” recycled paper products, and energy efficient electronics. We’re also replacing the lighting in our office, studio, and retail space. Switching our lights from 90 watts to 5 watt LED’s will significantly reduce our electrical consumption. We also share all documents via Dropbox, rather than printing materials. We also use fabric towels instead of disposable paper towels and we walk, bike, or use public transportation to get to work, rather than drive. It’s really about maintaining a holistic company culture.
5. Eco-advocacy with customers: We advocate an eco-friendly culture both company-wide and with our customers’ shopping experience. Our clothes are designed not to need a lot of upkeep and we also provide customers with reusable tote bags, instead of disposable shopping bags. Our sales associates are vocal advocates of eco-consciousness; we feel that it’s our responsibility to cultivate sustainability in the VPL community.
Photo credit: James Perkins