WE CARE ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY

We are a family-owned alternative fashion brand with sustainability as one of the core pillars to our company. We are on a mission to reduce our environmental impact, and we hope to continue exploring new and innovative ways to further implement new methods and objectives into our company's manifesto.

Our 5 Initiatives:

 
 
Going Carbon Neutral
 
Fighting climate change may take large-scale societal change, but we are doing our part! To cover the carbon emissions from shipping your package from our warehouse, we buy high quality carbon offsets to make our shipping process completely carbon neutral.
 
Supporting Ethical, Sweatshop-Free Labor
 
China often gets a bad reputation for labor practices, but just like everywhere else in the world, ethical options exist. Our manufacturing team is led by two Chinese women based in NYC with the unique perspective of being daughters of manufacturing families and former founders of a fashion company. Together, they built a small team back home in China with the deep goal of focusing on using technology as a method to reach higher levels of sustainability while still providing high-quality products from sweatshop-free factories.
 
Our team in China works hard to provide labor that not only follows The Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) requirements, but exceeds expectations. Their commitment reaches further than just paperwork, as manufacturing is kept locally to them so through the production process, they can physically conduct frequent site visits as well as do quality control checks on products.
 
We have become a close-knit group all working towards the same ethical and sustainable goals, and we will continue fostering the highest ethical standards possible for the people that are beloved to our company.
 
Using Sustainable Packaging
 
Packaging is where Forest Ink really shines! We use 100% biodegradable mailers to ship all of our orders out, which can be composted both at home and commercially. These compostable mailers are made from a combination of corn starch, PLA (a bio-based plastic made from plant extracts), and PBAT (a bio-based polymer). PLA is a great choice because not only is it biodegradable, but it's also made from renewable resources, uses 65% less energy than producing traditional plastics, and creates 68% fewer greenhouse gases. While a plastic bag may take 1000 years to only partially break down, these mailers will break down in 6 months or less.
 
All of our packaging for the actual clothing is 100% plastic free! Our garment bags are made primarily with corn and are also 100% compostable and biodegradable according to the EU standard 13432. We have also eliminated hang tags and extra packaging in order to remove excess packaging and waste.

 

Utilizing Technology
 
We work to constantly streamline our sampling process with using cutting-edge 3D technology like CL0-3D which allows us to do most of our design process digitally with minimal sample rounds. Using technology also allows us to digitally fit clothing to our fit model's measurements, which means it takes less physical clothing samples to end up with a properly fitting garment. Our manufacturing team is constantly researching and implementing new methods to help improve accuracy and reduce the amount of clothing wastage pre-production.
 
We produce our items in small batches based on data to reduce the amount of leftover clothing and avoid creating a bigger carbon footprint than needed. We aim to estimate as close as possible to the actual demand for our clothing, so our customers can get the pieces they want without overproduction.
 
Using 3D technology to do digital clothing samples allows us also to speed up the process.

 

Saying No to Fast Fashion
 
Our goal is to be able to provide as much variety and frequency as we can in our clothing collections without sacrificing any of our practices. The timeline from conception to production generally takes over a year because we are a slow fashion brand, but we utilize multiple methods in order to provide as many unique options as we possible can.
 
Using 3D technology to do digital clothing samples allows us to speed up the process and skip a lot of the time that other companies spend waiting for physical samples to arrive. This allows us to end up up with finished garments sooner and faster than other slow fashion brands that may not be utilizing digital sampling processes.
 
In our design process, we try to avoid trends and instead focus on different subculture styles that we feel like will be evergreen to our audience. Because of this, we are able to design clothing over a year out from our estimated drop day without our clothing seeming outdated. This allows our designers to constantly design ahead of the schedule, which means we can make larger and more frequent collections due to good planning and execution and not because of fast fashion practices.
 
In order to avoid the issues fast fashion companies face with overproduction, we order everything in small batch. Producing our clothing in small batches means that we avoid clothing wastage but we also avoid excess carbon emissions in the shipping process. This also means it can be faster to produce these items because we are ordering a fraction of the amount that large fast fashion companies order.
 
In order to avoid textile wastage, we work carefully with our team in China to adjust patterns to be more efficient, and fit together closer together on the fabric bolts. This optimization practice allows us to buy significantly less fabric and means we produce significantly less textile scraps and waste than other companies.

 


The Next Steps

Becoming Carbon Positive
 
We would love to become fully carbon neutral, and eventually becoming a carbon positive company that is leaving the world a better place. One decision we would like to implement on our road to less carbon emissions is to switch to 100% sea freighters instead of air transportation when transporting our goods from our manufacturer to our warehouse in Texas. While being the slowest option, sea freighters only release 1/25 of the carbon emissions that air transportations do, making it the cleanest option for transporting our clothing.
 
We would like to start purchasing more carbon offsets so we can do more than make up for our own carbon footprint. Understanding our full carbon footprint from every step of our supply chain and then reducing our carbon footprint in each step as much as possible will be our first step towards this goal. As we do this, we will be investing in carbon offsets to eventually become a carbon positive company.
 
Using Better Fabrics
 
While most assume all synthetic fabrics are worse than all natural fiber fabrics, there are many faults with both groups of fabric. Synthetic fabrics have the benefits of being long-lasting, so you can get more wear out of each garment and they use far less water to produce. However synthetic fabrics are not biodegradable at all. Synthetics like polyester originally come from fossil fuels, which in the process of turning into petrochemicals to make fabric from, toxins are released into the atmosphere that are dangerous for human health and the ecosystem.
 
Natural fiber fabrics are luckily biodegradable and do not shed microplastics, but they have their own pitfalls. For instance, conventional cotton uses 10% of pesticides and 16% of insecticides used globally, and uses 20,000 gallons of water just to produce 1 kg of cotton. Many natural fiber sources like cotton cause mass amounts of soil erosion and use many harmful chemicals that end up poisoning the land it is grown upon and the people around it.
 
A huge goal for the future is to use better choices when it comes to both synthetic and natural fiber fabrics. We would like to switch to recycled polyester and other synthetics which use far fewer resources to create and generates between 45-70% fewer carbon emissions than virgin polyester. We would like to explore natural fibers like organic cotton that uses way less water than conventional cotton and eliminates the chemical pollution that conventional cotton has. We are also looking into organic hemp and linen for more natural fiber options. We would also like to explore sustainable semi-synthetic fabrics with low environmental impact, such as Lyocell/Tencel, sustainable viscose, and cupro.