Historically, “fashion” focuses on externals—on the styles and shades that change from season to season. This is not by chance, as the “back end” of fashion has long been hidden unless it is an asset to the organization or brand. Over the past decade, progress has been made uncovering systemic faults in the fashion supply chain. Some corporations have gone to great lengths to reduce their dependence on “sweatshop” labor—even as “fast fashion” brands have gained market share with a lack of transparency about their labor practices. However, even the most committed and sophisticated brands (such as Patagonia) have a hard time plumbing the depths of supply chain issues.
Fortunately, we see emerging organizations growing into brand leaders by creating an implicit brand connection to how items are made and who makes them. This trend has improved the treatment of persons working in the supply chain, and has connected buyers to a story deeper than their individual aesthetic preferences.
We're interested in ventures that continue this trajectory, particularly organizations that develop their own manufacturing or partnerships to this end. These endeavors often develop capacities for living wage employment, as well as explicit public branding that will connect their organization’s future to accountability over the long term.
In today’s commercially-driven world people are more likely to be seen and referred to as 'consumers' than anything else. Instead of being met with resistance, this shift has often meant that individuals have formed their identity through a composite of brands, and product purchasing can be guided more by the desire to make a statement about one’s identity and values than strict utility. As a result, the lines between social movement, capitalism, and community are increasingly blurry (see: Nike, Whole Foods, and Patagonia).
Given this reality (which is with us for both better and worse), we’d like to support entrepreneurs with a vision for building brands with a counter-culturally virtuous and optimistic view of the world, spreading hope and beauty, eliminating stigma, and most fundamentally, redirecting our identity away from materialistic consumption and toward lasting contentment.