Fashion has become increasingly toxic to both the environment and those less fortunate. With fashion trends having ever shortening lifespans, companies are moving more and more items to a consumer, while spending next to nothing for them. This is the main concern of organizations like Fair Trade USA. Their fear is that the faster the fast fashion industry grows, the more impact it will have on the climate and the people producing the garments themselves, and not in a good way.
While fashion may never truly be a zero carbon footprint industry, the end goal for these organizations is to increase worker wages across the board, from harvest to sewing. As well as provide for them the basic necessities and safe working conditions. However, the greatest contribution of this movement towards more ethical fashion, is the increase in garment quality.
Consumers are now being urged to purchase well-built items, such as Real McCoy denim, in the hopes that they will no longer need to buy many different, cheap, pairs. So instead of buying many, they buy one. Seems simple and reasonable enough, right?
The Real McCoy
Hitoshi Tsujimoto’s vision for his brand, The Real McCoy, directly echoes the idea of sustainable choices. The company focuses on high production quality. All the way from harvest, to post production.As a vintage clothing collector and dealer, Mr. Tsujimoto was surrounded by pieces of quality, American clothing manufactured at the height of the American industrial boom (the 1940’s and 50’s). These pieces are what became the inspiration for The Real McCoy. His creations all stem from 100% natural cotton, dyed with natural dyes and created entirely by workers receiving fair compensation for their work.
Tsujimoto is also one of the few remaining owners of the traditional Japanese loopwheeling machines, which he uses for all of his t-shirt production, showing that some things, when made well, just last.
As a former designer for Burton, Hiroki Nakamura, knows his way around street-credible clothing. That is even more true today, as his uber-popular Japanese streetwear brand, Visvim, is now legendary. Worn by the likes of Eric Clapton and John Mayer, Visvim is now stocked by some of the largest retailers.At its core, he brand only attempts to provide one thing: the pursuit of joy and timeless beauty through the discovery and creation of footwear and clothing products. All of their pieces, from the mainline all the way down to its lower priced diffusion, Cubism, are produced by well-paid craftsmen in Japan, with raw harvesting coming from living wage facilities. This helps make Visvim one of the best fair trade companies in the business, as well as one of the coolest.
Kapital, founded in 1984 in the city of Kojima, Japan, which is also known as the “Denim Capital” of the world, strives to create a balance between vintage American workwear and the ethnic influences of South America and Asia.Every garment the company produces comes directly from their in house factory “Kountry” in Kojima, where they only use traditional materials. Since their inception, they have refined their denim to reduce the amount of dye waste, mainly by continually reusing dyes. Even by doing this Kapital has still been able to create rich colors with a more robust texture.Kapital, as well as the two brands mentioned before, makes high quality apparel while still having high standards of environmental friendliness. They take the necessary and ethical steps to ensure that their businesses not only produce the best clothing possible, but also the best working conditions possible.