With more and more of our customers becoming eco-conscious and desiring to make their imprint on the environment, Inhabit has put a plan to become as sustainable as possible in all aspects of the company. We thought it would be important to get an expert to talk about what we are doing and have interviewed Britt Bivens who runs a sustainability consultancy and works with everyone from private clients on their homes to mid-size and larger companies on how to reduce their carbon footprint.
Here, we opened up to her about our plan and asked her advice so that we could share it with you.
Can you describe why it makes sense for a company like ours to be sustainable and the steps they need to take?
BB: “The fashion industry has played a huge role in the negative impact on the planet. Inhabit is smart to be working towards becoming more eco-conscious and sustainable- it’s the future.
Keep in mind, this is not an easy task for a small company. Producing and selling garments involves a lot of steps so improvements can take place in different ways along the supply chain- sometimes where it’s harder to change. But as more clients demand it—it will hopefully become easier first for smaller changes and then the larger ones.
When we start opening up the economy again, people will begin to think about what's important and where they will place their values (and money). I think they'll feel more strongly about what they wear and who they support and even feel more connected to the brands they feel add something to their lives. Inhabit will be one of those companies.
What are some of the key steps in Inhabit’s program in becoming more sustainable?
BB: “Inhabit has begun their sustainability path with making the changes that are easiest: using recycled paper products in the office, reducing waste wherever they can, reducing packaging or improving packaging materials etc. Inhabit has also used organic cotton, linen, recycled cashmere in their collections, and now have started using buttons that are made from recycled cotton. This is a perfect example of waste being seen as a resource.”
Is there another aspect of Inhabit that works with their sustainability plan?
BB: “Inhabit is a company that produces fashion in natural fibers- that’s already a great start . There's a huge conversation around synthetic microfibers and how they are shed when garments are washed. All fabrics do, but the synthetic fibers don't break down, while natural ones do. This is a small yet significant reduction of pollution and I'm a huge believer in taking these micro steps because it all helps. I sometimes work with people who want to improve their environmental footprint and we often start with their wardrobe because it can be an easy fix. The key is to buy better quality items, take care of them and make sure you love them enough to wear them often. Inhabit offers a selection in natural fibers that are fantastic for creating a capsule of trusted, favorite wardrobe staples.”
What’s on the horizon in Inhabit’s sustainability program?
BB: “Inhabit is working on a take-back program as an initiative. In most cases, products are purchased, and once they wear out they get thrown in the trash With this program, you send in your Inhabit sweaters you are ‘done’ with and get a credit to use for a new design. It not only keeps things out of the trash but often provides an additional revenue stream, as well as material to create new product, since Inhabit will be recycling what comes back. Often, people just get sick of what's in their closet or change their style. This program creates a lot of potential for those pieces to be saved from being disposed of and gives them another life. I think take-back programs are something that many more companies will want to do and I applaud Inhabit for being part of this first wave- it's a bold move but and shows creative thinking!”
Is there anything else Inhabit is doing that you are excited about and that are gaining more importance in the sustainable fashion conversation?
BB: “I think it's great that Inhabit offers a Sweater Stone on their website. I'm quite involved in the refashioning and mending circles in NYC and we talk a lot about what we call "clothes keeping." This is about buying good quality pieces and taking care of them; either through regular maintenance like handwashing and air drying vs always dry cleaning and knowing what should be done when they start to look less than perfect., Good quality sweaters, like denim, last forever if taken care of (or can be mended). So, in saying that, I think everyone should throw a Sweater Stone in their online basket next time they buy a sweater!”