This year, to celebrate the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator’s first year in operation, we want to acknowledge some of the individuals who have been alongside us, have inspired us and are part of the journey forward. With that, we are launching the first annual Pratt Institute/BF+DA Positive Impact Awards.
BF+DA Venture Fellow Charlie Morris, founder of Fanmail, has won the BF+DA Mentors Award for Entrepreneurship.
We asked Charlie how much is too much when bringing in sustainability to a fashion brand? Can a designer really have it all or do they need to pick and choose their ethical and environmental battles?
“I hope we’re reaching a point where the sustainable choice can be both desirable and financially advantageous. One of the core concepts of Fanmail is an interest in designing and manufacturing clothing that highlights how special – luxurious, even – organic, plant-based textiles can be. At the same time, it’s meant to be accessible, versatile design that can blend into the wardrobe you already have, and durable enough to remain an “essential” for years to come.
Fanmail may not have the resources yet to quantify the exact carbon footprint of a given item of clothing, but we strive to make the best choices we can with the information we have access to. We can control much of this by keeping manufacturing local, in places we can visit, where we can meet and get to know managers and workers. Fanmail also seeks fair labor and organic certifications where we can, recognizing that every supplier can’t afford the financial burdens of regular third-party compliance testing. For that reason, we choose to be transparent about our supply chain. Sharing that information on every hangtag is a way of being accountable to ourselves, our customers, and colleagues and peers in the apparel industry.
It’s a balance, definitely, but I see the potential for greater sustainability initiatives that can come with business growth – comprehensive auditing of ourselves and our supply chain, R&D of lower-impact product, and the buying power to influence our manufacturers to partner with us in these initiatives. Revenue can and should bring greater knowledge and control, with fewer compromises.”
RSVP for our awards ceremony here.