MANIFESTO FOR SUSTAINABILITY
"Peace is every step", is one of my favorite books by Thich Nhat Hanh. It's a simple, powerful call to action: to slow down and pay attention, choosing peace with every step. When I embrace this in my personal life, I find a calmer, happier me under layers of stress and overwhelm. It’s a game changer, sparking a desire to bring peace into everything including my design work. From slow living to slow fashion, I’m finding ways to bring peace in every step.
Why slow down our fashion? To make peace with ourselves, our wardrobes, and mother nature.
Many people don’t realize the negative impact of fashion. The key issues are BIG: climate crisis, water stress, hazardous chemicals and pollution, habitat loss, diminishing resources, overconsumption and waste, modern day slavery, and labor abuse.
As I see it, over-consumption is at the root of it all, and it’s fueled by our addiction to fashion. It’s easy to see how we got into this mess, living in a consumer culture with endless chatter encouraging us to consume our way to happiness. If we simply slow down and question some of our impulses, we can, individually and as a community, take some stress out of getting dressed and build a healthier relationship with fashion - and mother nature.
First up: this silly notion that endless amounts of clothes, all the time, will make us happy. I’ve found the opposite to be true. My sense of style is built with fewer, favorite pieces that I love to wear. Mendworthy clothes that I'm eager to take care of - only buying new when I really need something.
Slowing down our fashion is the number 1 thing we can do to build a more sustainable wardrobe. Plus, a conscious closet fuels confidence, creativity, and peace of mind - not to mention bringing ease to our morning routine.
Too many clothes, on the other hand, create clutter and chaos. Many of us are stuck on this merry-go-round of over-consuming followed by purging our closets, buying more clothes, wearing them less, and throwing them away. * It’s an exhausting cycle that sends staggering amounts of clothing to landfill, wreaking havoc with mother nature while adding undue stress to getting dressed.
In San Francisco alone, 75 pounds of clothing are sent to landfill every minute. That’s 108,000 pounds in a day! Over 3 million pounds a month - almost 40 million pounds in just one year.
To keep up with all the consumption, clothing production worldwide has doubled since 2000. And the majority of discarded clothing ends up in landfills or is incinerated. Only 20% is collected for reuse or recycling, per the Center for Sustainable Fashion.
If we continue at this rate, the Global Fashion Agenda predicts that our consumption will rise by 63%, from 62 million tons today to 102 million tons in 2030.” - The Pulse Report (http://globalfashionagenda.com)
Yes, I love fashion, minus the crisis. My vision is to create beautiful clothes that inspire you to slow down your fashion and shop your values. With great style, purpose, natural fabrics, and American craftsmanship, each piece can be the peace you’ll wear all the time. I’d love to do this together, as a community, and move the needle toward sustainable fashion.
Here’s my antidote to make peace with our wardrobes - and mother nature - with great style made with purpose.
Great style and purpose
Quality American craftsmanship & natural fibers
I start with GREAT STYLE. It elevates our mood and sparks confidence, so our outlook is positive. This confidence fuels creativity and boosts productivity. PLUS, we’re naturally grateful when our clothes make us feel good. And more likely to wear them and take good care of them, keeping them out of landfills.
VERSATILITY. Because great style WITHOUT versatility just clutters our closets, and stresses our morning routine. With versatile pieces, we bring peace to the start of our day - leaving time for yoga, or breakfast with the family, or breakfast, period. Plus, useful clothes can be worn all the time - a minimum of 50 wears, ideally upwards of 100. According to Fashion Revolution Denmark, this reduces carbon emissions by over 400% per item, per year when compared to the fast fashion average of 5 wears. Our goal is to wear our clothes out: out on the town, from work to weekend, and out, as in, worn out, used up, money - and resources - well spent.
HIGH QUALITY. I personally test drive each piece as part of the design process to ensure that every style is mindfully made with an emphasis on fit and function. We produce everything with high quality American craftsmanship, right here in sunny California, paying fair wages and treating everyone involved with kindness.
NATURAL FABRICS. I have a passion for sourcing durable, useful textiles that are also beautiful and versatile. I choose natural fibers like cotton, linen, and tencel because they’re grown seasonally. And they’re breathable, and biodegradable. The goal is to source only ingredients that will naturally biodegrade at the end of a long, useful life cycle. Ideally, what started with soil will return to soil; our beautiful clothes, after years of use, will compost and feed the earth, not the landfill. It’s the ultimate in sustainability. Conversely, synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, and acrylic are made from fossil fuels that take millions of years to cultivate. They’re essentially plastic, and, when we wash them, tiny plastic particles seep out, polluting our water supply and sea life. To make matters worse, when we’re done, these oil based textiles are rarely recycled, typically ending up in landfill where they can off-gas for up to 200 years before breaking down. Removing plastics like these from our supply chain (fabrics, trims, and packaging) and finding ways to extend the life of clothing already in circulation is part of our commitment to sustainability.
PRE-ORDERS. The beauty of launching a new design as a PRE-ORDER is to give you 1st dibs on new looks and 20% off - our way of thanking you for giving us the resources to create just what you need so we’re not making unwanted clothes. Everybody wins: you’re happy, we’re happy, and the planet is happy, too.
COMMUNITY. I’m excited to engage and inspire authentically, sharing the joy - and the challenges - on our journey to sustainability. This movement has more power and positive impact when we do it together, starting small, thinking big, and treating our planet as if we plan to stay. So I’m hoping you’ll want to connect - and join in on our clothing swaps, style and mending workshops, and other creative events.
Plus, connecting directly with our clients has a myriad of benefits, namely, getting to know you and what you want with pre-0rders, and offering you the highest quality products at the best possible prices (no additional retail mark-ups, please). As an Amy Kuschel customer, I know you appreciate that we’re making your clothes responsibly, without squeezing the farmer, the seamstress, or mother nature. Perhaps this brings you a bit of peace of mind, too.
It’s the peace you’ll wear all the time.