In relation to environmental responsibility of the fashion industry, that doesn’t mean changing styles with the seasons, but rather changing the entire concept of fast fashion. As consumers become increasingly aware of the damage traditional fashion is having on the planet, they are demanding garments that make a positive impact. Enter Catherine Fisher Clothing, a brand dedicated to the craft of making clothes with an emphasis on ethical and sustainable design.
“My collection has arisen from an artistic impulse that is now also a business,” said Founder Catherine Fisher. “I wanted to make sure that the positive impacts of this project outweigh any negative ones. When I began to learn about the human rights abuses and environmental devastation committed by the apparel industry historically and today, to catastrophic consequences, I certainly did not want to become even a small part of that reality. I want to be part of the change.”
As a result, Catherine Fisher Clothing (CFC) seeks out natural and ethically-sourced fabrics. Materials such as high-quality organic cotton, linen and hemp are thoughtfully chosen for their durability and versatility. CFC buys fabric and notions directly from the producer or through importers. Some of these vendors include Baird McNutt Irish Linen in Ballymena, Ireland and Organic Cotton Plus in Texas, U.S.
When Fisher started the company, she dug into learning about all the options. She did this rather than relying on industry standards, which are often greenwashed. For example, bamboo is very resource consuming to turn into fabric. While it is a quickly renewable resource and a great option as a wood-like product for furniture and flooring, bamboo requires a lot of water and chemicals to convert into fabric.
Similarly, Fisher discovered zippers are often a combination of metal and polyester. Therefore, they’re difficult to recycle and means they are not a biodegradable option. Instead, Fisher relies on buttons made from natural materials including Corozo nuts from Peru.
Furthermore, the traditional manufacturing line is crafted by family-owned business Golden Thread Designs in Scarborough, Maine. Hand embroidery and accessory cutting and sewing is done by Maine Artist Olivia Dwyer of Olivia Halo Designs. Keeping production local provides control over working conditions and minimizes transport emissions.
Moreover, the company focuses on reducing waste through effective pattern designs. They also focus on slow fashion that provides long-lasting and versatile clothing.
“These timeless, season-less designs are intended to stand the test of trends. We believe fewer and better is not only sensible; it’s responsible,” Fisher said.
The sustainability movement is seen in the labeling and packaging of products, as well as the stationary used in the office. Packaging materials and hang tags are made from 100% recycled and recyclable materials by EcoEnclose and Colonial Tag and Label. All stationery is printed on Neenah Environment recycled paper stock using vegetable-based inks by FSC-Certified Penmor Lithographers in Maine.
“Brands that recognize the positive energy sewn into the fibers of a sustainable slow fashion garment create a deeper connection to the wearer, offering them a feeling of enjoyment and pride that never washes out,” Fisher said.
Images via Lissy Thomas Photography and Catherine Fisher Clothing