by Vivian Morellon
The Girlfriend Collective, a.k.a our new favorite activewear brand.
“I have nothing to wear” culture, the need for quantity in order to avoid outfit repeating. With so much demand for new, cheap clothing the fast fashion industry has become one of the largest global polluters. From the pesticides used in raw materials, to the complex chemical processes and the transportation methods used to import/export, the fashion carbon footprint is nothing short of tremendous. This way of consuming has proved to be detrimental to our environment- creating waste, pollution and training us to think of clothing as being disposable.
Slow Fashion (or conscious fashion) is the opposing movement – consumers caring about what happens behind the scenes and the impact their wardrobes have on people, animals and planet.
Enter Girlfriend Collective – going above and beyond by using polyester made from post-consumer water bottles and using nylon from discarded ocean waste and fishing nets. The water bottles are sourced, cleaned and chipped in a Taiwanese (family-owned) processing center then sent to a spinning mill where the chips are washed, heated and then re-shaped into spaghetti looking strands that get reheated into thread that ultimately makes the yarn. The dyeing process is just as sustainable too- the dyes used are ecologically safe and the processed wastewater is treated so as to prevent any harmful chemicals from polluting nearby rivers; in fact, even the leftover dye mud is used to pave roads in Taiwanese communities.
Taking trash out of the ocean, responsible manufacturing and recycling 55% of Taiwanese plastic waste should be enough but Girlfriend Collective also upholds safe labor practices, ethical treatment and fair wages for the 14 employees working in their Vietnamese factory.
Cute yoga pants that you can feel (extremely) good about buying? If you’re sold on it, you can skip ahead and go straight to the shopping here.
If you’re still reading, Girlfriend Collective focuses on quality fit and mobility, with a small product line consisting of workout essentials – we’re talking two leggings, two bras, three bodysuits, two shorts, and a few (super soft) t-shirts; all in multiple colors. There’s no frou-frou and no fluff, just high quality and ethical products.
NTCH got the chance to interview the Sue Williamson, Girlfriend’s editorial director, and talk more about its mission and products.
I didn’t have to dig deep, just clicking on your “About” page gave me complete insight on the whole manufacturing process. From the water treatment, to the safe dyes and ethical wages your company is 100% transparent. How do you hope this information will affect consumers and the way they shop? (why is it so important o be mission based?)
We want our customers to feel good about their Girlfriend gear — every step of the way. Using recycled materials and manufacturing in an ethical way are important to us, and we hope they’re important to our customers, too. By being as transparent as possible, we hope to set a new standard in the industry and encourage our customers to expect more from us, and from everyone else.
For someone who hasn’t worn Girlfriend what should they expect and do you have an essential piece for first-time consumers?
We recommend our original Compressive High-Rise Legging and our LITE High-Rise Legging as essentials. Both feature our signature 11″ super high-rise and comfortable fabrics made equally for intense workouts and intense relaxation. Our customers love our original leggings (made from recycled post-consumer water bottles) for their high compression that allows for ideal muscle recovery post-workout. And our new LITE Legging (made from recycled fishing nets) has been a go-to for things like hot yoga and dance where a lighter weight material is needed.
Do you plan on expanding your products into other categories that aren’t activewear?
We do… but we can’t talk about it just yet! Stay tuned for more styles and products in 2019.