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10 Questions to ask a Sustainable Fashion Brand

With Fashion Revolution Week approaching (April 20th-26th) I wanted to put together a set of questions so that you can easily get to know Lights of All, or even use them to ask other sustainable brands to get to know them and their practices better.

So here it is, 10 Questions to get to know Lights of All.

1 - Describe your brand in 2 sentences:

Lights of All is an all vegan, eco-friendly and ethical clothing label based in Toronto. Everything is made in house, by me, in small batches while using eco-conscious materials.


2 - Where are your product made?

All garments are cut and sewn in Toronto by me, specifically in my apartment! I have a 'den' in our apartment which is my dedicated studio space. 


3 - Where does your fabric come from?

I source my fabric from two providers: Kendor Textiles and Telio. I specifically shop in their sustainable departments. They don't specifically disclose where the fabrics come from but they say it's a mix of North America and Asia. Since I always buy from GOTs or Oeko-Tex certified products I can rest assured that they are coming from monitored sources.

4 - Do you use conventional cotton or organic cotton?

We only use Organic Cotton because its much better for the planet - We have a post about the difference between organic and conventional cotton if you want to learn more about why we only use organic - here!


5 - What does your company do with its production waste?

All fabric remnants and left overs are repurposed into patchwork pouches and totes that are given free with your purchase (it's also how we wrap your order instead of using tissue). The pieces that are too small are donated to a paper maker in Montreal who turns it into artisanal paper.
Our unbleached scarp paper from making pattern is usually reused (glued together to make usable pieces) as much as possible, if not usable, it's recycled.
When we do dye items, because we only use Low Impact Fiber Reactive Dyes, the basic filtration system used in Canada to treat our domestic waste water is enough to break down and clean the dyes stuff from the water. So it's safe to let it go down the drain (woohoo!).

6 - What kind of packaging/shipping materials do you use?

Originally we used recycled cardboard boxes, we have since run out of our small boxes (still have a good amount of big ones left though) so we have recently switched to compostable mailers! We will also, from time to time, re-use boxes I have received personally. So if you get a Sephora or Well.ca box from us don't be alarmed! We're just trying to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Our hang tag & business cards are made from cotton waste from the industry. 
In an effort to conserve materials, your online order will not come with a hang tag, we know the second you get it you cut it off and throw it away, so who needs 'em? We will conserve them to use when we have in-person shopping events where they are needed for shoppers to see prices.


7 - Who is your founder, what made them start this company?

The founder of Lights of All is Katia Hagen, she's also the one-woman-show who designs, makes - does everything for the brand! Except when we need models, photographers, make up artists and hair stylists for the photoshoots.
She started Lights of All because she wanted to work for a fashion company that held her values of veganism and environmental protection. At the time, in 2017, in Montreal, she couldn't find any. So, she decided to try her hand and building her own brand that would exemplify those values.

8 - What kind of initiatives do you have in place to protect the environment?

We kind of went over most of them above, but let's recap: Reusing and repurposing our waste by making totes/pouches and donating scraps to be made into paper. Only using recycled or reused boxes to ship, and now introducing compostable mailers. And using business cards and hang tags that are made from repurposed cotton waste.
We also only use organic certified cotton, and other GOTs or Oeko-Tex certified materials, as well as hemp and recycled polyester.


9 - How many people are there on your team? How are they compensated?

As for now on the day-to-day team, it's only me. However, when I do work with others, usually only during photoshoots, everyone is paid to an agreed upon price - negotiations are always welcome and when it's possible to adjust the budget, I do. However being such a small brand, there are times that I cannot afford a certain talent and in that case I would rather not work with them then to have them reduce their cost. As a maker, I know that you need to stick to what you know you are worth and I have the utmost respect for other creatives. I also sometimes do trades with other creatives or talent so that we are both pleased with the outcome!

10 - How do you find inspiration for new products?

Since we've been around for a while now, we find inspiration in a two ways - the first being from styles that sell the best. If a certain style is a bestseller we'll pin-point what makes this style so beloved and try and keep that vibe going into new items.
The second way is honestly through the beauty of nature. You'll probably notice that all our collections are named after natural things; Sands, Under the Stars, Icebergs, Amethyst, Wildflowers.. and our next one will be inspired by Moths! Lights of All is very much about protecting and being kind to the natural world, but it's also kind of a reflection and appreciation of it. I'm constantly in awe and really mesmerized by the natural beauty and magic of this planet. I'm always trying to capture that and demonstrate it through my own voice.

 

 


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