Originally Posted October 3rd, 2019.
Welcome to the first of our behind-the-scene series. We want to expand on the topics we talk about on Instagram so you have a better idea of who we are and why we do things the way we do. There are many reasons why we are NOT a conventional fashion brand and we want you to know how and why!
Let’s start the series with fabric sourcing! We are going to the LA textile show today to source fabrics, which is fitting for today’s post.
When I first started Sotela, I knew I only wanted to use eco-friendly fabrics, which consists of natural fibers or sustainable options like tencel. We’ve used organic cotton, linen, tencel, modal, and recently introduced recycled hemp and surplus fabric. Even though we don’t quite know the origins of our surplus fabric, we know they are made with natural fibers.
For the past three years, I’ve sourced most of our woven fabric from several Canadian companies that specialize in both conventional and sustainable fibers. It’s rare to find a company that solely sells sustainable and natural fabrics. We’ve found our vendors through various textile shows and by asking other companies! It’s amazing how supportive this industry can be and I’ve been lucky to meet other brands who are open and transparent about their suppliers.
The reason why our clothing isn’t 100% produced in the US is because the majority of woven fabric is produced overseas. When the garment industry moved away from the US, so did the machines that made different types of fabrics. Knits are typically still made in the USA and our black modal used in our Lena Pant is made locally.
In the past, we’ve ordered from companies in Canada who source their fabric from China, Japan or Korea. However, we switched things up recently and the tencel in the Vida collection were produced and dyed in China. We went directly to the source for these fabrics in order to custom dye it for this collection.
Since it was purchased directly from China, we had to pay a decent amount of taxes, which almost doubled the cost per yard. Our current prices reflect that increase in fabric costs.