Natalie works in our Edmonton studio, where she coordinates local production and also sews Intrepid and 10-Year Kids’ Unbelts. Natalie is a dynamo who dazzles us on the regular with her wit, compassion, and extraordinary artistic skills; she’s enterprising and willing to give anything that’s put on her desk/sewing table her best shot.
This Fashion Revolution Week, as individuals around the world are invited to ask #whomademyclothes, it’s our pleasure to introduce you to Natalie, the last person to handle your Unbelts before they’re mailed out to you. But ethical production isn’t just about creating safe, equitable work for Natalie and our other sewists. It’s also about acknowledging the workers in every tier of our supply chain, and honouring the human hours and skills that go into our products by ensuring that what we sell has the longest life possible. Here’s how we do that:
Tier one: cut-and-sew.
In our sewing studios (the first tier of our supply chain), we take extra time to sew stronger seams. We quality-check every belt and mask. And we upcycle 95% of our Edmonton studio elastic offcuts into coffee sleeves, no-waste packaging bands, and, soon (shh!), other products.
Tier two: components.
When we sew products for longevity, we’re honouring the work of our second-tier suppliers, who are creating the components we work with. We diverted over 11,000 metres of overstock polyester and organic cotton to make our cloth masks; yes, these textiles are machine-woven - but those machines are complex instruments that require human fine-tuning, and maintenance. Our recycled polyester elastic required a two-year development process between us and factory staff who experimented with different yarns, elasticity, and other variables we didn’t even know existed. Every time we order, the machines are set up to our specs, and the elastic is quality-checked, measured, packaged, and shipped by real people.
- Tier 3: raw materials.
When we support second-tier suppliers who use recycled materials from third-tier suppliers to make those components, we’re extending the life of, and human labour behind, what would have been waste.
We don’t know every person behind our products’ raw materials, but we can make the most of their work. So can you. If you’ve got an Unbelt that needs a repair, email us so we can get it fixed up. If you’ve got some you’d like to sell back to us, hold on to them until we’re all living in a post-COVID world - we’ll be re-launching our Unbelt Buyback program.