At Araks, we aspire to create a sustainable foundation for beauty within every facet of our organization. Every decision matters, from where and how materials are sourced, to the economy of design, to the powerful partnerships we form with production vendors, and of course the way our customers connect with our garments and our story.
As recognition for our efforts, Araks was selected to participate in the 2018-2019 CFDA + Lexus Fashion* Initiative. Through this program, we received education and mentorship surrounding issues of sustainability. This has allowed us to push our business, to meet our ideals, and to continue creating meaningful and measurable changes within our brand.
Sustainability is a way of life for us and a journey of continuous improvement. We know that in order to reach a goal, we need to know where we are starting from. To identify the key areas of our business where focusing on sustainability would produce the greatest impact to our overall carbon footprint, we participated in a third-party brand sustainability assessment through Bluesign.
We believe that by focusing on the four following key areas we we will be able to forward our goals, impact environmental and social change and make a difference in the world.
- Culture of Mindfulness & Economy
- Product Design
- Social Sustainability
We begin with an intention in the form of a question, “How can we make something beautiful all the way through, from the very beginning to the very end?”
We strive each day with every decision to be mindful of one another, our community and our planet. Taking care is a way of life for us. We start with ourselves–our bodies and minds, our living and working spaces, and the way we impact our planet. While we take this approach seriously, we also use it as a way to invent and enliven our creative processes.
We believe in reducing, reusing and recycling, in that order.
Our collections are designed around core fabrics that are evergreen, which means that excess materials can be worked into future seasons instead of being discarded.
We save every swatch, stockpiling hundreds of colors in binders and jars–saving every scrap to cut back on unnecessary waste, while simultaneously creating an invaluable color library reflecting years of work.
We pay it forward, by donating materials we don’t need to schools and other charitable organizations.
We encourage our customers to mix and match pieces across seasons and invest in sharing the most low impact ways to care for garments so that they leave as small of a footprint as possible post purchase.
We are invested in things that are meant to last and we create high-quality clothing with the most minimal impact on the planet as possible. The decisions we make at the beginning of the design process are the most impactful as two-thirds of clothing's environmental impact occurs as a result of the chosen fabrics and materials. It is our goal to move our cotton fabrics towards GOTS organic cotton, our regular nylon towards recycled nylon, and to use the highest environmental standards for dyeing and finishing for all of our fabrics.
Moving forward towards our goal of becoming completely circular, the organic and recycled cotton collection launched in the Autumn of 2020.
Composed of 70% organic cotton and 30% upcycled cotton mixed with wood pulp, this group has the smallest footprint in our collection to date. While organic cotton eliminates the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and GMO seeds, the use of upcycled cotton scraps lessens the overall ecological impact of the garments by using fewer virgin raw materials. The wood pulp comes from sustainably managed forests and the process by which everything is put together is “closed-loop” meaning more than 99% of the solvent used is recovered and reused and all of the water is recycled.
Compromising 50% of our swim collection, ECONYL® fabric utilizes recycled nylon materials including abandoned fishing nets and other discarded nylon waste that would otherwise go into landfills and oceans.
In 2019 we worked on re-creating our core cotton rib fabric with new organic cotton yarn. As of February 2020, all new pieces made in this collection will be organic. The fabric is GOTS certified, OEKOTEX 100 certified and is made in Spain. The mill produces zero wastewater by working with a water treatment facility to ensure that the water consumed during the manufacturing process is treated and filtered to remove any toxins. Safe chemical management is also used throughout its processes.
It’s no coincidence that our suppliers take the same kind of care in the production of their materials as we do with our products. We work with manufacturers who actively pursue measurable sustainable practices, most of whom have a long list of certifications: EPD Environmental Certification, EPD Climate Certification, ISO 14001 Certification, OEKO-TEX Certification and comply with the EU Reach Regulations.
In translation, they use solar power or cogeneration, creating energy from captured emissions, they measure the carbon footprint of each meter of fabric, and conserve, recycle, and clean excess unused water to reuse in production or return it to the environment.
The future of sustainable fashion is letting go.
Letting go of materials and practices that we are comfortable with for the sake of the environment. Letting go of the constructed demands that drive production to an unsustainable pace. It is time for the industry to evolve in a way that values the longevity of the products, and more importantly the planet, over speed and novelty.
We are not immune to the pressures of the market, and we are always looking to innovate, both for ourselves, and for our customers. When we do innovate, we do so with intention, always making sure that new ideas authentically connect with our brand’s vision and encourage thoughtful consumerism.
If the future of sustainability is in the hands of those brands who can take control of this pace, and encourage others to do the same, then we aim to lead by example for many years to come.
Read Araks’ care tips for ways to make your garments last longer and ways to reduce your carbon footprint.