Here at Purple Rain Adventure Skirts, we believe that the catalyst for change lies within us all. Through a connection with nature we see the importance of treating others, including Mother Earth, the way we want to be treated. We are inspired by the Leave No Trace principles of the backcountry and strive to apply the same philosophy to business.
With this in mind, we’d like to share how we incorporate sustainable and earth-friendly practices when making hiking skirts. In no particular order, here are some of the actions we take …
- We purchase OEKO-TEX certified fabrics. This means the fabrics we use are not only free of harmful chemicals, but also have been produced in a way that respects human rights, labor standards and the environment. (Note: our goal over the next year is to move toward fabrics made from recycled content. We also would eventually like to incorporate performance wool when the price comes down and sourcing is more transparent).
- We purchase deadstock fabric, which is industry speak for leftover material from large manufacturers. Purchasing deadstock fabric keeps it out of landfills and reduces demand for new materials.
- We resell usable fabric remnants on our site. You can get 6 ounces of polyester/spandex knit performance fabric woven with moisture wicking yarn for $4.99. It’s perfect for headbands, hairbands, crafting or costumes.
- We reuse fabric scraps ourselves, making Halloween costumes and new clothes for ourselves and our families.
- When demand grew to more than we could keep pace with ourselves, we hired a local seamstress here in Medford, Oregon. This reduces shipping impacts and keeps the money and job local (lord knows we need it in Medford!). Our seamstress loves the environment too and actively works to cut waste. She’s also a kickass entrepreneur mama. Our founder, Mandy, and her seamstress literally hug after each meeting.
- Purple Rain Adventure Skirts International HQ is in Mandy’s home. Carving out a space for her studio within her home lessens utility usage. To offset the electricity that does get used to create our hiking skirts, we purchase energy blocks from Blue Sky energy. This means our energy comes from green sources, such as solar and wind power.
- When shipping out our skirts and kilts, we use mailers made from 100% recycled materials that are also reusable. We also use 100% recycled paper for packing slips. And, Mandy walks all Purple Rain Adventure Skirt orders to the post office, eliminating fossil fuels consumption. (Note: we also avoid plastic wrap, which often covers new apparel items).
- This fall we took the step of becoming an Oregon Benefit Corp for Good, meaning we’re now recognized as an Oregon Benefit Company. This is the first step in the stringent process to eventually become a certified B Corp. It demonstrates our commitment to the Triple Bottom Line of people, planet and profit.
- We offer the option of custom orders. People can have a skirt made to their measurements. This means getting a skirt or kilt they really like and that actually fits, leading to less consumption (i.e. having one great black skirt versus two or three you only kind of like).
- Purple Rain Adventure Skirts are built to last. We design our hiking skirts and kilts to withstand six months of daily hard wear and tear. We have customers who continue to wear their skirts even after they complete their thru hike.
After Mandy’s AT hike, she distinctly remembers throwing out her clothes at a hotel in Portland, Maine. And, we know many people who ceremoniously burn theirs. But continue to wear them, gasp!!!
The picture below shows a customer with Mandy at PCT Days. Mandy made her a custom skirt for her 2016 thru hike and she is still wearing it. We see this as a true testament to paying a little extra for what you really want and what you will really use. Mandy fondly remembers making that skirt and wondered how it would work for her. She even put a little pee rag loop on it. “It was such a treat to meet her and see how the skirt held up,” Mandy said.
Parting Thoughts on Sustainability
We see sustainability as more than just fabric sourcing. It has to do with our everyday choices, like walking instead of driving and bringing your own bag to the grocery store and your own to-go containers to restaurants when dining out.
It is making choices that decrease demand for fast fashion and single-use plastics. It's making a conscious decision about what we choose to bring into our home in the first place. Will we actually use it or will it end up hanging in the closet or in the goodwill pile (most of which ends up in landfills anyway)?
Mandy says …
I get easily overwhelmed when I think about climate change. I'm scared for the kind of world my son will grow up in. We live in a beautiful place that has hazardous air quality for at least a month a year from wildfires. And I've seen this increase just in the short time we have lived here.
As a business owner that contributes to consumerism I feel an obligation to do business with an Earth first and kindness approach. When it comes down to it, our daily actions are what really matter. We have the power to make change with how we spend our money. Vote with your dollars, believe me, businesses will listen.
We are all in this together and what we do today shapes the world for our children, one skirt at a time.
Do you feel as passionately about environmentally friendly business practices as we do? Share your thoughts with us via a comment below!