Wearwell's Co-Founder, Emily Kenney, sits down with Alana Schmidt, Founder + CEO of The Standard Stitch, to talk all things sustainability, fashion, and wisdom learned from starting up an ethical fashion brand.
Emily Kenney: What motivated you to start The Standard Stitch?
Alana Schmidt: I’ve been working in apparel since I was a teenager – performing every type of role you can think of from warehouse to marketing, but a large portion of my experience is from production and product development. Being so close to how a garment is made, I had the unique opportunity to witness the path from concept to final product. It sounds very cliche - but so very true! - the way clothes are made is dirty and incredibly wasteful. You just see it.
As I grew in my career, I was able to select contractors and materials and I learned the norms in the supply chain didn’t have stay that way – there were better alternatives. The problem was that most companies were content in their processes and weren’t interested in change.
I took that information and paired it with my past experience in marketing and buying. So many times, I had heard from customers, friends, and family members how they couldn’t find clothes that fit their bodies. I began to notice how little variety was available at the stores where I shopped. What started as a conversation with my husband of “If I had a company, I would…” turned into “What if I had a company that used clean and quality materials, was size-inclusive, and was made locally and ethically …”, and that turned into: The Standard Stitch!
The Raglan Sweatshirt in Thyme
Emily: Where did your interest in sustainable fashion begin?
Alana: My interest in sustainable fashion started when I discovered there were better alternatives and practices when making clothes. But my real commitment began when I started doing my own research and asking questions. There are so many amazing, sustainable materials and fabrics out there that are either in development or in the market that the average consumer doesn’t even know exists! When we enter a store, we typically see the same fabrics and materials – mostly because it’s inexpensive to produce using those materials instead of more sustainable options.
What I love about sustainable fashion is that it creates a conversation. There is so much to talk about ranging from the food we eat to the clothes we wear to where it all comes from. It’s very exciting to see more and more people interested beyond what they put in their bodies, but on their bodies as well.
The V Neck in Onyx
Emily: We love that, too! What’s one piece of advice you would give someone who is just beginning to build their sustainable wardrobe?
Alana: Keep it simple. Buy quality, core pieces that you will wear often and will last season to season.
Emily: Sustainability in fashion can be described in many different ways. How do you define “sustainable fashion”?
Alana: I love that the word “sustainable fashion” is becoming more well-known. And I agree it can be confusing as some industries have capitalized on the word to be relevant. I hope one day that “sustainable fashion” is not a sector of the industry but the norm of how clothes are made. So I would define “sustainable fashion” as quality clothing, using clean materials that did not harm the people making the clothes or the planet.
The Jogger Short in Plum
Emily: How do you describe The Standard Stitch’s aesthetic?
Alana: Savvy and Cheeky!
Emily: Love that! What are your 3 favorite styles from your recent collection?
The Everyday Jogger in Midnight
Emily: What’s next for The Standard Stitch – any exciting sustainability initiatives, new designs/styles, or growth that you’re looking forward to?
Alana: Yes! So much exciting stuff happening now and in the future. Recently we just launched our Re-Stitch program. When you have worn the heck out of your favorite TSS garment and it’s time to say goodbye – you can send it to us and we will upcycle it into new fabric.
As for new styles – well, you will just have to wait and see…I’ll keep you in suspense! But I will tell you, we are working on our next collection, and I (obviously biased) think it’s going to be the best season yet. Stay tuned!