As we get deeper and deeper into the 21st century, consumers grow more concerned not just with where products come from, but how those products are made. Many of us are willing to spend a little extra money on goods that tout terms like “sustainable” and “fair trade.” How does this apply to traceability and sustainability in luxury clothing?
Henry A. Davidsen & Sustainability
We’re very proud to align ourselves with partners across the industry who focus on being sustainable. This simply means that they keep the environment, worker conditions, and/or animal treatment top of mind.
The very nature of our business – custom clothing – has roots in sustainable practices. This could be valuing workers’ time and talents with living wages. It could be a focus on animal husbandry, and it should be – if we don’t take excellent care of the world’s best sheep, at some point, the quality of the world’s best wool will decline. Without sustainability, there would be no custom clothing industry. It’s in our partners’ best interests, and therefore our own, to keep it top of mind.
At the extreme end of this spectrum lies a perfect example: the industry. For those unaware, vicuna is the animal that produces the world’s most luxurious – and expensive – fiber of the same name. Its softness is unparalleled, and it insulates better than wool. We sometimes refer to it as “cashmere on steroids.”
Only a few decades ago, the vicuna were endangered. Local federal governments (Peru & Chile) recognized this problem and instituted strict controls over the entire manufacturing process. Nowadays, shearing occurs only once every 2-3 years, and there’s government documentation proving the authenticity of the cloth at every step.
What We’re Doing
One of the most impactful ways we at Henry A. Davidsen focus on sustainability is to work with American firms, making clothes in America. Yes, the costs are higher, but the quality of the product more than warrants it. Furthermore, this support of American industry ensures that these artisans will be able to keep making clothes for our discerning clientele.
Environmentally, this makes sense as well. Receiving goods from just a couple of hours away instead of the other side of the world naturally lowers the carbon footprint of those goods.
Traceability In Luxury Cloth
Traceability is simply the ability to trace all of a good’s manufacturing processes, from raw material to final product. In the luxury world that Henry A. Davidsen works in, traceability affords the customer protection as well. After all, how do you know that cashmere sweater you bought is, in fact, cashmere?
In our technologically advanced times, blockchain technology is an increasingly popular way to trace goods.
What is Blockchain Technology?
Blockchain is a type of Distributed Ledger Technology. It’s a system of recording information in such a way that is nearly impossible to hack, alter, or otherwise compromise. How is this done?
Think of manufacturing as a chain. Blockchain technology is a digital ledger of transactions. It duplicates and distributes changes throughout each point of the chain. Each block (ledger) in the chain (manufacturing process) contains each transaction from all the other others. Updates occur automatically whenever a transaction occurs anywhere on the chain.
Dormeuil, one of the world’s top mills and close partner of Henry A. Davidsen, has begun to implement this technology, starting with “Echo,” a gorgeous collection of Super 130’s wools. Each cloth in the book is fully traceable, right down to the farm on which the sheep was raised!
As a company, we’re excited to do everything we can to contribute to a clothing industry zeitgeist of sustainability and traceability. We hope you’re just as excited to support us in that endeavor, and in doing so, support all our partners who share this commitment.