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Contemplating Our Clothing and the Global Fashion Industry

Above: Lan at her desk, wearing one of our zero-waste House Cardi made from men's cashmere scarves.

 

We’re often struck by how essential and beautiful the ability to consider is. To be able to think, carefully, about what one does, what one brings into their life, and who one spends time with is a privilege—and one that we believe needs to be deeply valued.

Of all the things we can consider, amongst the most important is our clothing. One step beyond that is having the capacity to consider its making and impact. Take a simple blouse: Who are the faces behind its creation? What hands sewed the hem and buttons? How did the individual making the blouse feel? Were they paid a fair wage or exploited for their labor? Was the material they were working with pure or were harsh chemicals used and natural resources exhausted?

 

Above: Our cutting table at Atelier Lan Jaenicke in San Francisco.

 

It is critical to consider these questions today. Over the course of the past century, the multi-trillion-dollar global apparel industry has become rife with conflict. Fast fashion has led to egregious practices that negatively impact the people involved in the process of making clothing—from the supply chain to distribution—and our planet. On the other end, ever-changing trends and low prices have enticed people to buy at a rapid pace. Over the last 20 years, consumers have purchased an average of 60 percent more clothing than in decades prior but have kept garments for half the amount of time, according to World Resources Institute.

These facts are hard to bear. An industry meant for making something beautiful and essential has morphed into a giant of despair. There is light, though; there always is. And that is where the act of considering comes into the fold. We believe attention is one powerful way to counter the harsh effects. We say this with reverence to the massive issue. To see grand scale shifts in the apparel industry requires policy change and systemic evolution. Yet still, individual action is powerful. When we take even a slight pause to consider the backstory of a garment, we fuel our agency.

 

Above: Working with our signature woven cashmere from the fabric bolt to the sewing machine.

 

As creators, we’ve been seeing more of this contemplation. A new paradigm is taking shape, one that encompasses a growing demand for greater sustainability, ethical practices, and transparency in the fashion industry. Thankfully data around environmental and social impacts of producing apparel is becoming more widely available, which is fueling increased scrutiny. A growing number of people want to eradicate the humanitarian and environmental costs.

We aim to encourage this positive direction. In all that we do at Lan Jaenicke, we promise to strive to be ethical, kind, and transparent. This includes considering every aspect of our creations, from the fabrics we choose to our no-waste design approach, to our ethics.

We also always want you to feel seen and safe, never pushed or shamed, when considering our pieces. The invitation to ask us questions about our processes is warm and always open. Take your time. Consider a piece—and consider it over and over again. There is no rush. If you choose to buy a Lan Jaenicke item, we want it to last you a lifetime. And if you simply visit us for a moment of inspiration or reprieve, we welcome that just as fully.

The truth is, the great work lands in the hands of us, the makers. If we create pieces with integrity that entice you to pause and consider, this will hopefully empower us all to evolve in a beautiful, inclusive direction. 

 

Above: A display of our Signature cashmere coats and jackets suspended by hand-spliced cotton ropes and Californian grown bamboo.