Hello Dear Reader! Happy Fall! We hope you are powering through our current Covid pandemic and maintaining health, safety and positivity during this challenging time. This is a FEEL GOOD story- a story of a brand doing work that is making a big impact on the planet and in peoples lives. We are excited to share with you our latest featured brand: California Cloth Foundry.
Written by Katia Hauser, fashion photos by Autumn Sonnichsen and still lifes by California Cloth Foundry
Today, it’s not uncommon to look at the ingredients in our skincare routines and select “better-for-you” products that are clean, natural and toxin free. We also may prefer to buy organic food from the farmers market instead of from larger supermarkets. Undoubtedly, labels like certified organic, natural, and local are valued and sought after in the categories of skincare and food. But what about fashion? Should these qualifications matter for the clothes we wear too?
If we ever wonder what’s inside our clothing, we look to its tag. Tucked away behind the neck or at the waist, we will find this tiny addition with washing instructions and fabric content – maybe it reads polyester, nylon, or cotton. What the tag won’t include is how the clothing was dyed or processed, or if any harmful chemicals were used or still remain on the garment. And it won’t disclose, for example, that polyester is just another form of plastic, shedding microplastics with each wear and wash. These hidden truths about our clothing and its potential toxicity reveal a gap in transparency. Shouldn’t tags tell us more, for both environmental and personal reasons? And moreover, what if the farm-to-table food movement was brought to fashion, and our clothing was made naturally?
Leading the way in farm-to-fashion is California Cloth Foundry (CCF), a regenerative fashion company making luxury leisure from pure and natural plant based ingredients. Los Angeles based and women owned, this purpose driven for profit company is poised to scale for both growth and good. Their botanical based collection is made from their own clean textiles, crafted with certified fibers from renewable raw materials like sustainably forested wood and USDA Organic and California Cleaner Cotton. These textiles are further softened with minerals, and colored with veggie dyes.
“Our clothes should be made with the same consideration as our food – naturally, and with nothing we can’t consume”, CCF founder Lydia Wendt says of the the food-and-fiber connection, “we make clothes good enough to eat,” she added cheekily. Just like beauty and food products, all ingredients used to make CCF’s collection are listed on their website under a regenerative page. Scroll through and you will find madder root, chestnut, iron, and egg shells – ingredients that are both intriguing and refreshingly familiar.
To convert these natural materials into workable and lasting fabrics in beautiful colors, stripes, prints and finishes, Wendt has employed her 30 years of industry relationships, expertise and passion to develop unique green processes and formulas. Through this alchemy, her company and cohorts have transformed natural fiber and dye traditions that are thousands of years old into modern solutions to make clothing naturally. This effort was made possible through collaborations with a global community of innovators who wish to unlock the power not just of plants, but also of proteins and minerals to create natural apparel.
CCF’s regenerative textiles are sourced and processed locally (mostly in California). Just like the farm-to-table movement, this company is rooted in traceability and knowing where their ingredients come from and how they are processed. CCF’s founder added, “For food and fashion alike, we need to have similar standards, and ingredient’s listings, for what we put in as well as what we put on our bodies…our skin is our largest organ and can absorb up to 65% or more of the chemicals that we put on it, and that means the chemistry in our clothes.”
There is another benefit to producing regenerative clothing with no harmful chemicals that goes beyond comfort and breathability. Wendt calls it, “the magic of soil to skin to soil” – CCF’s apparel and textiles are almost entirely compostable, contributing to waste reduction. Their plant-based ingredients come from the soil, and will eventually give way to new growth in the future. This concept is captured by the sticker that seals each CCF package, reading “I was a plant, I will be again.”
Transitioning to present times, California Cloth Foundry has pivoted their local supply chain to make reusable, breathable face masks offered through a buy-one-gift-one initiative. This new addition to their collection complements the existing line, and places a new importance on why the ingredients in textiles matter. Wendt remarked, “As we directly breathe through the new wardrobe essential, a facemask, it has never been more important to ensure the purity of the fabric we are breathing through. Since 2013 CCF has been making the healthiest textiles on the planet, with no harmful chemicals, and in addition to a healthy wardrobe of apparel we are now purposing our fabrics into masks.”
Up next, CCF has just launched herbal plant mask kits that are exemplary of their commitment to natural ingredients and botanical alchemy. These kits walk customers through an experience of kitchen-dying masks with herbs and plants that are thoughtfully selected for their unique plant properties; some are soothing, some are stimulating, and all leave masks with refreshing aromas.This mask kit, like all of CCF’s products, stands as a connecting link between mother nature, all the growers and makers in-between, and the wearers. And it all begins with the plant, using natural ingredients as the foundation upon which to build an ever-expanding community from soil to skin for the future of sustainable fashion.