Have you ever wondered where your clothing comes from?
Before a garment makes it to your closet, it goes through countless designing, sewing, sourcing, and quality-control processes. Each step of the way represents decisions that the person or company who made that garment had to make - decisions that, in today’s fashion manufacturing industry, can be really hard to make.
At POPFLEX, the inspiration and integrity we weave into each and every collection is incredibly important to us - as is our relationship with our wonderful POPFLEX community. That’s why, today, we’re going to take a moment to step back and talk about a few topics that are really close to us: Fast fashion, making ethical clothing, and our commitment to always figure out better ways to best serve you guys.
Let’s start with a really important definition:
What is Fast Fashion?
Fast fashion refers, on a surface level, to garments made quickly - however, it can get a lot more complicated than that. There are some clothing manufacturers who may purposely sell flimsy or poorly-made pieces that are designed to fall apart quickly - forcing a customer to re-purchase a piece time and time again. This purchasing cycle results in higher revenue for the manufacturer - but it can cost the customer a lot of money (and frustration!) in the long run.
In addition, it poses a huge environmental problem. Each of those flimsy garments, even once they’re worn through, need to go somewhere; and, unfortunately, that ‘somewhere’ is usually a landfill. According to some estimates, 85% of textiles go to the dump each year - and the production of all of those garments sends a TON of carbon emissions and pollution into our environment, as well.
This is a problem that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. While the effects of the pandemic on the fashion industry remain to be totally seen, one thing’s for sure: People are still buying clothes...now, more than ever.
As a result, it seems that fast fashion might also be sticking around for a while. Why? Fast fashion manufacturers are often associated with low-quality pieces and underpaid workers, which allows these manufacturers to keep their prices attractively low. When fast fashion offers a new thing every week and promises never to break the bank, why would anyone choose differently?
For starters, at POPFLEX, we choose differently.
We’re a small, woman-owned, minority-owned business - and we want to ensure that every supporting member of our team has the resources to live a good life. When we charge higher prices, we’re doing so because the quality of our products and and integrity of our processes necessitate it.
When we do make a profit, we use that to invest in our entire team’s happiness and health - and to constantly seek out ways to improve our business. We’re always looking for ways to source more sustainable fabrics, to researching more ways to make our pieces last longer as valuable parts of your fitness wardrobe.
Restock or Redesign: Why We Do What We Do
Here’s a real confession, guys.
When we drop a new line of activewear, It’s a huge gamble for us.
Every collection, every design - we have NO idea if you guys will fall in love with a piece or if it’ll be a flop. We do TONS of market research, we directly ask you guys what you want, and place countless hopes on every piece we put in our store….but, ultimately, we never really know if a specific piece will do well.
If a line sells out fast, we do a happy dance, and then we figure out what we can do next. Sometimes, we take a chance on a restock, because - sometimes - that’s worth it. Other times, it’s…not. Studies have shown that unsold garments create a TON of the waste associated with our industry. Because we want to do our part for the environment, as much as we can, that’s often just not something we want to risk.
Whenever we restock an item, trust us: We’re excited, as well - it’s like seeing an old friend after a long time apart. However, one of the things we absolutely love about our POPFLEX process is that it allows our talented designer, Cassey, to really flex her creative muscles (as she’s helping you flex yours - see what we did, there?). That’s why we’re always innovating and designing and creating fun, bold, and invigorating brand-new products and designs.
We promise, we love each of our offerings and are always keeping tabs on whether to restock or redesign - and if there’s a specific piece you’d love to see make a comeback, comment and let us know. We always keep the wants and needs of our POPsters in mind when coming up with the next fun thing!
Ultimately, we want to surprise and excite you - and so, we work really hard to make you feel delighted with every drop, even if you don’t see anything in it that you need to have at this time.
The Environmental Impact of POPFLEX Designs
As we move into 2021, figuring out how to increase the eco-friendliness of our lines is something we think about all the time. While it’s wildly difficult, and perhaps even impossible, for a small clothing company to move towards a 100% eco-friendly production model, we pride ourselves on taking steps in the right direction as often as we can. In this, we’re following in the footsteps of other apparel companies who are also innovating eco-friendly fashion practices, and being as transparent as possible about our plans for the future.
In our case, activewear tends to require stretchy, lightweight, and sweat-wicking qualities that 100% biodegradable fabrics (like hemp or cotton) don’t currently provide. This means that we do use materials like nylon, rayon, or spandex that are hard to source in a 100% eco-friendly way…but we are aware of our responsibility to the environment, and we are ALWAYS researching new ways to reduce our carbon footprint and offer you guys truly sustainable options.
One example? Last year, we debuted our Terrain line - a collection full of earth-toned colors and effortless silhouettes, designed to bring you closer to nature. With that collection, we introduced hang tags made from recycled paper and packaging bags made mostly from vegetables. Our veggie-based bags decompose in just 180 days, while regular plastic bags take over 1000 years.
So, you see, we’re constantly trying to figure out ways - as a relatively new, relatively small business in the activewear scene - to step up and do our part.
How We're Practicing Eco-Friendliness
As far as fashion goes, here's the truth: If you want your wardrobe to be 100% eco-friendly, right now, you can't buy anything at all! The next best thing is to wear hand-me-downs, or to shop second-hand. We've heard of many brands offering secondhand or slightly worn pieces on their websites; and we ALL love a good thrift store find. As an activewear apparel brand, because of the nature of our pieces and the way they're meant to be used, we're not currently offering secondhand pieces in our online store.
Don't worry, though - we're constantly brainstorming behind the scenes. You’ll always see us trying something new and working to meet our eco-friendly goals. That’s just who we are, and what we bring to the table.
One thing we're currently learning more about is the different easy, tiny (yet super impactful!) ways that we can be more eco-friendly in our day-to-day lives. Wanna join us? Here are some of the new hacks and habits we're trying:
- Using reusable straws and grocery bags
- Reducing your water pressure while you're washing dishes
- Pausing your shower while shaving
- Turning your water off while brushing your teeth
- Using beeswax instead of plastic wrap
- Using LED lights in your fixtures at home
- Choosing plant-based meals more often
- Using a reusable water bottle
- Turning off lights when not in use
- Opting for paperless bills
- Buying secondhand for home goods
Our Promise to the POPFLEX Community
We are not fast fashion. We do NOT use scarcity tactics as we go about our design or restock decisions. We’re a small business with integrity, and we value you and your experience with every POPFLEX piece so, so much.
It’s our goal to provide you with quality garments that will be go-to pieces that you absolutely LOVE using for years and years. That's just one of the ways that we’re gonna be here for our POPFLEX community, and will always continue to do so in the future. 💛