Let’s set the scene; how bad can it be to just throw away an old piece of clothing?
The short answer: Pretty bad.
Every year, an estimated 92 million tons of textile waste is created by the fashion industry. When it comes to fashion waste, it is more than just the fabrics and garments. We’re also talking about resources like energy and water, microfibers and plastics, and process-related waste such as bad inventory management, overproduction and consumption, that all directly affect our planet. Since 2000, the number of garments produced annually has doubled and exceeded 100 billion for the first time.
There is no one stop solution, and there is no one singular source that contributes to the issue. Life would be pretty neat if that was the case. Rather, it is up to brands, governments, and consumers alike to work together to champion a less wasteful industry. The problem with overproduction and overconsumption in the fashion industry isn’t an easy fix, but our collective priority should be to reduce waste and focus on longevity and quality design.
Which brings me to the topic of this post – how my brand, Adhere To, came to be. So let me ask you this:
How many times have you felt the need to buy new outerwear as the weather gets colder? When you visit a rainy city on holiday?
Have you ever been forced to choose between functionality and fashion?
Or not knowing how to dress when it’s too warm for a winter puffer but too cold for a rain jacket?
It was January 2020, I had recently landed in Australia for a short visit (which turned into nearly 2.5 years due to Covid). After a fulfilling 7 years at lululemon, immersing myself across various departments from menswear garment development and design to be womens outerwear designer, I began freelancing. I remained designing outerwear for lululemon, and other brands such as Outdoor Voices and Orage. Additionally to designing, I would develop full lines from initial sourcing to final production for various brands. In the midst of all that, Adhere To was slowly taking shape.
Growing up in Vancouver, I have always been drawn to urban cities but remained a deep rooted love for nature and the outdoors. Throughout my ten years of experience in the technical apparel industry, working directly with suppliers, and playing fashion designer as a little girl, I wanted to offer what I believe the market was missing. Driven by obsession and combining sustainability, functionality, and contemporary, I founded Adhere To– a Canadian based, women-owned, low-impact outerwear brand that uses low impact materials, ethical manufacturing and a low-carbon supply chain- without compromising aesthetics and functionality. My experience in garment development and sourcing contributed greatly to designing with circularity in mind. Such as, using mono-fibred material that can be recycled again – a poly thread with a poly fabric, using polyester or nylon recycled from fabric rather than plastic bottles, etc.
At this time, our outerwear is built on using recycled materials, down to the zipper tape and thread. Although recycled synthetics is not the perfect answer- it is a step in the right direction for outerwear. Outerwear requires durability and longevity- the technical properties of a synthetic yarn will always be greater than natural. Each material supplier is certified with either or all Bluesign®, Global Recycled Standard, OEKO-TEX®, Higgs. Our garment factory is WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) certified. Aside from materials and suppliers, the brand is founded on low-impact measures – focused on small production runs, styles designed on a temperature basis rather than seasonally, and our packaging. Building the brand has allowed me to build a low impact structure from scratch.
With longevity and durability in mind, every piece is well thought-out, from fabric choice to transformability to customization. Our outerwear is designed to tackle the Canadian rain and ever-changing seasons while offering transformability (3-in-1) to save you from buying different jackets for different seasons. Our assortment ranges from lightweight to mid weight 3L Waterproof jackets, to heavier weight down jackets with PFC-Free DWR water resistance.
My goal was to offer functionality that doesn’t appear completely teched out. Outerwear that can comfortably take you from a rainy afternoon walk in the park to a candlelight dinner reservation at 7pm. Adhere To is designed for those who appreciate quality and care about the wellbeing of the planet, but still want to enjoy playing around with fashion. I took elements of classic styles, updating them through elevated fit and pattern work. Focusing on every detail- down to designing all custom hardware. I needed to put something out in the world that was considered, not just another item.
Becoming more conscious shoppers doesn’t have to mean forgoing our love for fashion, but rather a mind-switch to become more aware of all the waste that does creep out of our closets. If anything, my love for fashion drove me to this venture. While I was working directly with factories in Vietnam and doing sampling close-up, I realized the difficulty of finding sustainable options and the complexity in technical outerwear, and sought for a better solution.
At the end of the day, we are also consumers. We adhere to a higher awareness and consciousness of what we wear and the quality of apparel we buy and where it comes from. Adhere To is produced with purpose and intention – it is a true labor of love.
Founded by Alexandra Dean, Adhere To is a Canadian, small female owned and designed brand, bridging the gap of fashion, function, and sustainability in the outerwear industry.