It was a big idea...
Harvest & Mill started with a big idea: What would sustainability in fashion really look like and how can we make it happen? We wanted to find solutions to the enormous problems of the fashion industry. We knew we had to build a new system, not simply criticize the status quo. This new system needed to take into account the entire web of environmental, social and economic factors as well as design and beauty. We started by clearly identifying the problem: everyone wears clothing, but a small group of multi-national companies were controlling this massive supply chain, polluting the world, creating inhumane working conditions and hiding it all beneath repetitive designs and boring advertising.
The problem solving started when the designer behind "Harvest Organic Clothing" teamed up with a farmer and "jack-of-all-trades" to bring Harvest & Mill to life. The combination of sustainable farming and independent clothing manufacturing experience proved to be invaluable. We have seen the food movement raise awareness and offer small-scale, real-life solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. It is precisely those small scale solutions that big food companies now use. Fashion can do that too. We believe design needs to work hand-in-hand with the materials and process - materials guide design as much as design guides materials. Function and beauty are inextricable. This was our founding principal. When the fashion industry destroys the environment and degrades human life, it does not function well and it is not beautiful. But when fashion can heal the environment and empower humans, it functions as a true source of beauty.
We built a blueprint for what eco-fashion would really look like. This blueprint included environmental, economic and social considerations as well as function and beauty. It all came together as a t-shirt. Meanwhile, we saw other clothing companies spring up, clothing companies that drained the meaning out of words like "sustainable", "eco-friendly" and "fair trade". As we looked deeper, we saw that even many small companies were using the same supply chains or buying directly from big box companies but just marketing their clothes differently.
We are all becoming more media savvy and concious of our consumer choices. We know that companies and marketing campaigns manipulate good ideas in order to sell us more stuff. At the same time, we all recognize that our consumer choices can have a positive effect on our health, the environment, our communities and the world.
Harvest & Mill has started an honest conversation about transparency and solutions. We are not a third party certifier, we are not a blog and we are not a marketing firm. We are designers, farmers, inventors and educators interested in intelligent design and implementation. We have created a working standard for eco-fashion. Sustainability is real. What's next? Want to participate in the conversation?
Contact us here. There is a place for you at the table.