Romina Sotirova was created from the absence of quality American made, green clothing that reflects the active lifestyle of professional women who want to make the eco-friendly and socially responsible retail choice.
Planet, People, Profit
BECAUSE GREEN LOOKS GOOD IN BLACK
We believe that the footprint we leave behind is our legacy, and we want to make ours a good one.
We won’t sacrifice social responsibility for style. We live here, too, and we know that protecting the environment around us is key to sustainability. This starts with mindful and responsible sourcing of our raw materials. Our cottons and wools are naturally renewable and recyclable fibers. After two years of research, we hand-picked suppliers who share our respect for the environment in their production of natural fibers.
In both categories of natural and manmade textiles, some fibers are greener than others. Here is a list of the ones we use, the ones we don't and why.
Hemp, is the greenest, most sustainable fiber on the planet. It is fast growing, therefore highly renewable. Out of all natural fibers it has the lowest water footprint and the highest yield per acre. It is not only carbon neutral, but actually has a positive carbon footprint because it stores carbon dioxide as it grows and requires no pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. Hemp is also a highly giving plant, as it provides not only fiber for textiles, but from all its different parts we can derive, construction materials, medicine, food, cosmetics, fuel and paper. Like wool it has natural insulating properties. If it's cold outside it helps keep you warm, and inversely, if it's hot it helps keep you cool. Hemp is also three times stronger than cotton, so clothing made from it will look and feel newer longer.
Wool, Merino in particular is amazing! Here's why. It is one of the oldest fibers in use, and is highly renewable and sustainable. It is a protein fiber classified as keratin. Wool is all natural and non-toxic for the environment even when it decomposes in a land fill. It has anti-bacterial properties, does not absorb bad odors, self extinguishes is set on fire, and it has natural wicking properties. It is the best insulator. It keeps you warm and cozy when it's cold and dry and cool when its hot. In addition it has lanolin, highly prized by the cosmetics industry for its incredible moisturizing ability. Wool is water repellent, resists wrinkling and pilling, it's durable and highly versatile in the design of textiles. Compared to wool from all other wool producing animals, sheep in the merino family produce the most. One ewe (female sheep) can produce up to 40 pounds (18 kg) of wool. In clothing terms that translates to about 100 light weight sweaters or 30 heavy winter cardigans.
Tencel/ Lyocell, is man made from the wood pulp of fast growing eucalyptus trees from sustainable farms. Eucalyptus trees require little water and no toxic pesticides to grow. The wood pulp is then processed into fiber in an award winning closed-loop spinning. This process recovers and decomposes all solvents and emissions, and eliminates waste dumping by 98%. In addition, this fiber is completely biodegradable and its pure white color in combination with its high absorbency, requires significantly less dye to achieve any fashionable color.
Linen, or more accurately naturally retted linen comes from the flax plant. The plant grows on marginal lands, and can be grown anywhere in the world including locally, which reduces it's carbon footprint. It has a smaller water footprint than cotton, is more breathable and like hemp, the plant has more than one use. The growing and manufacturing process is simple and sustainable.
Organic cotton, though 100% natural and vastly better than conventional cotton, is not that great for the environment. It requires an immense amount of fresh water to produce a comparatively small amount per acre. It also releases carbon dioxide, a green house gas, back into the atmosphere as it decomposes. For these reasons, we use it sparingly and blended with hemp, linen, wool and silk, which reduces its negative impact.
Silk is wonderful to the touch and beautiful in appearance. Unfortunately not ethical. After some light research we discovered Peace Silk. Very similar in look and feel to conventional silk, peace silk does not kill the silk producing Bombyx mori moth. We were very excited to find this ethical alternative. Unfortunately after some further research we discovered that many peace silk producers employ child labour. Because it is sustainable and all natural, we will use conventional silk while we seek out suppliers of Sabra silk. A vegetable silk made from the Agave and/or Aloe Vera cactus.
Cashmere comes form the Hircus goat, and is incredibly soft and like merino wool is all natural renewable and non toxic. But it's not nearly as sustainable. One cashmere goat produces, on average, only 4 ounces of fiber. To make just one light sweater you need at least 4 goats. A shocking difference from the 100 sweaters you can get from one sheep. Today the majority of cashmere comes from China. The demand and popularity of affordable cashmere (lower quality cashmere) has criticaly increased the size of the herds. The Nature Conservancy estimates that there are over 100 million goats grazing the Mongolian plains. This creates a big problem for the eco-system. The goats graze the native grasslands at a much faster rate than can regrow, essentially turning lush green plains into a desert. This reduces the availability of water in the region for both people and animals, it leads to very harsh winters, drought, reported sand storms and in 2010, led to the death of over 9 million livestock, the majority of which were Hircus goats. For these reasons, we opt out on using cashmere.
From top left: Cannabis Sativa or Hemp plant, Hemp fibers, Cotton, Flax plant, Linen fibers, Merino ram, Merino fleece, Bombix Mori, Unraveling of silk cocoons, Hiricus goat, Cashmere undercoat, Polyester fibers manufacturing.
Polyester, Nylon, Acrylic, Vegan Leather, Microfiber, and Spandex are all petroleum-based/ derived fibers. In other words, plastics. Though they are popular for many different reasons, usually related to easy care for consumers, these fibers are the worst for the environment. They are all made from non-renewable oil and use toxic chemicals in their manufacturing process. Because they are made to often mimic natural fibers, and pill, fibers get lost in the wash and eventually find their way into our rivers and oceans where they form a thin floating layer on the surface that takes up to 200 years to biodegrade. In the mean time it has devastating effects on marine life. We stay away from these as well.
Recycled Polyester was at first something we were very excited about. We support the removal and recycling of plastics from our oceans, beaches, parks and land fills, but we don't support them being remade into consumer textiles. Just like regular polyester, the fibers from recycled polyester will once again find their way into our environment, and fine fibers are much harder to clean and reclaim than water bottles and the like.
Viscose, Acetate, Modal and Rayon are all man-made fibers from natural sources (wood pulp) like Lyocell. Unfortunately unlike lyocell, they don't employ closed-loop spinning and release many toxic chemicals into the environment. We choose to design without them.
Recycled Cotton, Wool and any other natural fiber that is turned back into fabric does not meet our approval. Why? The quality of the fabric, unless blended with polyester, is very poor. It is not particularly stable, and pills far more than when first spun. The extra steps in processing however make it more expensive. We don't believe our customers should pay more to look a fuzzy mess shortly after purchase. We are very supportive of these fibers being up-cycled for other industrial purposes such as building insulation and pillow stuffing.
Dead Stock Fabrics & Pre-Orders
All too often, fabric mills will over produce and design houses will over purchase. We try to rescue as many yards as we can from going into a landfill. We try our best to purchase the more eco-friendly ones, but the truth is almost 95% of the time the exact content information is not available , and there is a possibility that there are small amounts of fibers that are not the ones we would prefer.
When we do come acrsoss a gem we love, it is usually limited quantity. We go through an extensive design process to find the best possible style for the fabric. We then make a fit approved prototype, and offer it for Pre-Order. If you really love it, we want to make sure we have your size and you can customize the fit! Also producing the wrong sizes creates a lot of waste, and isn't environmentally friendly.
Our Manufacturing & Materials
Manufacturing is the sector in which the apparel industry is most unethical towards people and animals. We believe both must be treated with dignity and respect.
Our wool yarn comes from two sources. Biella Yarns by Sudwolle and Filiatura Papi Fabio. Both carry certifications for environmentally friendly manufacturing processes ( including good animal husbandry) and facilities, such as Oeko-Tex Standard 100plus and DETOX Greenpeace.
In addition to making a product that contributes to a healthier environment, we want to contribute to building stronger and healthier communities. Every product we sell is made in the US, keeping jobs at home and members of our communities gainfully employed.
Our sweaters are manufactured in sunny California, in a factory with decades long experience in making top quality products for the luxury market, all on state of the art energy efficient machines.
All of our other styles, that require any kind of sewing, from t-shirts to coats, are made in New York city, where we are. This way, we are involved in the precess on a daily basis and work with the sewers directly to ensure the best possible quality. It also helps us rest easier knowing how the workers are treated and the working conditions provided.
For all our printed fabric needs, we use the services of energy efficient, state of the art digital printers with patented 100% biodegradable, water-based, non-toxic inks. Because color is applied directly to the fabric, and requires no pre or post-treatment, water and waste are completely removed from the process.
MADE TO FIT THE MODERN WOMAN ON THE GO
It’s all about need and desire, comfort and style.
When you think about your favorite clothes, they are the ones that make you look good, but even more importantly, they are the ones that make you feel great. When a piece of clothing is created, specifically with your body shape in mind, it will be more comfortable. If you feel more comfortable in your clothes, you feel more comfortable in your own skin. Our ready made designs don't follow the industry standard ratio of 34-24-34. The average woman tends to need just a little extra for he hips, and our cuts reflect that.
No two women are shaped exactly the same. We understand that finding clothes to flatter your figure isn’t always easy. We want you to embrace your curves without having to sacrifice style or extra money for alterations. When you shop Customize It, our designs are made specifically to cater to your unique body shape, and if you have a favorite color that is not part of our season's line, you can change it!
Our pieces transition seamlessly from the office to that late-night glass of wine with friends, and everything in between. Whether it’s the classic pencil skirt or sweater dress, our line is as versatile as you are—sophisticated on every level. You’ll feel confident in choosing styles that fit you well the first time, every time.
We believe in compensating everyone fairly for their work. Unfortunately the environment has no bank account we can deposit into. That is why we want to donate a large percentage of our profits to the most reputable organizations that protect our environment and bio diversity through conservation, education, relief and new technologies. Full list and more information comping soon.