Tuesday, September 27, 2022

In This New Compostable Menswear Collection, Even the Buttons Biodegrade

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New York fashion label Gomorrah is prioritizing garment end-of-life in its new compostable menswear collection.

Every item in the new Gomorrah menswear collection can be composted—completely broken down, leaving no trace. The luxury fashion label says the entire collection is made from 100 percent certified organic plant-based materials, right down to the threads, labels, and buttons.

“We need new apparel companies with progressive business models to offer better products with more value,” Itzett Romero and Max Sudak, co-founders of Gomorrah, said in a statement.

Gomorrah launched out of New York City in 2020 with a commitment to make eco fashion even more sustainable by addressing end of life and garment disposal—two areas often overlooked even as the fashion industry shifts toward more responsible sourcing and manufacturing.

Gomorrah Men's Lakeside Button Down
Gomorrah Men’s Lakeside Button Down | Courtesy

“It’s vital to not place undue stress on the environment in the interest of business and profit. We’re at a point where human activity is the number one driver of planetary change,” the co-founders said.

Microplastic in clothing

Romero and Sudak say traditional garment making is emissions-heavy, which is unhealthy for factory workers and their surrounding communities. “Clothes are polluting the earth throughout their entire lifecycle, with 50 percent of all plastic microfiber emissions occurring while on the body,” they say. “So we eat, breathe, and drink our clothes. It’s in our lungs and blood. Additionally, we’re sending plastic back into the ocean during every wash.”

This is a big problem; plastic increases the acidity of the oceans, which puts pressure on ecosystems, causes coral bleaching, among other issues, and prevents the oceans from sequestering carbon.

Recent research found microplastic in human blood for the first time. Another recent study found microplastic in the Arctic, with evidence of a new garbage patch forming in the region.

Gomorrah Men's Night Swim Tee in Blue Shadow
Gomorrah Men’s Night Swim Tee in Blue Shadow | Courtesy

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, failure to address plastic in clothing could mean plastic outnumbers fish in the world’s oceans by 2050.

“The circular economy considers every stage of a product’s journey—before and after it reaches the customer,” the Foundation says on its website. “This approach is not only vital to stop plastic pollution, it also offers strong economic, social, and climate benefits.”

The Foundation say that by 2040 a circular economy has the potential to reduce the volume of plastic entering oceans by 80 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent—all while saving $200 billion per year and creating 700,000 additional jobs.

‘New level of expectation’

Gomorrah’s founders say clothing purchases have increased by five times since the 1980s, with the average consumer purchasing nearly 70 new garments per year. These items generally aren’t compostable, with many made from virgin fibers and plastic byproducts, such as nylon and polyester. Even organic and natural fibers can contain threads, buttons, and labels that are made with synthetic materials and toxic dyes.

To address this, the company says it is pioneering a “new level of expectation” from consumers, specifically how apparel companies operate. By only using materials the earth can break down, Gomorrah says the company is also reducing worker exposure to toxic chemicals—requirements for compostability generally have a lower threshold for toxicity. This is better for the planet, too.

All of these efforts help Gomorrah with educating consumers on the impact the fast-fashion throw-away culture has on the planet.

Gomorrah jacket
Gomorrah wants consumers to think about the end of life for their garments | Courtesy

But just because the garments are biodegradable doesn’t mean consumers should toss them anytime soon. Gomorrah’s founders hope customers give their items years of wear before composting.

“Gomorrah is working to solve for post-consumer textile waste and the stress Americans are placing on other countries as a result of our consumption habits,” said the co-founders.

“The answer isn’t to stop purchasing clothes and put millions of people out of work, but to disrupt an industry, surface a model, and have consumers make demands of other brands through the power of their dollars after they see that the model works—and that it even works in the luxury apparel space.”

The new collection features two product: a fully compostable t-shirt, which is already available for purchase on the Gomorrah website, and the Lakeside Button-Down, which will be available by Spring 2023.

Read about how Rothy’s and Evian created a tennis collection from upcycled Evian water bottles.

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