It starts with the fabric. Virtually everything we produce is made from recycled polyester or nylon. We source all of our fabric in Italy from a supplier that even by European standards is ahead of the game when it comes to wastewater treatment and green energy. By sourcing from somewhere with strict labor and health and safety standards already in place we can be sure people as well as the planet are not left short changed.
Our supplier uses a type of yarn called ECONYL® to produce our nylon. That yarn comes from a process carried out by a company called Aquafil SpA which reforms fishing nets collected from the world's oceans, carpet fluff and other nylon containing material that would otherwise end up in landfill into new fabric. We were in fact one of the very first US apparel companies to use fabric made with ECONYL® yarn.
So crazy was the idea of turning fishing nets into fabric for sportswear back then we struggled to explain to customers what the heck we were talking about. In trying to market our products we were nervous people would think our nylon clothing would be scratchy and rough like a fishing net (PSA: It's actually silky smooth)
The type of plastic that goes into our fabric is PET short for Polyethylene Terephthalate. It's a kind of non-rigid plastic that's used for water, soda and sports drinks in. PET plastic does not contain BPA and polyester, recycled or otherwise doesn't either.
Recycled polyester has been around a lot longer than recycled nylon but given that people have been wearing polyester for over 50 years it's still fairly new. The process starts with PET bottles being shredded into flakes, which are then converted into pellets and melted down. That material is then spun into new polyester yarn which is used to create the recycled polyester that goes into brands like ours. Polyester, recycled or otherwise has a long life in landfill so we're totally about quality that lasts not fast fashion.
Working with quality suppliers has other perks, like fabric that's rated Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX® meaning it's been tested and certified to be free from harmful levels of more than harmful levels of more than 100 substances so when we thought how cute it would be to make a matching mommy and me children's range of leggings we had no hesitations.
Most people don't realize they're shopping from a small factory when they shop at Yoga Democracy. Our art, pattern making, marketing and fulfillment is in the same building in Carefree, Arizona (for real, we're not kidding) as our sewing and printing team. We're never far removed from the product we sell. Our pay our production team wages well above minimum wage with paid holiday and a bright, comfortable and safe working environment.