Our Made To Order Journey

February 14, 2023

4/12 4:37:16 UTC
Haste Makes Waste

Literally and figuratively. Maybe we talk about waste in the apparel industry too much.

But how about the fact that haste also makes crap? The endless pumping of hyper-specialized gear results in just that.

And it’s time we could spend making something great. Something as great as our Snow:Cycle Capsule, which is so versatile, stylish, durable, functional, and luxuriously sustainable, that we’d be crazy to make it.

Unless we know that you want it too. The reality is that no brand would take a risk on a product as innovative as this unless they know demand exists. It will always be easier to make something just like everything else. But, honestly, who needs it?

Think of the waiting time between placing your order and receiving it as the virtuous hurdle that a truly great product must clear to find its way into your life. A life filled with more time spent in nature, and less clutter, choices and competing demands for your attention.

By making fewer garments more mindfully and intentionally, together, we can make them better. And, friends, it’s time for that.

Why Made to Order?

We’ll never save the planet by shopping. Instead, we need to ensure that the twilight of ethical consumerism ushers in the dawn of systemic change, which will only be achieved through collective action. Our business's design must reflect our commitment to systemic change, pursued across four dimensions: Systems of Dress, Materialist Philosophy, Circularity, and Community.

That’s how we kicked off our Jan 22 newsletter on materials selection. Yet here we are, a year later, asking you to shop, a request often unironically referred to in the biz as a “call to action.” This time, however, the call to action— to preorder our Snow:Cycle Capsule— feels just right because it brings together every dimension of our commitment to systemic change. 

If you’re reading our newsletter, you probably understand the problem with the apparel industry, which extends well beyond fast fashion. Outdoor gear can be especially damaging because the chemicals used for waterproofing virtually never disappear, accumulate in nature, and eventually find their way back to us. If not, Alec Leach (writing for the inspiring Paynter Jackets) summarizes why it’s a political problem that we won’t solve by shopping. 

However, there’s no denying that our choices have consequences, the flip side of which is the empowering realization that we can have an impact. How we shop can make a difference, it’s just not going to do so in isolation. It requires coordinated action.

Enter made-to-order and the group buy.

“Made-to-order” simply means that a product won’t be made until you order it. Distinct from “made-to-measure,” in which a single garment is made to fit you specifically, it involves the production— not of a one-off— but of a group of orders, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as a “group buy.” 

All of these have proven very difficult to execute for several reasons. First, it takes a very long time to make the fabrics that go into each product. Second, we’ve become accustomed to immediate gratification and trained neither to wait nor to plan for what we need in the future. Third, we act as individuals and not as a collective.

We solve the first problem by using deadstock, material on hand that would otherwise go to waste because manufacturers miscalculated demand. Second, we’ve learned that Winter comes every year, and we’ve shortened the average 18-month wait time for a technical garment to the space between this winter and the next one. We will only solve the third problem together by securing 50 orders for this capsule. Why 50? Because any fewer means the costs go even higher.

From now until the end of February, we have to hit our goal, and we hope you’ll join us!