Vendor Spotlight: Kirrin Finch
“Vendor Spotlights” are a recurring blog theme, where we highlight different artists and businesses who will be attending Lightfoot Market, focusing on their background, connection to sustainability, and what products they will be bringing.
Kelly + Laura Moffat
Menswear Inspired Apparel for Women.
What are your environmental / social initiatives?
All of our shirts are made with 100% natural fibers so they will eventually biodegrade. We also have a line of eco-oxfords that are made from 100% organic cotton. We are proud to incorporate organic fibers into several of our other shirts as well.
Our t-shirts are made from 50% recycled plastic bottles and 50% organic cotton.
We work to reduce waste by upcycling (our bow ties are all made out of upcycled shifting fabric) along with the pockets on our t-shirts, our t-shirts are 50/50 RPet and Organic Cotton.
We manufacture locally in Midtown Manhattan to ensure that our workers are paid fairly and they are in safe working conditions. We are able to come in to the factory and form relationships with them. We are also proud to be part of the movement to keep the garment industry in NYC, something intrigal to our history of a city.
From a social standpoint, we support a variety of women and LGBTQ and organizations that support fairness in the garment industry including the Human Rights Campaign, True Colors, Ali Forney Center + WIN (Women in Need) and Fashion Revolution Day.
Promoting low impact washing and care with messaging on our care labels and customer education.
When and why did you start your business?
We didn’t grow up wanting to be fashion designers. We were both tomboys, and only really cared about making sure our outfits allowed us to ride bikes and climb trees. But as we grew up, it became obvious that mainstream retailers didn’t cater to us. It was always a hunt to find something that felt right, and we were often forced to make the choice between poorly-fitting menswear and super feminine womenswear. Not being able to find clothes that matched our inner core left us feeling like we were not able to fully be ourselves. And it wasn’t just us. We spoke to countless people who felt the same way. So in 2015, we decided to quit our jobs (Laura was a pharmaceutical marketing consultant and Kelly was a teacher) and start a clothing company that aimed to fill the gap for gender-defying fashion by creating menswear-inspired apparel designed to fit a range of bodies.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Prior to joining the Brooklyn Fashion Design Accelerator and starting a fashion brand, we hadn't really thought that much about the impact clothing has on our environment, so we also spend time spreading the word about sustainability and promoting care instructions for our shirts that are good for the Earth. For example, you'll find things like "Only wash me if I really stink!" written on our care labels.
Waste is a huge issue in the faction industry, so we focus a lot on trying to use as much of our fabric as possible through a process called upcycling. For example, we make all of our bow ties from the leftover pieces from our shirt production. So that even small pieces of fabric don't go to waste. You’ll even see the pockets of one shirt used as the main fabric of another.
What were some of the challenges you faced incorporating sustainability into your business?
It is important to know where and who make our clothes. That is why we decided to manufacture in the USA. However, it not always easy to be fully transparent all across the supply chain. We still struggle to identify where the fibers for each fabric are grown, and the process by which they get to the mills. The industry is still surrounded by secrecy, and you can ask questions till you are blue in the face and still not get an answer. However, there is definitely a slow shift. Manufacturers and suppliers are starting to realize that their clients want to know more about the backend of what is happening. And as more and more people start to ask "Who made my clothes...?" We will get more answers! Check out Fashion Revolution Day for more ways to take action.
What is one thing readers can do to lighten their footprint?
Make thoughtful purchases. Our country is currently focused on the philosophy that more is better. It doesn't mean you can't buy new things, but make purchases that are meaningful and are going to be something you treasure over time. It may mean you buy 1-2 instead of 6, but it means that you'll love - really love your new pieces.