Piece & Co. x Shopbop brought together several groups of stakeholders in the fashion ecosystem to produce a capsule collection featuring ethical designs.
“We want to be a catalyst for change for the better in the fashion industry,” said Kathleen Wright, cofounder of Piece & Co. “Part of our goal in making these products includes bringing retailers into our model.”
Piece & Co., a textile company that works with more than 5,000 artisans in 16 countries worldwide, supports consistent employment for artisans who manufacture lower-carbon, less-water-intensive heritage textiles.
Wright, who conceived the collection, reached out to Shopbop, which supported Piece & Co.’s mission. “Every retailer we talk to understands that there’s a growing consumer base that’s looking for these products,” Wright said.
Shopbop, which began in 2000 as a denim-focused e-commerce platform, now offers a comprehensive collection of modern style.
Wright said she wanted to collaborate with “female-led brands that have an underlying message of empowering women, because at the end of the day, our goal is to empower women and create a positive impact on fashion.”
Wright asked Diane von Furstenberg, Mara Hoffman, Alice & Olivia and Veronica Beard to participate in the capsule, and all four brands hopped on board.
“Designers want to create fashion, and they want to use their superpowers to do good in the world, but it’s hard,” Wright said. “There’s production and margins and financial aspects. There aren’t a lot of solutions.”
Piece & Co. is developing tools that will help designers measure the impact of sustainability and ethical sourcing over time. “Sixty to seventy percent of negative reviews of apparel is wrapped up in the fabric,” Wright said. “When designers focus on making their materials matter, they’ll see the positive impact increase. I don’t think anyone goes into fashion saying, ‘We want to go pollute the world.’ ”
Every garment in the seven-piece capsule features fabric made by primarily female artisans at wearing co-ops in India’s Tamil Nadu region.
Piece & Co. x Veronica Beard’s off-center, shirred and angled placket dress was made from an off-white fabric with a blue embroidered weave design, $450.
“It’s incredibly inspiring to work with Piece & Co. because of their work in helping artisans,” said designers Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard. “I love that our dress uses a traditional weaving technique and captures the style of the region.”
The Piece & Co. x Alice & Olivia dress, $375, and shorts, $225, display the workmanship of colorful embroidered stripes and a hand-loomed technique inspired by embroidery.
The raised-yarn process of the dobby makes many different designs and patterns possible. The geometric design and floating threads created for Diane von Furstenberg’s top, $228, were inspired by what would usually be the reverse side of the material and exhibits the versatility and skill of the dobby weavers.
Pastel embroidery embellishes Mara Hoffman’s strappy dress, $297, made of hand-loomed fabric. Hoffman also designed bag shorts, $176, and an off-the-shoulder flounce top, $187.
“Having that full-circle moment when you see a fabric that began in a rural community in India, and, at the end, when you see the finished garment, it’s breathtaking.”