My first day in court was spent in a Marine Layer tee.
Turns out that trying to open a mobile store without a permit in Montauk, NY isn’t legal. I was told by two cops, a hotel GM, and a few local residents that Montauk is the ‘Land of No’. The kind of place where stepping outside of the boundaries of city planning is met with the wrath of the East Hampton PD. As a result, I spent an afternoon with fellow criminals in the local Justice Court, where the waiting times, chair design, and general ‘bummer’ atmosphere had a lot in common with the DMV.
Nothing to be done after getting issued a court summons
As an alleged ‘illegal peddler’ I sat awaiting my sentence, wondering if this experience could relate to the broader narrative Marine Layer is creating around Re-Spun. For a long time the apparel industry was also the ‘Land of No’ with regards to sustainable production, where derision from the environmental status quo was discouraged or ignored. This dated approach resulted in the apparel industry becoming the second largest global polluter behind oil and gas.
We highlighted some of the negative impacts of mainstream textile production during the Re-Spun campaign. However, the more we research, the more we understand the severity of the problem and the need to rethink how we produce and purchase clothes.
Finally caught a break in Rockaway
That problem begins with sourcing virgin materials. Thirty-three percent of all fibers in clothes comes from cotton, an extremely resource intensive plant. Cotton accounts for 25% of global pesticide use, particularly shocking considering that it only takes up 3% of arable land. It is also a very thirsty crop, requiring 2700 liters of water to make one tee.
Once the fabric is created and sold, the environmental impact shifts to post-consumer waste. The average American throws away 80 pounds of textile waste per year. What clothes don’t get directly thrown in the trash might go to thrift stores and charities. But there is far too much supply for these institutions to handle, and they only end up selling 15% of the goods they receive. The rest often get sent to developing countries, where they flood the regional market and choke out local industry. While textile recyclers are doing their best, there is too much waste for them to manage.
Together as an industry, we need to demonstrate the importance of shifting to more sustainable methods of production and less wasteful practices. While Re-Spun is definitely a start for Marine Layer, we’re working on making it a larger part of our business and finding new ways to do more. This means moving from the ‘Land of No’ to the ‘Land of... something more environmentally friendly and less wasteful’. Sounds like Montauk just found themselves a new slogan.