Newest fashion trends center on brand transparency

Speaker Derek Sabori presenting a lecture on sustainable fashion for Earth Week at Saddleback College. (Ashley Hern)

Speaker Derek Sabori presenting a lecture on sustainable fashion for Earth Week at Saddleback College. (Ashley Hern)

Saddleback College guest speaker Derek Sabori talks about sustainable fashion

Imagine an American, Chinese, or Indian field surrounded by a milky white tint which contrasts its foliage possessing a color palette mimicking the deep, dark soil’s brown hues underneath. Cotton used for textiles and fashion grows with a powerful equilibrium throughout this farm which goes on to be harvested, pressed, treated with pesticides, insecticides and dyes, shipped, twisted and weaved into a t-shaped garment commonly known as the T-shirt.


The department of environmental studies and Brittany Poloni planned events which illustrated the theme of sustainable fashion, like a denim recycle collection drive, a viewing of the documentary “The True Cost” and lectures presented by Derek Sabori and Barry Nerhus for Saddleback College’s Earth Week which occurred from April 16 to April 23.

The World Wildlife Fund estimates that 20,000 liters of water go into producing one kilogram of cotton. Furthermore, The World Counts calculates that worldwide production of cotton each year averages around 29 million tons. These figures roughly translate that cotton producers use more than 526 million liters of water yearly.


Derek Sabori, founder of The Underswell and co-founder of Kozm, demonstrated a presentation which concentrated on sustainability in fashion, apparel, textiles and business on Wednesday, April 18 at the Saddleback College campus. Sabori used his experience with Costa Mesa-based action sports brand Volcom to reflect on sustainability and its application in the fashion industry. During his 19-year employment relationship with Volcom, Sabori’s job titles changed from head of environmental affairs to the vice president of global sustainability for the brand.

“If you are like me, we all like a lot of stuff and I did not always recognize the cost that came along with all this stuff,” said Sabori. “It was at UCI that I had my flash moment and I started to realize that all the stuff that I liked and all the things that I did came with a consequence and an impact.”

Kozm features yoga apparel and accessories marketed for men. These products contain organic cotton, a product story of where each component of the production process occurred and an open book business model that displays the cost of the product to both the retailer and consumer. The brand has also received B Crop certification and donates 5 percent of each sale to the Warrior Spirit Retreat.


Building a brand takes dedication and hard work regardless of how you do it. When you challenge yourself to do business better, more meaningful and more responsibly, it becomes a totally different animal as it’s not often the easiest path. From the get go we asked ourselves, “Why even start if we’re not going to approach things differently?” It was imperative to ask the tough questions and go the distance to build a company that was a representation of what and who we want to be. – That said, we all have an opportunity to make a lasting impact with the way we approach our lives and the brands we build, both personal and professional. If we tend to ourselves through #yoga, #meditation or any #mindfulness practice that serves us, we may find solace in the fact that good things (ie results) come with dedication, perseverance and practice. – Here’s Troy Eckert, Kozm Co-Founder persevering through the early days of brand building. #madefairwithcare #certifiedbcorp #openbookbusiness #transparency #sustainablebusiness #empowerment #traceability

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“We currently make all our products in the USA because it gives us hands on oversight of every step of production, and it reduces our carbon impact,” said Troy Ecker, co-founder of Kozm. “There is no complex global supply chain. We know where everything we are making comes from, and we are in close touch with the people making it.”

Hashtags like #madefairwithcare, #transparency, #sustainablebuisness and #whomademyclothes embellish the brand’s Instagram posts. The #madefairwithcare displays 203 tagged posts, #transparency exhibits 256,655 posts, #sustainablebusiness shows 35,209 posts and #whomademyclothes conveys 233,797 posts, respectively.


It’s been five years since the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing 1,138 people and injuring thousands more. But people around the world are still suffering as a result of how fashion is made, sourced, and purchased. It’s more important than ever that find out #whomademyclothes and how our spending habits are affecting them. We believe the more awareness we can bring to the stories behind our clothes, the more impact we can have across the fashion industry to raise standards for workers and for the environment. Your curiosity, your voice, and your shopping habits are more powerful than you know. ———————————————————— When you buy fair trade, you help support a fair fashion industry. Fair trade promote accountability and creates better transparency in fashion. It helps give workers a voice, by creating a dialogue between workers and management, and it’s rigourous standards make working conditions safer. Meet some of the @fairtradecertified producers who make our clothes: Ulageshwaran who works at Bestitch Knits in Delhi. Priti who works at Pratibha Syntex in India. Shiv who works at the Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills in India. Thakskila in Sri Lanka. #imadeyourclothes

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The Fashion Revolution, a UK-based social enterprise, collects data on fashion retailers and their transparency in the supply and production chain. The enterprise judges and assesses 150 of the largest fashion brands based on five different criterias, policies and commitments, governance, traceability, “know, show, and fix” and spotlight issues. Their April campaign, #whomademyclothes, acknowledges the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse on April 24.


Adidas and Reebok received the highest final scores of 58 percent in the Fashion Transparency Index for 2018. Puma, H&M, Esprit, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, C&A and Marks & Spencer achieved the 50th percentile section right behind the top scores. Retailers like Sandro, Nine West, s. Oliver, Mexx, Liverpool, Jessica Simpson, Dior and Max Mara obtained the lowest concluding scores of zero percent.


The Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index for 2018 concludes in its overall analysis that retailers and businesses still have multiple opportunities to develop more transparency. However, it views the 10 percent increase in accountability by 16 different companies optimistically. These retailers include The North Face, Timberland, Wrangler, C&A, ASOS, Espirit, Benetton, Levi Strauss & Co., Primark, Next, New Balance, LOFT, Hugo Boss, Under Armour, Lululemon and Zalando.