Muda New York was founded because stylish, sustainable pieces are scarce. We want to feel confident in our clothes without compromising our morals.
Since day one, it's always been only me and my mom. We photograph, design, code, sew, and ship everything. Simply put, none of this would be possible without us. So, we have to care of ourselves; that means fair wages and great working conditions (plentiful snack, lunch, and dog breaks).
Before we can make anything, we need to source our materials. Every yard of fabric comes from small fabric stores in New York City, that are family owned. Best of all, our small fabric stores sell deadstock fabric. This type of fabric usually comes from the garment district in New York City - companies that produced fabric with minor imperfections will donate or cheaply sell them to these local fabric stores. When it comes to buying fabric from these stores we always follow these two rules:
1. We will never source virgin materials unless it's natural, like the organic cotton fabric we use in our masks. Virgin, artificial materials often have micro plastics in them. When you've worn an artificial material-based piece to the end ofit's life (past donating and repurposing it), it can't break down or coexist with the natural world.
2. We will only buy fabric in necessary and low quantities. This reduces waste by ensuring we're not consuming more than we're using. Every piece requires a different number of yards of fabric to make. So, we don't have a strict number of yards we buy of each fabric. However, we estimate how many pieces we will make with a certain fabric (based on the number of ways that certain fabric can be styled) and buy only that much fabric.
You've heard all about our impact on people and the macro environment, but what about the micro environment? Toreduce our carbon footprint and yours, we've shifted to biodegradable, recycled paper mailers and low-waste packaging. Everything that comes in your package will be usable (scrunchies) or reusable (string used on hang tags). We also offer carbon neutral shipping during checkout, through Cloverly.
We know we how important corporate change is in fighting climate change. We are part of that fight but we want to do more. As a new company, we're still learning and growing a lot as we go. We may not have certificates to back our impacts but we're working our way there. Our main goal through this whole journey is to be transparent with you and we have been transparent, about our positive impacts.
Here are things that we need to make more progress in:
1. Better sourcing our zippers.
Currently, we have to import in these details from outside the US, which increases our carbon footprint. We want to source these details or similar details from sustainable small business in New York City. While we haven't found a vendor yet, we're still looking!
2. Reducing fabric waste.
Once a piece gets cut and sewn, there's awkward scraps and cuts in the roll of fabric. We're not exactly sure how we want to save these pieces (possible solutions may include zero-waste tote bags or stuffed items that can be donated. For now, we're accumulating as much of these scraps as we have space for, until we find them a better home than the trash.
3. Creating a numerical measure of our impact.
This will help us measure our environmental impact in comparison to the rest of the fashion industry, and how we can improve. This scale will provide us with details on how to be carbon neutral and eventually climate positive.
Updated March 2022.
Our impacts, good and bad, are general overviews of how we operate beyond what's visible to you and us. We are always open to questions, feedback, and suggestions at email@example.com.