Sustainable manufacturing is the creation of manufactured products through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources.
When we started Sauipe, back in 2008, no one talked about sustainable production in fashion. We didn't know any better either, but we always had an aversion to waste of all kinds. We learned from our parents, who were from the post-war generation, that we shouldn't waste food, water, gas, electricity, or any other resource, no matter how much was available to us. My sister and I were also careful to not spend more than what we could afford, because Sauipe was - and still is - a very small business, with no outside funding.
So it was natural for us to save all resources in the business and that practice became part of our DNA since day one. We would never purchase more supplies than necessary: fabric, elastic, embellishments, threads, hang tags, labels, bags, etc - we did not want any excess to end up in the landfill.
I recall that in 2017 some stores were pushing us to create more styles, faster. I said no, and I gently explained to retailers that creating more styles faster would be very costly for us, which ends up being more expensive to the end consumer. The only way we could create more, faster and for lower cost would be to lower the quality of the products and to lower the wages of our associates. We would never do either of those.
I know we lost some business at the time because we did not want to cave in to the mentality of more and faster. Around that time I started reading about 'fast fashion' and how it negatively impacts the environment and society.
We have always considered many factors at Sauipe that have created the foundation of how we do business. Some of them stemmed for our desire to save money, but most were guided by our respect to people and our dislike of waste.
It is important to highlight that no production can be 100% sustainable. There will always be some level of impact in any industry, even when production practices are at their best. The goal is to minimize the most we can, knowing that it is virtually impossible to eliminate negative impact. Even transforming plastic into fabrics is a process that can leave a huge footprint on the environment. And, in my honest opinion, that plastic should not have existed in the first place.
Here are some considerations that are at the foundation of Sauipe:
Unfortunately, there are many people that profit from the consumers good will. We know that consumers are smart and you want to do what is right.
It is important for us to educate ourselves and each other and to be aware of what sustainability really is, and not fall for anything that claims to be sustainable, when it really isn't.
At Sauipe we are not experts, but we believe that we can take many steps, big and small, to make the world a better place. As I said earlier, we are still a very small business. But even so, we stopped creating thousands of new plastic bags each year. We now have a timeless collection of swimsuits that will not end up in the landfill when the fashion of the month is over.
There is a lot more we can do, and I assure you, we will always look for places to improve.
One thing that will never change is our commitment to deliver a high quality swimsuit that will stand the test of time.
If you would like to share your thoughts, send us suggestions, or would like to receive more details about Sauipe's commitment to a cleaner environment, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.