Knowing the supply chain from yarn to fabric is possible through a software that provides end-to-end product transparency.
A focus on the bare minimum.- From spending time traveling, Katerine Gutierrez realized that «you don’t need to have that much; I ended up using the same clothing. It was always the basics that lasted and had the quality I was looking for». In order to overcome the waste of fast fashion, an industry that founder Katerine Gutierrez has experience in, Traces of the World vision is focusing on the ‘bare minimum’. In an effort to reduce the amount of clothing that a customer needs, we created clothes for the contemporary woman that are time-less and endurable. «The concept of ‘bare minimum’ is self-explanatory as it indicates that we don’t need much in our lives; only items that are of a high quality. There’s a freedom in not having a lot of things, and instead investing in items that are going to last a lifetime». They are working to create an alternative to fast fashion; «in fast fashion, the low price points are able to convince the masses to choose them. In order to keep up with trends it can feel like the only option is to buy from a fast fashion store. Yet this mentality is gradually changing. Despite the higher cost, it pays off as the product itself lasts a much longer time, and contributes to minimizing an individual’s negative impact on the environment». With this minimal concept in mind, Traces of the World attempts to reduce the amount of packaging that they use.
A need to reconnect with nature.- Traces of the World, a Southern Mexico, in the Highlands of Chiapas based this sustainable clothing online shop have provided innovation in their field to produce garments that aim to remove toxic cotton, and use local sourced materials, natural cotton, organic sheeps wool and silk, for a new way to produce, consume and wear clothes that «originates from a strong need to reconnect with nature». Within the fashion industry, customers have little opportunity to know where their materials were sourced from, if the factory working conditions are ethical or whether the production process itself is sustainable. To overcome this, Traces of the World is working with Blockchain technology, that uses a series of time-stamped data to track the life cycle of products. This technology enables customers to have the authenticity of products verified, and provides end-to-end product supply chain transparency. For us, traceability is key in ensuring that the brand is as sustainable as possible. «We aim to set a new standard for conscious fashion; without claiming to be truly ‘sustainable’ as this is a tough ask within this industry. That being said, we strive to be more conscious about our footprint and try to minimize is as much as possible». Using Blockchain, customers are able to scan a QR code on each individual product to show every aspect of the supply chain; from yarn to fabric, software to finished product. The opportunity for transparency with this Blockchain technology encourages consumers to be more demanding as to find out all they can about the products that they buy. Using the QR codes allows both customers and Traces of the World to trace their CO2 emissions. This not only makes companies accountable to their customers, to encourage transparency, it also allows them to track their own impacts, and can hold their suppliers accountable. «We’re able to have a full understanding of our operation and performance to allow us to know where we need to improve, and how».Traces of the World works to adapt processes to make steps in the right direction.- It is utopia for a fashion company to be truly sustainable; «you have to be realistic and analyze the areas where you have the most relevance». Yet Traces of the World works to adapt their processes to make steps in the ‘right direction’. «Our next steps are to find a system to document how each operation is made by a specific artisan; to educate the customer as to how each piece is produced. This will allow the customer to become closer, and more invested in the product that they’re buying. They are creating hand-crafted pieces that put the craftsman at the center; «each of our pieces has the signature of the craftsman on it to bring the customer closer to the producer of their garment». Traces of the World hopes to change the fashion industry using the concept of ‘bare minimum’ to encourage customers to buy less; and divert their money away from fast fashion companies. «We are shifting away from the exploitative ways of the fashion world and moving back to its roots to create more meaningful connections with the people and more sustainable products». In order to reduce the environmental impact of any fashion product,
«we minimize our consumption as human beings which comes through educating our consumers and suggesting the best options out there».
Hand to server production.- Instead of only focusing on the environmental impacts of their clothing, Traces of the World looks to put their craftsmen at the center of each product. Traces of the World production is based in Mexico where they built a workshop in 2017 with 5 craftsmen. «The rational of this workshop was to purely focus on quality, regardless of the time that it might take to create a piece». Instead of a fast fashion garment that takes 20 minutes to produce one piece, «our philosophy was to say that we weren’t counting the time, rather focusing on each operation regardless of how long it takes». A n item of Traces of the World takes 3 to 4 days to be made by hand, taking into account how their designs move with the body; «that’s an aspect of slow fashion and durability; to address the anatomy of the product and how it’s made». Whilst we are aware that producing in Mexico incurs a greater potential for emissions in transport, «we produce there as we can ensure that our workers can spend more time on creating a product of a higher quality». This is a compromise that we believe encourages customers to make a more conscious decision; allowing their product to be affordable as well as maintaining the quality would not have been practical if producing in Europe. So as to ensure as low a CO2 footprint as possible, they ship their products by boat. Traces of the World has plans to start their first Europe-based production in September «we’ll be starting small but it’s important to start this local production so that we can begin creating a closely integrated supply chain in Europe. The idea of producing in Europe is to cater to the needs for potential clients who want to see a more localized production. Everyone needs to be treated with respect and dignity». And, whilst creating a sustainable production process, «Our clients are focused on the human aspect of the brand; what we’re able to provide to our workers».