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Every decision we make is mindful of our impact on people and planet:
We primarily work in Peru with two natural, renewable materials – Peruvian Pima cotton and alpaca wool – which gives us total traceability, and confidence in the origins of every fiber we use.
Our Pima cotton is grown in northern coastal Peru, where conditions are ideally suited to the crop, meaning less irrigation and intervention. It’s harvested by hand – which reduces its carbon footprint compared to industrial methods. It also preserves the staple length, which results in a naturally white yarn that doesn’t require bleaching and absorbs dye beautifully (reducing the dye quantities needed).
Our alpaca wool comes from the Andean highlands of southern Peru, where these animals have been raised for thousands of years by local families. The alpacas roam freely, their broad grazing and toed feet causing minimal disturbance to vegetation. Their exceptional coats simply regrow after shearing – it’s the ultimate renewable resource.
From the first day, sustainability was designed into every step of håndværk’s production process. The scale of our production and founding commitment to sustainability means we can form partnerships based on shared values, ensure rigorous standards are upheld, and be directly involved in every aspect of the production process – a real rarity in our industry.
Our Pima cotton pieces are produced by textile specialists that are 100% carbon neutral, powered by renewable hydroelectric and solar energy, and use only biodegradable dyes. Their advanced facilities use ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis to cut water consumption, and every drop of wastewater is recycled. We are committed to tackling the biggest impacts of textile production, so significantly improving our dye process – ordinarily the most polluting stage of textile production – is a prime focus with this factory partner. We use sustainable Earth Color pigments made using organic waste material, requiring 32% less water and creating drastically less toxic run-off. The in-house textile recycling facility also repurposes up to 25,000 kgs of fabric offcuts every month.
Our main manufacturing partner is a certified B Corporation, the factory is also GOTS and OEKO-TEX compliant. Wellbeing and social responsibility is essential here, too. Working conditions and pay are far above industry standard and include yoga sessions and free bikes to cycle to work. Clean, recycled water is supplied to irrigate local towns, and any residual textile waste is turned into blankets and distributed among disadvantaged communities.
For our alpaca wool, we work with our best-in-class partner to ensure the very highest standards of responsibility. The Sustainable Alpaca Network (from which all of our alpaca fiber is sourced) ensures the best breeding and shearing practices are adhered to, as well as securing fair purchase prices and living conditions for the rural communities whose livelihoods depend on it. Fiber is purchased directly from producers, hand-sorted by expert craftspeople and sustainably treated and processed – giving total traceability for every batch. The fiber is spun into the finest yarn by our partners in Arequipa, and then knitted and hand-finished by our partner atelier in Lima.
Today, the entirety of our production process, from raw material to finished garment, is completed in Peru – the majority of it in Lima. In an industry in which even the most sustainable brands’ supply chains loop around the globe, this is rare. Other than the final transport to either our HQ in NY or direct to our distributor, our goods are transported across relatively short distances over land, avoiding one of the most significant contributing factors to an ordinary garment’s carbon footprint.
By keeping tight focus on a limited, seasonless collection, we avoid the industry-standard waste of unsold stock. We produce in small, frequent runs, making only what we need. This also creates side benefits: being able to keep a close eye on every single piece, and make small but essential design tweaks, bringing us closer to perfection with each batch.
We’re taking steps to minimize the impact of our packaging, starting by cutting out plastic. All products must be individually wrapped when they leave the factories. Each year, we prevent at least 100,000 plastic bags from ending up in landfills by sourcing a biodegradable alternative that doesn’t use virgin plastic, and can be composted instead. Our design team is also working to reduce the quantity of packaging needed overall, and to use post-recycled, recyclable and reusable materials wherever possible.
There is always more that we can do – and we’re committed to doing it: