Future of fashion
Jean Franklin is an LA-based fashion brand that produces environmental friendly fashion by using deadstock and vintage clothing. As the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world and also known to exploit poor workers (80% of which are women), there is a dire need for change and for new ways of thinking when it comes to producing, selling and buying clothes. The Doyennes spoke with Jean Franklin founder Amanda O’Brien, who started the business herself, produces her designs ethically in LA, and also makes sure to use a diverse selection of models - women of all sizes and ethnicities. Being a sustainable and inclusive brand, Jean Franklin truly shows us what the future of the fashion industry should look like. We had a chat with Amanda, right after a photo shoot in Studio City in northern LA:
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your brand?
I created Jean Franklin about a year ago. Around a year before that, I had started thinking more about my own shopping habits. Although I had a full-time job, I wanted to do something more creative, and fashion and personal had always been something I was interested in. I thought about being a stylist, and as I started walking down that path, I got really consumed with fast fashion – following a lot of bloggers on Instagram and online. I felt like I needed to keep up with all these people, and the fact that a lot of bloggers wear a completely new outfit every day… I just wasn’t feeling good about it. So I started doing more research, and I ended up watching the documentary “The True Cost,” which profoundly changed my outlook. As I sat there watching it one day at home, a lot of the realities of what they were discussing in the film really hit me: you can’t produce a garment at such a cheap price without consequences. The people involved in the production often aren’t making enough money to survive or have a good life. I think I always knew that in the back of my mind, but as a consumer, maybe I didn’t feel it was my responsibility? It was just so far removed from me, because it’s easier to think that it’s something that happens in another country, that it’s just a different way that the governments operate. So really, just seeing that film, made me want to do something about it. That’s what started the journey.
Trailer from the documentry "The True Cost".
You use deadstock to make your creations – can you tell us a bit about what that is, how you source it, and your production process?
Deadstock is surplus fabric or materials, that can also include trim, which are zippers, thread, buttons and such. I actually try to use as much deadstock as I can across the board, and if I can’t find certain trim I want - like a thread in a certain color that I need for the fabric - I will source either organic or recycled thread. So it’s kind of like treasure hunting; it takes a lot of digging to find suppliers and people that manufacture these products. There’s actually not that many, so that’s one thing that I hope continues to change as well. But primarily, living in Los Angeles has made it relatively easy to find. In downtown LA, there are some suppliers that only carry deadstock fabric.
You also state on your Instagram that you use curated vintage pieces, where and how do you find and use that?
Some of the things, I have carried with me for years - personal pieces that I’ve had and that I’ve worn. Some I don’t fit into anymore, but because it was vintage, I clung to it, so this is one way for me to share my closet with other people. But I’ve also sourced it in a variety of places – when I travel, I pick up different things. Even if I just go up the coast of California there are tons of great spots; people aren’t necessarily aware of what they’re putting in their stores, that it has a significant value for other people that appreciate vintage. There are also wholesalers here in LA that I source from.
Do you have any advice for consumers on how they can be more environmental friendly in their shopping?
I think a big challenge for a lot of people is budget. Often, sustainable or eco-friendly clothing is more expensive. My clothing line is too, and that’s something that I hope that I can address further down the line, but I would say start by looking at the brands you buy from currently, and ask those brands what their practices are. More people are starting to do that, and now, just after Earth Day, the non-profit organization Fashion Revolution is encouraging people to ask brands “who made my clothes?” So that’s something you can do just to start reaching out. One of the most sustainable and effable ways that you can shop is secondhand or vintage, so if you’re also on a tight budget, that’s one thing that I would recommend. We throw out so many clothes after wearing it just one time or even never, so you can find stuff that’s practically new!