Meet the Founder of Evolverie, Amy Homan, Who is Challenging the Fast Fashion Model
A local brand produces clothing with a conscience.
(Columbus Monthly) – The rise of social media, online shopping and globalized supply chains have made fashion more accessible than ever, but it comes with a cost. Fast fashion brands crank out cheap, trend-chasing clothing. Behind every garment is an army of underpaid overseas workers and a mountain of fabric waste. Some local designers, such as Amy Homan, are challenging this model.
Homan, founder and designer of Columbus-based clothing brand Evolverie, has been producing and marketing ethically and environmentally conscious clothing online for years, culminating in the opening of a brick-and-mortar store in Worthington last October. Learning about the production process for clothing convinced Homan she would do things differently.
Starting a small fashion brand is already an uphill battle, but Homan found doing so with sustainable and ethical production standards was even harder. When production in the United States proved too costly, she found an overseas solution that works to ensure her workers are treated fairly. “I don’t really like to call them employees, because they’re like family,” she says. “We work together because if they don’t succeed, I don’t succeed.”
To keep things environmentally friendly, Homan’s garments are made entirely from deadstock, or leftover materials from other clothing manufacturers. Supplies of deadstock have risen dramatically with the advent of fast fashion, and it often ends up in a landfill.
What inspired you to focus on designing ethically sourced and environmentally sustainable garments?
After watching “The True Cost” documentary as part of my studies, I couldn’t unsee what I had seen and completely revised my business plan and what I wanted to be putting out into the world. There is a person behind everything that is made, and I know firsthand how much time and patience is involved in creating a product.
What challenges arise from trying to create ethical, sustainable fashion?
The challenge we face currently is with visibility and education. Shopping ethically and sustainably is not always accessible, and we are working on changing that by keeping costs low and creating in small batches. I am very transparent about every aspect of our business, and it’s challenging to compete against a $5 T-shirt. It’s just not feasible.
Can you tell us about your team in Pakistan?
Our team consists of local men and women, many who came from working in the fast fashion industry have backgrounds in inefficient quality and getting paid by the piece. We focus on slowing down, teaching about the fabric and [target] quality versus quantity. Our team is paid above a living wage in a healthy environment with incentives, savings plans and education opportunities.
Do you think there is a growing demand for environmentally and ethically friendly clothing?
I do think the demand is growing, but slowly. The shift in mindset isn’t always easy. We’ve been accustomed to shop fast, shop cheap, shop the sales. With time, detail and quality, there is a cost.
Considering that rapid trend cycles and low quality in fast fashion encourages waste, how do you approach designing clothes that stand the test of time?
My design approach is to provide pieces that can be versatile to wear all year long, encourage mixing and matching, focus on quality fabrics and avoid the fast-trend design aspects of a garment. We offer a make-on-demand model without an added cost for out-of-stock sizing. Custom sizing will be available in early 2022.