How do we create a more sustainable fashion future?

Answer: One garment at a time.

Social, Environmental, and Financial

Fashion is the second most polluting industry after the oil industry. It is a complicated business involving varied supply chains, raw material, textile manufacturers, clothing construction, shipping, retail, use and ultimately disposal of the garment. But, in today’s world, no business - no matter how complicated - can ignore the environmental realities of their operations.

Discussions around sustainability in fashion typically involve water consumption and pollution at the fabric level, ethical wage practices (i.e. sustainable living wages), and overproduction (i.e. deadstock waste). At N.A.bld, we help brands at all levels start to address these problems in ways that are achievable for their brand by leveraging on-demand production.

Deadstock Inventory

N.A.bld focuses primarily on inventory as the starting point for tackling fashion waste. This type of waste arises from trying to sell clothes that customers don’t want — whether from inventory mismanagement or bad merchandising judgement. N.A.bld allows brands to test products and react quickly to customers by giving them a way to produce only what sells on-demand or  as needed in limited quantities with just-in time manufacturing.

Ethical Labor

N.A.bld brands get access to a vetted network of no-minimum US-based manufacturers. All manufacturers are vetted through an end-to-end run and must comply with our Manufacturer Code of Ethics. Near-shoring production gives N.A.bld and our brands more visibility into the practices of our production partners and allows us to establish a mutually beneficial relationship while maintaining and growing skilled manufacturing jobs in the USA.

Process & Material Pollution

Fabric pollution is perhaps the biggest issue as it is furthest down in the supply chain. Many micro-brands do not have the resources or visibility into large fabric suppliers. On N.A.bld, our brands are fully responsible for their material choices. We make sure brands have access to resources with preferred sustainable fabric suppliers, on-demand printing, and deadstock fabric deals. As an on-demand platform, brands can use N.A.bld to limit production run amounts automatically in their production process and therefore only use as much material as needed.

How do we measure sustainability?

Measuring Sustainability

Less environmental impact (measured in liters of h20)
less in cash tied up in inventory
Ethical Jobs supported in the USA*
*Based on 2019 reporting.

On-Demand, Quick-Turn, Local Production

The garment industry produces around 100 billion garments annually according to a 2015 MIT Sustainable Apparel Materials report. Let’s say the sell-through rate (both full and discounted) is a very generous 90%, then potentially 10 billion items of clothing become ‘deadstock’ every year which contribute an estimated 15 billion pounds in textile/apparel waste (assuming the average weight of an article of clothing is 1.5 pounds).

An average brand producing their first collection run typically spends about $200,000 USD to produce 2,000 units. Even with a generous 90% sell through rate there are still 200 units of deadstock, and 300 pounds of pure textile waste created from one collection. Depending on a brand’s standard margin (let’s assume 60 percent), even just $10,000 of dead inventory can actually represent $50,000 worth of retail sales and $30,000 of gross margin dollars. Not only can using N.A.bld help recapture those retail sales by responding to trends in real time but it can also help brands reduce the amount of dead inventory cost and waste.


How We Address UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2016, the United Nations (UN) developed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The environmental and social implications of traditional fashion production and disposal, make  integrating the 17 Sustainable Development Goals into the apparel and manufacturing industry highly important. Learn more about the UN SDGs here.

At N.A.bld, we support the SDGs in two ways:
1) Our marketplace Nineteenth Amendment supports the UN’s SDG 12: "Responsible Consumption and Production" where brands only produce what is sold locally in the USA. Shoppers are informed at each step of the process about how and where their product is being made. This approach to transparent inventory-free retailing results in a 500x less carbon footprint compared with traditional retail models. 

2) N.A.bld supports SDG 9: "Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure" by redesigning a sustainable, ethical and digital  supply chain to increase access for fashion entrepreneurs and production partners to help both thrive while supporting a more environmentally friendly business model. Our technology helps brands and manufacturers bring products to market faster than traditional overseas models for product development and production while enabling small batch, local production. 


Let's chat about a sustainable fashion future.