Trove: A Fashion Brand that Delights in Dignity
As a conscious consumer of Fair Trade goods, Jaclyn Dowdle, like many of us, found herself frustrated with how difficult it was to find clothing “that was responsibly made, affordable, and stylish." She began longing for a way to help “consumers buy better and smarter," and also provide fair employment for workers within the apparel industry. Out of this desire, Dowdle founded Trove, "a fashion brand that delights in dignity”, a brand designed “to clothe us in the dignity that we personally desired, but also to create dignity in an industry that is infamous for suppressing it."
The brand’s name itself shows the values it is founded on, as the word “trove” is defined as “a place of delight and pleasures." As the website describes, Trove’s goal “is to start making [the apparel] industry more delightful and dignified, however and wherever we can," a mission that is accomplished on a number of different levels.
One of these levels is sustainability. Trove is working to tackle the negative impact the fashion and apparel industries have on our planet by incorporating recycled materials into their collections from Guatemala.
Due to fast fashion practices, the amount of textile waste compiling in landfills across the globe is rising rapidly, contributing to the decreasing health of our planet. A shocking 20 metric tons of CO2 are released into the atmosphere for every ton of textiles that are discarded as opposed to recycled. A large amount of this waste is created during production processes, in which extra or unusable textiles and garments are thrown away.
Trove’s use of recycled materials will soon be expanded with the upcoming addition of another collection with a focus on complete sustainability. “We’re really excited to be adding another completely sustainable line to our collection this fall from a new country,” Dowdle writes. Learn more and stay updated on this new collection by following Trove on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Another way Trove is working to create sustainable practices is through their progressive business model. Trove works through a pre-sale model, in which clothing is made after purchase, as opposed to before. Not only does this business model allow customers to become more involved in the production of their garments, but it also eliminates risks of overproduction, which results in large amounts of unnecessary waste within the industry.
When you buy apparel from Trove–whether it be one of their skirts, pants, tops or dresses–you begin by choosing a style, followed by selecting the fabric of your choice and indicating your size. Once you have chosen the elements of your ideal garment, you can place your order and Trove employees will begin the production process.
The employees creating Trove’s products are working across the globe. In the year since Trove was launched, it has assembled teams in four different countries: Guatemala, India, Nepal and Rwanda. In each of these countries, Trove is creating a significant impact in the fashion industry and in the lives of its employees. The importance of Trove’s work in these countries is highlighted on its website, and employees are featured so that we, as consumers, can feel good about purchasing from Trove, as we know where the products are being made and, most importantly, who is making our clothing.
Trove further accomplishes its mission by supporting these workers across both their production lines and design processes, creating job opportunities that are free of discrimination, exploitation and child labor. Trove works to ensure that employees are provided with safe workplaces and workers’ rights, including guaranteed maternity leave with no repercussions when women return to work.
Additionally, Trove provides their employees with fair wages. According to Labour Behind the Label, the difference between a living wage and minimum wage in many of the countries in which our clothing is produced is severe. In Bangladesh, for example, the minimum wage amounted to a mere 18% of a living wage in 2015, making it the country with the lowest minimum wage, a title it continues to hold today. As a result, Trove pays their employees above the minimum wage in their respective countries.
Not only is Trove a brand working to combat the deterioration of our planet resulting, in part, from unsustainable practices within the garment industry, but it is also providing dignity to women across the world, from the artisans within the design and production lines to advocates and consumers like us. As a result, Trove truly provides an inclusive and impactful “place of delight and pleasures."
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About the Author
Morgan Wiersma is a student at Chicago City Colleges, where she plans to finish her Associate in Arts this spring before beginning to pursue an undergrad in Creative Nonfiction and Social Sciences. She calls her cozy apartment in downtown Chicago home and lives with her dwarf rabbit, Lola. A coffee enthusiast and avid writer, Morgan also enjoys small art projects, tea candles, and oversized flannel shirts.