If there is one thing that the Coachella Valley is well known for, it is fashion. From Trina Turk, to Fashion Week in Palm Desert, to the Palm Springs iHub‘s Eco Sustainari headed by Nima Pauline, we are an oasis of fashion. Even the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is known for its attendees’ focus on fashion.

One session here at the Future of Everything Festival that really caught my eye was called Breaking Down Sustainable Fashion. The two invited participants were Kerry Cooper and Kristi Caylor. Ms. Cooper is the President and COO of Rothy’s (shoes which are, incidentally, the flat of choice for several CVEP staffers). Ms. Caylor is CEO of For Days, which is a company in the high-priced, eco-friendly T-shirt business.

Both companies operate with a direct focus on sustainability. Rothy’s has made its impression as a direct-to-consumer brand with their comfortable, washable shoes, made from recycled single-use plastic bottles. For Days operates with a zero-waste, closed-loop system. It’s essentially a membership model, under which customers can trade in their old shirts when they’re ready for new ones.

Waste in the Fashion Industry Comes From…

Both women acknowledged that overproduction is the largest creator of waste in the fashion industry. Their companies are taking steps to address that issue through just-in-time production and promoting resale values. Ideally, their products will have an average of 5 owners before being recycled.

Laura James, CVEP’s Vice President of Innovation, agrees that a make-on-demand model much like Amazon’s print-on-demand book model would eliminate overproduction. “I look at my own closet and realize it makes no sense to own so much. There’s a real shift in how we think about owning things right now,” she said. This shift, though, could make overspending on clothes public enemy #1 to sustainable fashion.

The most memorable takeaway was the prediction that “the closet of the future is going to be smaller.” ‘Til next time, readers.  I am missing the tranquility of the Coachella Valley but enjoying this week of big city life.