EST WST is based around the materials we use and the people that make them. By recognizing the impact of our choices, we prioritize the people, planet, and process when designing our products.
Microfibers from clothing make up 85% of all human-made debris found in our oceans and freshwater bodies. The vast majority of these microfibers come from synthetic clothing, which carry toxic chemicals often ingested by animals due to runoff after washing, thus poisoning our food chain. For this reason, and many others, we use exclusively natural, organic or recycled fibers in all of our products.
Conventional cotton farms consume a quarter of the world’s insecticides, which contaminate soil and groundwater and can do lasting harm to local farmers.
India is the second largest cotton producer, and roughly 93% of their cotton comes from GMO seeds (mostly from Monsanto). More than 200,000 farmers in India have ended their lives since 1997, largely due to debt. Where farmers were once able to save seeds after each harvest to account for the following season, corporations now engineer seeds with non-renewable traits. Those same corporations also control the costly fertilizers and pesticides required to grow their strains of cotton, which contaminate the soil and make subsequent years less profitable. The result is a spiral of debt that often becomes too difficult for the farmers to bare.
EST WST uses organic cotton to protect the environment, the farmers and our customers from harmful chemicals.
There are several ways to tan leather into its final product, but the most common method is to use a toxic slush of chromium salts that have devastating effects on the environment and the workers who manufacture it. For this reason, if we need to use leather, we use vegetable-tanned leather, which relies on tannins found in vegetables, fruits, tree bark, and other naturally-derived sources to produce a soft brown finish. We also ensure that our leather is a by-product, so that animals are not being harmed specifically for our production.
Each season we feature an artisanal collection that incorporates custom handwoven textiles from our partner collectives. A portion of profits go back to projects aimed at tackling some of the biggest issues in these regions, such as access to clean water, education, and other vital necessities.
Textiles have been woven by hand for generations, but industrial machine weaving has become the new norm. As a result, rural weavers are losing business. Not only do machines produce far more emissions and waste, but they also can’t replicate the intricacy and attention to detail that handloom weavers provide.
EST WST works directly with artisan collectives in Nepal and India to source custom-designed handloom textiles from weavers that depend on new mediums (modern products) to preserve their traditional craft.
Each season, we feature artisan textiles on a collection of products, and a portion of our profits from these products support clean water, education or other vital necessities in the communities in which our partners live.
We give $10 from every bag sold from our Indian organic cotton collections towards building water harvesting units and providing rural communities in India access to clean water.
In the remote and isolated villages of Rajasthan, India, women and girls are being made vulnerable daily by having to walk miles to fetch water. This puts them at risk of illness and assault.
While the women walk these perilous distances, families living near the famous Sambhar Salt Lake are still being forced to drink contaminated ground water as they face an increasing shortage due to changing rain patterns, rapid desertification, but also as the salt lake has salinized the groundwater supply for many kilometres around.
We’ve partnered with Water Harvest who's been working for 30 years providing sustainable water, in the most desolate areas, to the poorest communities.
They work to capture precious monsoon rain so women such as these are spared walking 10km daily to procure water.
EST WST is committed to following fair trade practices throughout our supply chain. This means we pay a premium for high quality materials, and enable our partner collectives to set fair wages. We stitch our products in factories in the USA and a fair trade factory in India. We’ve worked diligently to ensure our supply chain is completely transparent, so if you have any questions, just ask.
Sustainability plays into every decision we make, from the materials and manufacturing, to the packaging and shipping. We always avoid the use of plastics, and package shipments in cardboard boxes with recyclable paper stuffing. We’re also in the process of looking for ways to recycle/upcycle damaged or returned products, so please let us know if you have any suggestions. We’re all in this together for a more sustainable future.