We believe that fashion is a powerful platform for positive global change. The choices we make and the way we dress influence the way we live now and in the future. Sustainability is a process, and we’re evolving along the way and committed to doing our best, season after season.
We define sustainability in fashion and in all things as meeting the needs of the present without compromising those of the future. There are three main pillars: social, environmental, and economic.
For Elise Ballegeer these are defined as follows:
Supporting the NYC garment district with local production. Partnering with environmental organizations to further educate consumers on the value of eco-friendly clothing.
We use natural and biodegradable fabrics that reduce energy consumption and waste during production.
Fair working conditions and wages for the people involved in making our garments.
Our commitment to sustainability goes down to the fiber itself. We work closely with suppliers to source fabrics that are as luxurious as they are conscientious. Each season, this starts with natural textiles—both for their comfort and breathability, and their ecological advantages. Within this category, we incorporate certified organic cotton along with staple fibers like hemp and linen, which require very little water or fertilizer to grow. We also include forest-friendly cellulosic materials like Tencel™, produced by environmentally friendly processes derived from natural raw materials. The final material categories of our collection are comprised of recycled and upcycled textiles. We include waste material spun into fiber to create new fabrics and reclaimed textiles that were destined for the landfills.
Each collection is created, first and foremost, to bring something delightful and lasting into the world. In this era of disposable clothes, we focus on modern silhouettes, refined details, and a sense of quality that endures, season after season.
Sustainability is a human issue too, and Elise Ballegeer is committed to supporting the work of artisans and empowering their communities. All our garments are produced in small batches in NYC. We operate this way to reduce overstock and support the traditions and techniques of the local garment district. We've partnered with local organizations like FABSCRAP to recycle our studio fabric scraps that can be redistributed into the community for quilting or school projects, or be shredded down and spun into yarns for a new zero-waste material.
We use natural fibers like silk, hemp, linen, cotton, etc. Natural fibers are a healthier choice because of its “breathability.” Thanks to natural ventilation, silk and cotton fabrics reduce skin irritation and hemp has natural anti-bacterial properties. We also always opt organic for cotton as it is a more responsible choice, both environmentally and socially. Opting organic avoids the use of harmful chemicals, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds; as well as significantly reduces water pollution from conventional production practices. Working with the natural cycle of nature rather than against it, promotes better and healthier working conditions for farmers. Natural fibers are a renewable resource and 100% biodegradable at the end of their lifecycle, making them a more sustainable choice.
Tencel™ Lyocell fibers have gained a commendable reputation for their environmentally responsible closed loop production process, which transforms wood pulp into cellulosic fibers with high resource efficiency and low environmental impact. Lyocell and Modal fibers help to maintain the environmental balance by being integrated into nature´s cycle. The fibers originate from the renewable raw material wood, created by photosynthesis. The certified biobased fibers are manufactured using an environmentally responsible production process.This solvent-spinning process recycles process water and reuses the solvent at a recovery rate of more than 99%. The fibers are certified as compostable and biodegradable, and thus can fully revert back to nature. Consumers can have the assurance that their fashion choices are not contributing to an adverse impact on the environment.
These fabrics are made by processes that convert waste into reusable material. We use regenerated PET materials to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as our dependency on petroleum. By using recycled polyester, we also help keep plastic waste out of landfills, which can take up to 1000 years to decompose. PET fibers have a lower carbon footprint and use much less water to produce than virgin polyester. The materials we use are made from post-consumer waste products that have been spun into fine fibers and then woven into fabrics, all of which are Global Recycle Standard (GRS) certified.
We strive to reclaim materials whenever possible. Reclaimed fabric is unused fabric rolls or pieces that are doomed to be thrown into garbage bins or landfills due to excess manufacturing or slight "mistakes" in the dyeing or printing process. Nearly all of our silks are rescued from landfills and put into production to make limited edition garments.