When I came back from Pakistan in March, I was pretty excited to create a whole set of curated blogs posts to write about sustainability and Earth Month.
And every time I sat down to write about how Istani is a sustainable brand, I just felt stuck. Not a writers block type of stuck. But it just didn’t feel authentic to write about sustainability as a brand that produces goods. Why?
Because I truly question how a business can be environmentally sustainable while producing and selling new goods to consumers. I considered how smaller brands with limited resources tend to be more sustainable since they produce less and usually more slowly. But I was also frustrated at how sustainability has becomes a buzzword and co-opted by larger brands like H&M and Uniqlo with flashy marketing campaigns but no real impactful action .
In that context, how can Istani as a brand be conscientious and impactful while operating at a small scale currently and aiming for massive growth?
Istani is an eco-conscious brand that prioritizes cultural and economic sustainability and approaches production from our eco-conscious perspective. Let’s break that down:
Eco-conscious means that we understand that we exist within an ecosystem of production and consumption. We are mindful of the materials we use up in the production process. And, we are creating products that are durable and will last years, decades, generations in our customers’ closets.
Cultural sustainability is inherent to the work we do at Istani. Istani is inspired by an indigenous Pakistani method of woodblock printing that is now only practiced authentically in a few rural workshops. Through our work with these craftsmen, we are highlighting and uplifting their original work as well as keeping the ancient art alive and bringing it beyond borders.
Economic sustainability means that we fully understand our organization as a business that has an economic impact on our production partners, manufacturing partners, and anyone else we contract with or employ.
We also understand the economic power disparity at play here, as U.S. based designers sourcing textiles from Pakistani craftsmen. We value our relationships with our manufacturers and suppliers and let them take the lead in setting prices for their work.
I imagine this to be an ongoing inquiry and evolving definition for Istani as the brand grows and creates a larger impact in the community. Sign up to follow along with us on this journey and leave a comment below with your thoughts on sustainability.