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Our Ethos

Gaia Conceptions' mission is to provide customizable organic clothing that is created through sustainable fair labor production and purposeful design. When our company was founded in 2003, Andrea wanted to explore just how environmentally friendly apparel could be. This required examining each stage of a garment's lifecycle. True Slow Clothing, which is frequently compared to the Slow Foods Movement, emphasizes organic raw materials, intentional design, artisanal made-to-order production, taking responsibility for production waste, a commitment to a sustainable business model, and making sure the garment can be recycled or passed on to someone else at the end of its life.

Organic Materials

We have a large selection of organic textiles to pick from. With continued relationships with local farmers and mills, we are constantly aiming for a smaller footprint and growing our local fibershed. We also collaborate with global organic fiber and material efforts to encourage other change-makers like ourselves. To impart color to our apparel, we garment dye it with Fiber Reactive Low-Impact Dyes or Natural Dyes.

Fiber Reactive Dyes are the same dyes large manufacturers use to meet Okeo-tex or GOTS certification standards due to there high absorption rate , lack of heavy metals (like chrome, copper and zinc), nor do they require toxic chemical mordants to fix them to the fiber. We use a range of plant materials, insects, and pigments to create our natural dye colors. Natural dyes do tend to fade faster than the fiber reactive dyes and require more care when being worn and laundered but they have amazing wellness benefits and are hands down the most eco friendly.

Dying the garments after they have been cut and sewn uses far less dye than dyeing the fabric yardage before garment production, allowing us to save precious dye resources until a garment is requested.

Sustainable Production

Our in-house, made-to-order production approach is crucial to our commitment to Gaia and distinguishes us from other inventory-based eco fashion brands. Slow Fashion doesn't just offer you a wide array of customization options, but also plays an integral role in reducing waste. We begin crafting each garment only upon request, ensuring no unnecessary resources are used, thus minimizing overproduction, landfill waste and conserving both materials and manpower. All Gaia Garments are designed, patterned, cut, sewn, and dyed in our Greensboro, NC, studio by a team of artisans who are paid a living wage.

FAIR LABOR

The journey towards fair trade certification is a commendable stride for any inventory based eco brand, however, it's crucial to understand that it often still equates to a typical factory setup. Imagine artificial lights replacing daylight, crowded production floors, and the relentless hum of machinery punctuated by long hours of repetitive labor. The reality is, many founders of eco friendly brands will likely never set foot in the certified factories where their apparel is made.

Let's draw a contrast with our working environment. We are a dynamic team of five women, flourishing in a 3000 square foot space illuminated by natural sunlight. Most of our machinery operates quietly, and our tasks vary, tailored to your unique orders each week. The cherry on top? Our founder is more than just a figurehead, she is a hands-on team member, involved in every process from sewing to dyeing, and even shipping.

The Process

In order to keep our production just as sustainable as our organic materials we use a made-to-order production model. We began as a made-to-order company and have kept that model as we’ve grown.

In contrast to other eco brands, this is a major area where we prioritize actual sustainability over profit and the desire for continued expansion. It reduces waste (we don’t overproduce inventory or cut into materials that aren’t needed). As a result, we can be considerably more flexible with our collection and give more customer customization possibilities because we don't cut into fabric and create a garment until it's requested. There is also the sustainability of not wasting precious material and human energy until another human has stated that they want and will utilize the product, and we never want to lose that commitment to Gaia.

We place all the orders we receive in a given week into a production plan. Then over the next 2 weeks we make all of the garments in that production plan – they move through the studio getting cut, sewn, dyed, inspected, packed up, and finally shipped out as a group. At any given moment, our team will be working on two or three production plans – one batch is in cutting, one in sewing, one in dyeing and fulfillment then getting ready for pickup. Each production plan is totally unique, containing only the garments y'all have ordered.

This entire process takes us 2-4 weeks

Step 1 - we cut

Each garment is hand-cut based on your custom design and fabric selection.

It's at this stage that your specific organic fabric, bespoke design combinations, and length choice are applied.

Step 2 - We Sew

We serge and straight stitch all our garments together for super strong and durable seams.

Lots of Love and attention to detail goes into this stage of your One of a Kind Gaia Garment !!!

 Step 3 - We Dye

Each garment is hand dyed either with our NATURAL DYES or eco friendly LOW IMPACT DYES depending on your color choice.

Responsible Collaborations

Collaborations and donations that support social justice through environmental justice are part of our company culture. For several of our textiles and materials, we collaborate with other artisans around the world. Applying our local-centric mindset to global manufacturing provides us with a unique opportunity to uplift slow clothing communities on a global scale while retaining the power, pride, and sustainability inherent in local systems.

 We work with the Rao family in Hyderabad, India to make our Organic Natural Dyed Blockprint Fabrics.

We partner with WomanWeave in Maheswhar, India to weave our Natural Dye Handwoven Fabrics.

We also work with local farm projects to support the growing of organic cotton and hemp fiber to use in our fabrics.

We work with the local company Material Return to recycle any of our left over Fabric Scraps into useable fabrics to reach our Zero Waste goals.

Inclusivity and Accessibility

 Through our imagery and marketing, our size range, our variety of fits and styles, our personalization possibilities, and our discounted purchase alternatives, we seek to make everyone feel welcome and celebrated. Our clothing cannot be everything to everyone, but we strive to serve as many people as possible through our products and pricing.

Zero WASTE

We find creative ways to turn our fabric scraps into One of a Kind Garments, gifts, or sheet mulching in our community garden. Any left over scraps are sent to Material Return to be recycled into usable fabric yardage.

Be sure to join our newsletter for announcements on Free Gift Giveaways and our latest zero waste projects.

Our Business Model

Gaia Conceptions isn't just committed to delivering sustainably produced organic garments, but is also driven to redefine business practices. Unlike many organic fashion brands that still cling to fast fashion inventory based models or small batch productions, charging a whopping 3-10x markup, we've crafted an innovative, cost-effective approach. By eliminating multiple middleman and embracing an in house made-to-order model, we've managed to keep our markup to just 2X.

This means you get to enjoy bespoke organic garments, each meticulously hand-cut, hand-sewn, and hand-dyed, at the wholesale price! The discounted price option you see on our garments is a testament of our commitment to offering you the lowest possible wholesale price while still maintaining a deep commitment to Gaia! This does limit how much we can discount things and necessitates stricter return rules for our discounted pricing option. Be sure and order your garment at the Full Price if you prefer return options similar to Fast Fashion.

Alterations + overdyes + Exchanges

Thats all Great you say!! but what if I'm not in love with the custom choices I made once I get a chance to try the garment on in person? Great question, buying bespoke cloths online can be tricky and there is no guarantee you will love your garment.

We provide a range of options to help you get a Gaia Garment that you will love.

Garment Design

While organic materials and made-to-order production are obvious choices for a company committed to sustainability, garment design is equally important. We endeavor to make clothing that is comfortable, versatile, and long-lasting. Some of our classic yet modern designs were inspired by traditional silhouettes encountered on the travels of our founder, like the chuba from Nepal, the sari and dhoti from South Asia, and the kimono from East Asia. Clean lines mixed with points of interest that are not too distracting are our favorite combination.

We also offer customer customization options so you can tweak our basic designs to suit your particular needs. We hope that by working together, we can create a garment that you will love and cherish.

Meet the team

Andrea

Founder + Designer + Seamstress + Dyer

Kate

Seamstress + Dyer + Shipping

Cynthia

Cutter and Seamstress

Tram

Seamstress

Bridget

Cutter and Seamstress