We believe that even as newcomers to the fashion industry, we can have a positive impact by providing customers with ethical purchasing options, committing to responsible production, and giving back.
It's estimated that 80% of garment workers worldwide are women aged 18-35,* meaning that fashion ethics issues are women's ethics issues.
Kaftan Life products are collaboratively designed and manufactured in Jaipur, India, with a WRAP** Platinum Certified producer. WRAP Platinum compliance means providing workers with healthy working conditions, fair wages and benefits, and opportunities for continuing education, in addition to ensuring that facilities pass regular safety inspections.
Giving Back with Commit2Change
Our commitment doesn't end at the production line. We contribute 1% of our revenue to programs seeking better opportunities for women in the regions that inspire our products and where Kaftan Life products are made.
Our first non-profit partner, Commit2Change, is a U.S. based 501(c)(3) non-profit who provides programs seeking to empower abandoned and impoverished girls ages 13-18 in India. These programs help them develop life skills, pursue higher education, and forge a path to financial independence. Current Commit2Change-supported programs include Adaptive Education Programs, Tutoring, Peer to Peer Mentorship, and Mental Wellness Programs.
Commit2Change currently supports six such programs in New Delhi (1), Mumbai (3), Hyderabad (1) and Bangalore (1).
Kaftan Life's donations are made on a quarterly basis. We calculate a given quarter's donation amount as 0.01 x quarterly net revenue, where net revenue is defined as gross revenue minus selling fees and costs associated with returned or undelivered products.
The environmental cost of "business as usual" in the fashion industry is as high as its human cost. It's estimated that the global fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, just after the oil industry. In the age of fast fashion, a garment can go from an idea to store shelves at a low price in weeks, and large brands and their production partners churn out style after style at breakneck pace to catch the latest trends.
The result that's easy to see firsthand is low quality: many of these garments don't last long, and we buy more and more to replace them as they wear out. This means we produce more consumer waste.
The true cost of fast fashion is more sinister. To sustain rapid production at scale, the fashion industry consumes incredible amounts of water and pollutes through chemical and pesticide application, habitat destruction, greenhouse gas emission and water contamination.
At Kaftan Life, we're challenging the fashion industry's "business as usual" with a different approach to designing products that emphasizes lasting quality. It takes longer and it's more expensive (we spent 10 months finalizing the specs for our launch collection), but we think it leads to better products that our customers will enjoy for far longer than their fast fashion items.
We also work hard to reduce our environmental impact during production. Our kaftans are material-sourced and made locally in India to minimize overland trucking, and we specially order cotton for each production run to consume only what we need. We color our kaftans using direct-to-garment (DTG) digital printing, which uses less water, electricity and ink than traditional roller printing. Plus, all our production sites employ modern water recycling and wastewater filtration techniques.
Finally, we're committed to using ocean freight to import our products whenever possible. Air freight has become more and more popular in our industry with the rise of fast fashion and small apparel brands because it's flexible and, well, really fast. But the environmental impact of air freight is staggering -- about 44x more CO2e emissions for comparable shipments according to a UK DEFRA study.***
As we grow, we're investing time and resources to explore more sustainable practices, including ways to use deadstock fabric (excess material from other production runs that's slated for disposal), organic dyes, and recycled and environmentally friendly packaging materials.
If you're inspired by our commitment to ethical production, giving back and sustainability, read on to learn how we're inspired by the kaftan and its rich history.
Shop Ethically Made Kaftans