Respect for people and the planet is woven into the fabric of prAna’s DNA. From social responsibility to environmental care, this yoga clothing company creates products and opportunities for a healthy world. This month, Rachel Lincoln, Director of Sustainability at prAna, describes the brand’s compassionate values, and how they empowering communities and support the Earth.
Parvati Magazine: How does prAna’s approach to clothing and sustainability align with the yogi’s approach to mindful, compassionate living?
prAna: prAna has always had a people-first mentality—from the people making our materials, to the person sewing our clothes, to the person buying our products, and even our team members at headquarters. Will a rush order cause longer working hours? Will a new project cause our team members to miss a family function? We want to live with compassion for those that allow us to be in business. It’s a “people are greater than clothing” point of view.
Parvati Magazine: What impact does Fair Trade Certified™ apparel have on the lives of workers around the world who make your clothing? In what ways has prAna’s production “given back” to this working community?
prAna: With a focus on commitment to people, we are proud to be one of the brands to participate in a then pilot project of Fair Trade Apparel. Since then, we have been able to support eight factories to convert to Fair Trade Certified™ factories. We also support Fair Trade Certified™ organic cotton, which supports the farmers growing our fibers. Fair Trade empowers workers, supports equality, focuses on community and quality of life, and protects the environment. In 2017, prAna’s Fair Trade Certified™ program gave $150,000+ to 14,000+ workers. Since prAna became the first North American apparel brand to produce Fair Trade Certified™ clothing, we have given back $400,000+ to 33,000+ workers worldwide.
Parvati Magazine: What are the benefits of your bluesign® certification?
prAna: As a bluesign® systems partner, and as one of the few apparel brands that produces bluesign® certified garments, we believe it is just as important to manage your inputs as it is to test your outputs. From emissions to dyes to all-weather treatments, up to 2,000 chemicals are used in traditional textile processing. With bluesign® products, we know these chemicals won’t end up in the environment because bluesign®’s focus on upstream chemical management, keeping toxic chemicals out of our garments through third party certification of our suppliers, and helping to manage our robust Restricted Substance List that all our suppliers must adhere to.
Parvati Magazine: Why does prAna value recycled wool above traditionally sourced wool?
prAna: The apparel industry is notorious for creating excess waste. Our earth’s resources are finite, so when we use recycled wool, we are supporting a craftsmanship industry that is over 100 years old while ensuring that virgin resources are not being excessively depleted by our products.
Parvati Magazine: What are some of prAna’s most recent achievements in social and environmental responsibility?
prAna: In Spring 2018, we achieved a five-year goal of our products being 100% Organic Cotton; we have doubled our Fair Trade Certified™ factory usage; and we produced the most sustainable jacket our line has ever seen: The Showdown Jacket. The jacket touts PFC-Free DWR, RDS-Certified insulation (Responsible Down Standard), and bluesign® fabric. We continue to divert over two million plastic bags a year from landfill thanks to our minimal packaging program; and our partnership with The Renewal Workshop allows us to re-create products with a circular economy in mind.
Parvati Magazine: How does your partnership with Canopy promise responsible treatment of forests?
prAna: We partnered with Canopy to create a standard for use of natural forest-based fibers within our organization. Many pulp based fabrics are sourced from endangered and ancient forests. The result was strong, and in turn we took a bold position to remove generic rayon and viscose from our products. We have been rayon/viscose free since 2015!
Parvati Magazine: What is prAna’s overarching goal? What do you hope to inspire in the people who purchase prAna clothing?
prAna: Ultimately, we are committed to creating clothing for positive change. Our goal has always been to do the right thing and lead the sustainable movement. We hope to inspire people to understand there is a better way, and that you can love fashion in an environmental and socially sustainable way. We strive to be a resource for education as we use our business as a platform to fundamentally change the way clothing is made.
prAna was started in a garage in Carlsbad, California back in 1992. At that time yoga and climbing gear left a lot to be desired, so Beaver and Pam Theodosakis decided to create their own stylish and sustainably made clothes. Today, prAna’s commitment to sustainability and community still inspires them to find innovative ways to do good.