By Olivia Youngs (bio below)
Every brand, just like every person, has a story. Unfortunately, when it comes to the apparel industry, many of those stories are about cutting corners, dishonesty, and abuse. Fast fashion is known for the exploitation of its workers, sourcing less-than-sustainable, synthetic materials to cut costs, and creating long, untraceable supply chains that make transparency almost impossible. Most of these stories are, simply put, heartbreaking, hurting our environment and the people involved.
At People of Leisure, though, our goal is to be intentionally different than conventional fashion brands, pushing the limits of transparency, fairness, and sustainability. We believe that fashion shouldn’t have to sacrifice ethics - you can look damn good and be helping other people and the planet while you’re at it. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
This week, we’re excited to share a bit of People of Leisure’s backstory, in an effort to put our motto #liveconsciously into practice, so that our customers can have full faith in our practices, and not just our amazing pieces (shameless plug, sorry, not sorry).
Like many brands, our founder, Bobby Banafsheian, wasn’t out to build a sustainable brand when he first embarked on a career in the fashion industry. He has been immersed in the fashion industry for more than fifteen years, and with that kind of history in the fashion scene, he readily admits that he’s seen his fair share of inequality and abuse.
Several years ago, he learned that one of his contracted factories in LA was getting away with paying workers a measly $5 per hour, well below the living wage in California. After fully immersing himself in his first label, he quickly realized how prevalent injustice towards garment workers really was and he couldn’t support it with a clear conscious.
So, he set out to build a new brand, as sustainably and fairly as possible.
Spoiler alert: it was People of Leisure.
We won’t go into the crazy amount of detail it would take to explain what is involved with starting a sustainable brand, but we’ll just say it’s not simple. Since 2016, Bobby and the rest of the team have sourced fabrics from vintage, deadstock, or fair trade producers, partnered with suppliers who must pass regular audits and tests to qualify as fair. We also ensure that everyone within our supply chain is treated and paid fairly, all as part of our “No Sweat” policy.
Fast track to today where People of Leisure has also become a sustainable online shop. By partnering with Digital Marketing Specialist Laura Dolgy, Bobby has been able to expand the brand’s exposure to a variety of communities and online personalities in the fashion, ethical and sustainable world.
We've also been able to expand socially thanks to the efforts of our Social Media Coordinator Emma Hawes.
In addition to our commitment to equality, we do our best to treat our planet with respect, reducing our water use, using deadstock fabrics that would have otherwise been destined for landfill, and upcycling and recycling when we can. Our online shop also donates 10% of all online orders to the Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization fighting poverty and commercial waste.
Although we don’t claim to be perfect, at People of Leisure, we believe that conscious living, and of course, conscious shopping can make the world a better place, one garment at a time.
Welcome to People of Leisure- we’re so glad you’re here.
Olivia Young is the founder and curator of Simply Liv & Co., an ethical lifestyle blog, where she hopes to inspire others to live simply and consciously. She's also a guest collaborator on People of Leisure. When she’s not writing, you can find her, black coffee in hand, chasing her two toddlers or exploring the Colorado mountains she and her family call home. Follow her on Instagram.