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Our Future In Sustainibility

Our Supply Chain

Our Supply Chain

During my first year at the University of Michigan, I decided to redesign Oshki's supply chain entirely. I became more educated on the impacts of a company's supply chain and how to have the most sustainable product possible through a "Business & the Environment" course I took during my second semester. Companies preaching sustainability must work towards it across the entirety of their production. Not just within their corporate structure, but also their suppliers. Considering this universal impact is known as a circular economy. 

Sadly, not enough companies focus on the impact of their production across the board - from resource extraction to final product. A company may be using sustainable methods, but if they have to ship resources from halfway across the world 2-3 different times before their product reaches a consumer, what is their true impact? If a company produces in Vietnam, but 99% of their customer base is in the US - how sustainable is their product? The fossil fuels used to ship their materials across the globe offsets a huge percentage of their claimed "sustainable methods" used in their marketing. Oshki's customers are almost entirely in the United States. When considering this, I wanted to redesign my supply chain accordingly. 

Oshki's supply chain now consists entirely in the United States, from resource extraction to packaging to final product. I was inspired to use plastic waste from the Great Lakes in our clothing using recycled polyester. 22,000,000 pounds of plastic waste enter the Great Lakes every single year, a number set to triple by 2050. While recycled polyester has been produced overseas for about 25 years, it is a relatively new industry in the United States, as China just recently stopped buying plastic waste from recycling centers in mid-2018. Due to this recent development, Oshki is the first apparel company to use 100% United States plastic waste in every garment. Since we are using plastic waste from the Great Lakes and other US waterways, it would not have made sense to produce the clothing anywhere other than the United States. Below is a map with all locations within our supply chain, being transparent across the board to our customers is vital. 

  • Muskegon, Michigan

This is where our design team and headquarters lies. On the shores of Lake Michigan, Muskegon give us the constant reminder of the importance of the Great Lakes. We run community beach clean-ups and serve as vendors in our local community. 

  • New York, New York

All of our vinyl stickers are produced in New York, New York. A vinyl sticker comes with each purchase and is a way for our customers to market our brand what it means to join the group of passionate Oshki customers working to preserve the Great Lakes and beyond. 

  • Louisville, Colorado

All of our sustainable packaging is produced in Louisville, Colorado through our partnership with packaging company Ecoenclose. Each one of our recycled paper mailers is naturally biodegradable, recyclable, and made of 90% post consumer waste. Our tissue paper used is also produced by Ecoenclose, a paper made entirely from post-consumer & post-industrial content and is recyclable and naturally biodegradable itself. This partnership has enabled us to greatly reduce the impact of single-use packaging, a huge issue in the shipping industry. 

  • Hanahan, South Carolina

Our 1:1 shirts are produced in Hanahan on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Our manufacturer produces these shirts with a 50% recycled polyester / 50% cotton blend. The polyester is made of plastic waste from the Great Lakes and other US waterways, while the cotton is extracted from local farms within a 200 mile radius. 

  • Yadkinville, North Carolina

The Repreve plant in Yadkinville is where the plastic waste is transformed into recycled polyester. This plant has relationships with recycling centers around the United States, specifically the Great Lakes and other US waterways - where the plastic waste is shipped from. This plant processes the plastic waste into tiny chips, tiny plastic beads, and eventually polyester yarn. 

  • Los Angeles, California

Our hangtags and packaging postcard is produced in Los Angeles, California. This company (Uprinting) uses vibrant, professional printing to help tell our story in a meaningful way through artwork created by our design team. 

  • Lakewood, California

Lakewood holds our manufacturer of polyester fabric made of the plastic waste from the Great Lakes and other US waterways. This manufacturer takes the polyester yarn produced by Repreve and transforms it into long-lasting, sustainable fabric. In addition, our producer of woman's leggings has their factory in Lakewood, these leggings made of recycled plastic are set to launch in early August 2019. 

The transformation of Oshki's supply chain is a moving ecosystem. We change according to the most sustainable practices we can find in the United States. Transforming to producing everything in the US is not about American exceptionalism, it is about creating the most sustainable product possible. Limiting the amount of fossil fuels needed to ship around our resources throughout their production is what apparel companies preaching sustainability need to do. The cheaper option may always be to produce overseas, but if companies are going to seriously consider sustainable manufacturing, they must consider the universal effect of its production. We hope the transformation of our supply chain inspires other companies to take the same initiative in creating a more circular economy. 

With love,

Jackson Riegler

Founder - Oshki. 

Earth Day Reflection

Earth Day Reflection

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another,” (Gandhi).

The destructive practices of the last 2 centuries reflect this thought by Gandhi entirely. Technology has improved hundred-fold, but so has destruction to our planet, to what gives us the possibility of existence. Where did this ideology shift? Were humans doomed starting with the agricultural revolution, the moment humans gained control over the nature around them 15,000 years ago? What has shaped humans into the ideology that they are better than the creatures surrounding them?

My answer of choice to this question is addressed by one of my favorite authors, Kathleen Moore,

“Not approaching, not avoiding, the seals rose and fell gently on the swell, as I rose and fell, the soft sounds of our breathing a language we shared. What would make us human beings think we’re something radically different from the other inhabitants of the natural world? Or if different, what grand leap of logic or arrogance would make us think we’re superior?” (Pine Island Paradox).

I challenge any morally sound human to enter our national parks, to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, or to develop a relationship with any living creature and not ask themselves the same question. It's an overplayed narrative. But what makes us think we are of greater quality? How did we blow this ideology so out of proportion?

Sustainable practices are a journey.

We have entered a new era. Instead of nature dictating human actuality, we determine the actuality of nature for the rest of time. What humans do now matters more than it ever has before. And so far, what we have done has left our planet irreversibly changed.

But enough of sulking in what has occurred. Enough dwelling on what could have been. Enough accepting planet earth as a doomed apparatus.

Instead, appreciate the now we are in.

We are finally on our way to success. For the first time in human existence, our population growth has slowed down. We have developed reliable sources of renewable energy. Social impact is accepted as necessary, now more than ever before. The doors have opened.

So do what you can. Find yourself captivated, inebriated in what you can do to improve the world around you. Find ways to reduce your fossil fuel usage. Find ways to increase your consumption of local cuisine. Phase single-use plastics out your everyday routine. If we put ourselves into this issue through the contribution of individuals, we can converse it in the same fashion. A reverse tragedy of the commons. There has never been a better opportunity.

Surrounding myself with an amazing network of individuals at the University of Michigan has made me appreciate this generation more than ever before. I have met the most incredible people, all who understand the necessity of doing their part in making this world a better place. The cliché terminology of "changing the world" can be done. Everyone must do their part.

I am applying this philosophy to Oshki. To be an agent for change in my local environment and the impact I am seeing to the Great Lakes on a daily basis. But my favorite part about the intersection between sustainability and business is the ability to scale one person’s desire for change. Because without my customers, what impact could I make? I could do my part, but business allows an exponential impact to be made on the planet, both good and bad. I am eager to share my passion for the Great Lakes in a more meaningful way this summer as Oshki is set to become the first fashion company of its kind to use 100% domestic plastic waste in the production of all products, including a portion of the 22,000,000 pounds of plastic that enter the Great Lakes ecosystem each year. Our supply chain is shifting to being based solely in the United States, with all members receiving fair wages. Not many companies can say the same thing.

In addition, this earth day, 100% of Oshki sales will go to nonprofits working to preserve the Great Lakes. My customers determine the impact I can make and I am thrilled to broaden this impact through the power of business as a change agent.


Have a happy Easter and an impactful earth day.


Jackson 

Founder - Oshki



2019: Our Shift to Sustainability

2019: Our Shift to Sustainability

Founding Oshki was completed with the mindset that sustainability and preservation would be put at the top of the priority list no matter the circumstance. 

Since July 2017, we have continued to put out new products - donating 5% of proceeds to non-profits working to preserve the Great Lakes. Although our customers have enabled us to donate over $1,200 to these amazing organizations, the feeling that Oshki could do more as a company to produce items of the utmost quality and sustainable materials has pushed me towards working on a shift to sustainability as a brand. 

One of the most shocking realizations I have come to over the last few months is the detrimental effects the fashion industry has on the environment. A change is needed in the garment industry - where "fast fashion" has become the number 2 source of pollution on planet earth. A study done by the World Resources Institute revealed that the average consumer bought 60% more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but kept each garment half as long. Taking into account that each cotton shirt takes approximately 2,700 liters of water to produce, the need for sustainability in this industry has never been greater. While most industries have become cleaner since the turn of the millennia, the fashion industry has regressed. 

With the help of the University of Michigan group OptiMize and personal research over the last 3 months - all Oshki products released in 2019 and beyond will be made of recycled plastic waste collected from the Great Lakes and other waterways. With the help of American companies Repreve and Recover Brands - this plastic waste is sourced entirely from United States water and land cleanups. The PET plastic waste is ground into minuscule pieces, which is transformed into recycled polyester fibers. The dynamic existence of these fibers allows limitless capabilities into what types of products are made from recycled plastic - giving a new use to otherwise useless material and keeping plastic out of the Great Lakes and beyond.

We will be doing a small sample run in January and February in partnership with Recover Brands before our eventual large product release. A project such as this takes time, but the customer support we have received over the last year and half makes it worth our time as well as the need for more sustainability in the fashion industry. I am excited for what is in store for 2019 and beyond. 

With love,

Jackson Riegler

Founder - Oshki LLC