California-based company Outerknown — a founding member of the California Cotton & Climate Coalition (C4) — has launched a new collection that celebrates California farmers and working landscapes. The California Series is made with 100% Climate Beneficial™ cotton, grown and sewn entirely in the heart of California’s Central Valley. This line represents a first-of-its-kind for Outerknown that utilizes a regional community of farmers, designers, and producers committed to closely collaborating through our fiber systems to work with the soils natural ecosystem function in order to grow cotton that can draw carbon out of the atmosphere.
Stitching Together A Domestic Clothing Collection
The essential effort of stabilizing our climate requires many stakeholders to work outside of their normal ways of doing business in order to build systems that benefit the environment. Brands like Outerknown play a critical role in reimagining fiber systems by providing demand for fibers that are grown and processed in beneficial ways.
The California Cotton & Climate Coalition (C4) is working to lower the hurdles of producing farm-forward textiles by strengthening the ties between farmers, merchants, mills, and brands. This coalition demonstrates that it is possible to realize a system that works harmoniously with our natural and working landscapes and provides a foundation for investing in farming methods that improve ecological function. We are excited today to celebrate the launch of Outerknown’s first C4 collection.
An Industry Leader in Sustainable Apparel
Outerknown has long been a pioneer in sustainable clothing production, demonstrating a willingness to take risks in pursuit of its dedication to positively impacting the planet. Since its inception, Outerknown has prioritized ethical and sustainable practices, challenging conventional notions of clothing production and proving that it is possible to create high-quality, stylish clothing while still protecting the environment. Outerknown distinguishes itself by committing to fair labor practices, embracing circular models, and leading with transparency.
Earlier this summer, Outerknown released a collection of heritage-inspired sweats made with 100% Climate Beneficial™ cotton. The line is the first of its kind for Outerknown and is an exciting springboard for C4 to high-profile brands signing on to farm-forward practices.
Fibershed Executive Director Rebecca Burgess shares how this collection contributes towards a movement of farm-forward apparel:
Asking for shifts in how fibers are grown requires systemic forces to come into play — on-farm technical assistance, public and private investment in research, and actual investment in on-farm practice implementation. Growers have been so squeezed on pricing that when you seek to trial a new suite of practices, you have to de-risk the grower to make it happen. In this coalition, the brands are sharing the risk of these soil-building trials and have financially supported new place-based pricing structures. This model is highly unique and needs to be supported by us (the wearers) if we want to see it continue.
As a member of C4, Outerknown is collaborating with partners to create locally-grown cotton that mitigates climate change through the adoption and implementation of carbon farming practices. The coalition works to build a supply network that starts at the field level — enhancing the grower’s ability to prioritize soil health in cotton farming systems. Learn more about how C4 is reversing the supply chain.
A Soil to Skin Journey
The cotton used in Outerknown’s California Series comes from Bowles Farming Company (located near Los Banos) and Stone Land Company (located near Stratford). The cotton is ginned right down the road from the farms, spun at Hill Spinning in North Carolina (no cotton spinners exist yet in California), milled at Laguna Fabrics in Los Angeles, and is cut and sewn at Studio 9D8, also in Los Angeles.
Cotton is often a small part of a rotation of vegetables and grain that we eat. It is the second lowest water user in this rotation in the San Joaquin Valley. The coalition supports these vegetable and fiber-producing farms. By engaging with cotton systems, we directly engage with how our food and fiber are grown.
We encourage you to check out Outerknown’s collection, which is fairly priced to pay farmers to implement essential soil regenerating practices. By purchasing clothes made with Climate Beneficial Cotton™, you not only support a brand that prioritizes domestic production but also contribute to a farm-forward movement in the sustainable fashion industry.
Explore the California Series and invest in the power of agriculture to heal our planet.
C4 images by Paige Green, product images courtesy of Outerknown