This is the real thing. And while some might argue that any use of leather is not within the bounds of sustainable living, I’m going to put that debate aside and address my experience with this fine jacket.
I’m not a fashionista, wasn’t before this wonderful eco-fashion revolution and I seriously doubt anyone would label me such now. However, I have my own somewhat colorful sense of style at times and find that the key elements to my fashion sense are about what makes me look good and feel good – comfort is king or queen as it were.
Perhaps it is because I’m at an age or a place in my life where I am less self-conscious and hate to put on anything that makes me feel like I should sit up straight, suck in the gut or be careful not to raise my arms or make any sudden twists. I also am someone who hates to have stiff, scratchy, hard or inflexible clothing restricting me. I love soft, mobile clothes that really make you forget you are wearing them.
Bernardo Fashions has developed a sustainable clothing line, called Bernardo Green, which is an eco-friendly suede collection made of biodegradable materials. One of the things Bernardo Fashion is known for is being the innovator of washable suede. Bernardo sticks primarily to outerwear.
I LOVE this jacket. It is very similar to one I lost about 12 years ago and have been mourning ever since. It is soft, comfortable, flexible and features a good cut and great details.
The tags are not only biodegradable and made of recycled materials, but are embedded with poppy seeds! Also, of importance is the tracking ‘code’ used to trace the origins and manufacturing process involved in producing the garment.
Transparency in Manufacturing
Similar to my recent adventure with Icebreaker’s Baacode, which offers a transparent view of the entire manufacturing process of a garment – back to the sheep in New Zealand that shed wool for the cool (or warm) merino hoodie, Bernardo Green offers a similar ‘code’ which allows trackability of the garment and its entire journey. In the case of my jacket, it involved the origin of the raw materials, which was kind of whacky – Hormel – yes, SPAM! Aside from the unbelievably silly Monty Python tune rambling through my brain . . . Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam . . . Spam, wonderful Spam . . . my first instinct was to see this as icky and incongruous with where I WANTED this garment to come from. However, with some brief contemplation, I was glad to know that the leather bits that weren’t being consumed (by who, I dare not think) were being utilized.
All bad Spam jokes aside, it was interesting to learn about how the suede fabric was produced in the tannery in Slovenia and what makes it Eco-Vel washable material. This jacket has burned a bit of carbon in travel as the materials started in the Hormel plant in Minnesota, went to Slovenia for eco-tanning (?), then off to China for production, and finally back to US for distribution (Nordstrom’s is one retail outlet). I know it helps keep the cost down, but there’s got to be a better way.
However, all that written, I have to give them credit for being willing to open up their entire manufacturing chain. While it isn’t perfect, Bernardo Green’s efforts are a big improvement on an industry that needs to start somewhere to move towards more sustainable practices. Go Bernardo.
Other relevant GO posts
Green Diva’s Guide to Fresh Style: Track the Origin of Your Clothing through Baacoding
Look Book Preview: Toggery Fall Collection – Sustainable Clothing for a Luxe Life