This piece was made possible as part of a grant from the Julia Child Foundation
Allégorie is a sustainable fashion brand that sells products made out of recycled plants. Based in New York, Allégorie creates products made from recycled plant products, instead of animal hides, while also ensuring workers earn a fair wage.
After learning about animals’ unethical treatment and use for bag production in the fashion industry, co-founders Heather Jiang and Jen You created the fashion brand that was rooted in sustainability and aligned with their own values. The company’s collection includes functional accessories such as bags, backpacks, and wallets.
The process of turning discarded fruits and plants into a fashion collection varies depending on the discarded material. “For apple and cactus leather, we extract the fiber from recycled apples and cactus, then mix some natural or recycled binding agents so the material is performing and long-lasting,” You tells Food Tank.
But for Allégorie, sustainability is not just about materials that go into their bags. “We take into account how we produce our products, the packaging we use, the way we operate. We mindfully evaluate every small piece carefully before we make a decision,” You tells Food Tank.
These values also extend to the company’s labor force. While many fashion brands face criticism for enabling poor working conditions, Allégorie works to ensure that workers earn a fair wage. “Every single worker in our factory is paid an average of $35 an hour with benefits including health insurance,” You tells Food Tank.
Allégorie also values uplifting other entrepreneurial women in the industry. They explain that they do so in part because of a lack of women representation in the start-up industry. “We are very involved in the female entrepreneur community, where we all share our unique knowledge, skills, and experience to help each other,” You tells Food Tank.
You acknowledges that there is a “long journey to push the whole industry sustainable.” But, she says, “We believe every small step counts, we are learning, growing, and improving with each other.”
Photo courtesy of Allégorie
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