ABOUT YOGA DEMOCRACY -
We work primarily with three fabrics, two types of recycled nylon and one type of recycled polyester. Working with suppliers who have proven track records in reducing their environmental impact is very important to us.

We import our fabric from Italy. We do it because it’s the best we’ve found in the recycled space. We think eco is great but we think eco and just really good is even better. First up is our recycled polyester. Polyester gets a bad rap. It only deserves it some of the time. Standard polyester in fairness has high energy requirements to produce. 1 kilogram of virgin polyester produces around 6 kilograms of CO2. Our recycled polyester produces around half.

One of its other great features is its low water impact. Our recycled polyester has very low water and energy consumption in the dyeing/fixing and spinning process. Like 6 times less than standard polyester. And we don’t add to the water cost with our waterless dyeing method. That’s great because the textile industry is notoriously water hungry and it leaves behind a mess. According to the World Bank, approximately 20% of global industrial water pollution comes from the textile industry. Cotton production alone accounts for 2.6% of annual global water usage. It takes the equivalent of two weeks of drinking water for one adult to dye a single t-shirt. Because polyester can withstand high temperatures better than nylon we can use a process called sublimation to transfer our artwork to the fabric without a single drop of water used in the process.

All the paper we use in our transfer process is recycled after use. Because obviously...

Nylon was off limits to us for some time. It is notoriously energy hungry. Then came technological innovation to reduce its impact to a level that satisfies us without compromising on quality. In fact, it may be the highest quality nylon we’ve seen in some time, standard or otherwise. The recycled nylon we use requires half the energy to produce versus standard nylon and has half the Greenhouse Warming Potential (GWP) which is a measurement of total greenhouse gas emissions weighted by their relative impact on ozone depletion.

And there is one other fact to consider. This nylon is helping to clean up the world’s oceans and landfills. Much of the material that goes into our recycled nylon comes from discarded fishing nets. Discarded fishing nets are a real and under-publicized problem. Left behind as worthless by industry, they do not biodegrade and float for generations in our oceans, killing sea life and causing a general mess. By using that material to produce a new, high quality product, there is a financial incentive to stop throwing away valuable nylon material. While the exact figure is hard pin down, one report jointly issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN Environment Program (UNEP), estimated that 640,000 tons of abandoned nets are spread across the world’s oceans, representing 10% of ocean trash.

We put a lot of thought into where our fabric comes from and we also put a lot of thought into how it’s going to make our customers look and feel. Texture, shape retention and sweat wicking also play a big part in what we use. We think texture doesn’t get enough credit in sportswear. Just because we might sweat in it doesn’t mean we don’t want to feel great wearing it. We choose fabrics we want to touch and wear again and again.

We are always on the look-out for fabrics we think meet our standards of sustainability and quality. We think recycled fibers represent the best way to reduce the impact of textile production in the active wear space.

 

Made by Free Range Humans

The Oddball.

It’s a little crazy to start a clothing company in Arizona. While like many states, Arizona used to have a nice little garment making industry, those days are long gone. Pattern makers, sewing professionals, fabric cutters, grading and marker making; they're the bones of the clothing industry and these skills begun to disappear with the move by most brands offshore in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Our odd geography has contributed to our vertically integrated structure. From idea to out the door our record is 1 week. We think it, we make it, we put it on-line. We also avoid high inventory levels by producing in smaller quantities. We don’t guess what customers will want in three months. We start by producing a little, if people like what we do sometimes we make more, other times we don’t depending on fabric availability or seasonality.

We actually think Arizona is a great place to make clothing. The already fair wages we pay our staff go further here and we get to make beautiful things in a beautiful place. On our morning commute we get mountains, a cactus or two, stunning sunrises and the occasional coyote. Not bad right?

Keeping It Simple.

E-commerce will always be our primary means of communication and product delivery. It not only helps us sustain things like fair wages, and the higher costs of sustainable fabrics but it's also inherently a more sustainable way of doing business. Emissions are generated during trips to physical stores. There is also the relatively high energy footprint for maintaining the store itself and transporting products to brick and mortar stores from warehouse locations around the country. Our simple model of making our products on-site, retailing and shipping direct out of a single location helps us keep our footprint smaller than similarly sized companies.

Be Kind.

We’ve been big believers in giving back from day one. We think commerce with a conscious isn’t just good PR, it also creates a stronger company. We care about many of the same things our customers care about. We aim to give back 10% of profits to causes focused on sustainability and wildlife preservation. We created our Lobo leggings to help support a local non-profit’s work with injured and displaced wildlife and the Mexican Gray Wolf.

We try to run our workshop well. We recycle (a lot). We recycle the paper used in our dyeing process. We encourage staff to use re-useable water bottles to reduce the need for plastic recycling. We also try to reduce plastic packaging for our web site sales. For almost all of our retail sales we stick to paper with a minimum of 50% recycled content. We’ve selected packaging that can be re-used for returns and exchanges coming back to us and then we recycle that packaging too.

Yoga Democracy Yoga Leggings


Sustainability