LA-based label Industry of All Nations works with producers in seven countries to produce goods that adhere to strict sustainability and ethical standards and help preserve culture and tradition.
With all the factory tragedies, overseas garment production has gotten a (sometimes very well-deserved) bad reputation. However, there are companies out there who are doing it right.
Based in Los Angeles, Industry of All Nations (I.O.A.N.) was founded in 2010 by three Argentinian brothers: Juan, Fernando, and Patricio Gerscovish. Envisioned as a contemporary lifestyle brand, I.O.A.N. combines the simplicity of good design with iconic styles of clothing and accessories from all across the world. With their new business model, the brothers set out to rethink how clothing can be manufactured and decided that they would bring manufacturing back to the regions where products and materials originate, bringing unique local businesses opportunity to an international market.
With design and manufacturing in seven different countries (Argentina, Bolivia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, and the U.S.) the company keeps close personal relationships with local factory owners and regional producers to ensure that it’s all done ethically. This commitment to sustainability and ethical production means that I.O.A.N. products have a slightly higher price point, but that’s a small price to pay to ensure that we are not contributing to environmental degradation or the suffering of fellow humans. The video below gives you a nice look into how I.O.A.N.’s batik line is made.
Industry of all Nations searched the world for iconic, timeless design — products and garments that would suit modern tastes and could be brought to market without alteration. The manufacturing is developed in collaboration with local communities around the world, sometimes creating new designs by combining traditional craft with innovative industrial processes.
I.O.A.N. tailors Rajad, Muthuel & Keerthi in Madras Batik shirts, part of the Clean Clothes Project in South East India.
Besides unsafe factory condition, garment workers are often subjected to harmful chemicals used for textile coloring and treatment. To address this and make clothing in the cleanest way possible, I.O.A.N. teamed up with a group of manufacturers in the South of India to start the Clean Clothes Project. Local craftspeople use 100 percent Indian organic cotton, all natural dyes, water and biodegradable soap for dyeing and finishing. This not only ensures that you’re not wearing anything toxic against our skin, it also contributes to cleaner rivers, oceans, soil and air for everybody.
Through this project, men and women of this area are provided local employment (which means they don’t have to leave their communities in search of work) and opportunities to keep their traditions alive and further the cultural progress of natural dyeing. The colors of the shirts come from elements in nature: black from iron, blue from the Indigoferia Tinctoria plant and red from the Rubia Cardofilia plant. The varying color hues depend on how many times the shirt is dipped into the dye —the light hue is a 2-dip dye, while the darkest is a 12-dip dye.
After dyeing, Clean Clothes are hang on bamboo poles to dry out.
I.O.A.N.’s Batik garments are made using a traditional block print wax resist dyeing technique, where melted wax is pressed onto a light Madras fabric and a series of nails on a wooden block stamp are used to create unique patterns in the material. After being dipped in the natural dye bath and a hot water wash, the wax dissolves and leaves behind natural ecru patterns in organically derived shades of indigo, yellow and shellac (depending on the color of the dye used).
For their sustainable denim line, I.O.A.N. has partnered with a natural dye house in the Southeast Indian province of Tamil Nadu. No petrochemicals, heavy metal dyes or chemical washes are used. Instead, the denim fabric is tinted with 100 percent natural dyes derived from plants and beetle resins. Local artisans use traditional foot-treadle looms to weave the naturally dyed organic cotton into bolts of clean selvedge denim that are then shipped to LA for cutting and sewing.
The brand’s Kenyatas sneakers are made from all natural materials in a Kenyan factory that employs more than 1,000 people in Mombasa. I.O.A.N.’s espadrilles are modeled on a classic shape designed in Brazil in the 1800s. They’re collapsible, which means they pack flat and ship efficiently, and will biodegrade completely after they’re reached the end of their useful life.
“In this modern time it is so easy and in everybody’s hands to do most anything, so the most important thing should be how we do these things. We aim to not negatively affect those around us and to provide opportunities to anyone who is out there working locally and well. We work together to develop clean and more sustainable industries around the world. We use all this to create products with the most simple and desirable aesthetic. This is the industry of the people, the Industry of All Nations” – The I.O.A.N. Team
Seeing brands that have joined the global movement for sustainable and ethical production, gives us hope for the future of fashion. Find Industry of all Nations of the brand’s web shop and at leading department stores and specialty boutiques around the globe.
Photos courtesy of Industry of All Nations