ishi stories

  • taking stock, making good

    The end of the year is a time to poke our heads out, take stock, and reflect on all we have accomplished together.

    taking stock. photo by: ADIMAY

    Thanks to you, in 2015 ishi vest

    • provided fair-trade wages
    • created near-zero waste products
    • designed exclusively with organic fabric
    • used only natural dyes (chemical-free)

    Due to our natural dye process, each ishi vest recycles 462 gallons of water, saves on 12 ounces of chemical waste, and slashes 88 pounds of Co2 emission, according to our production partners. Wow!

    This year, with vests alone, we’ve saved 101,442 gallons of water -- compared to standard practices*. W00t.

    But we didn’t stop at vests. 

    the ishi lookbook In 2015 we introduced fair trade, organic, and natural-dye small-batch scarves in an infinity style -- complete with a snazzy pocket. All in all, we introduced 11 new designs -- and a Lookbook to make them easy to wear, courtesy of photographer Sara Faraj (see left)

    We also created new partnerships and opportunities to spread the word about ethical fashion! Our online collaborations included fashion blogger Adimay, Salts Organic Clothing, and Lawrence Braun of Couple of Dudes.


    Our store partners in 2015 include Artillery Apparel Gallery (SF), Ten Thousand Villages (Evanston), Yoga International (online), and Himalayan Institute (Philly). We love that ishi-istas can now try on ishi in person, all while supporting mission-driven storefronts.

    Speaking of spreading the word, the ishi team was thrilled to spread the ethical fashion bug though WBEZ, RedEye, Chicago Ideas, and the Chicago Tribune this year.

    ishi vest on the Chicago Tribune!

    We also got all tingly re-reading your #ishiselfies stories -- like this winning caption, from our springtime contest:

    "My appreciation for my #ishivest #ishiscarf and #fairtrade practices stem from my own #History/#Herstory as the daughter and granddaughter of share croppers. My father grew up picking cotton on a plantation alongside my grandmother on land not belonging to them. They worked from sunup to sundown, earning a mere 3.00/100 lbs. of cotton. My Dad picked roughly 300 lbs. a day, earning 9.00 towards books, household expenses, and his weekend recreation of choice. As a youth my Father was denied a complete primary education, and made to pick cotton until he left the South and my Grandmother behind at the age of 15. To see workers earn a living wage, and consumers live sustainably in a way that helps instead of harms our planet is most surely, #necessary."

    Wow... just wow.

    As this story reminds us, our vision in founding ishi was to create a business rooted in core principles of sustainability -- grounded in concern for people and the planet. Because of this, our work is in part to highlight the good work of our partners, amazing non-profits and NGO’s who are making the world better every day.

    Know great work we should support? Speak up! Leave a comment with a link to your favorite organizations on our ishi Facebook community pageWhile ishi is still a tiny shop, we are excited to inVEST a full 10% of our 2016 profits in the 2 NGO’s our community cares most about. If you’ve ever purchased ishi, know that we are working hard to make good on your inVESTment. 

    Here’s to the year ahead, and to taking stock!

    *How did we get that number? Glad you asked: around 2000 liters of water is used to dye one vest if done with chemical / typical vest. Chemical dyeing uses a lot of acid - our vests dont. In 2015 we sold: estimated at around 192 vests to customers online and via our partnership with the 4 whole sale partners. 192 x 2000 liters = 384000 liters or 101,442 gallons saved. WOW!

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