Meet Jenny, ABLE Denim designer. Pull up a chair and listen in on our conversation about why ABLE Denim is different and how Jenny's position with ABLE has empowered her.
What does the ABLE mission mean to you?
Working in fashion and having traveled to factories around the world, I have long felt a tension of how the fashion industry currently works and how I wish it were different. For me, the ABLE mission means that I am joining a movement to change the problem of factory workers being underpaid around the world.
How do you feel empowered in your job position?
I am empowered by working in my position by being on the front-lines of the solution instead of the problem. I am empowered to think creatively about how to improve and uplift our partners, as opposed to squeezing out of them every cost-saving we can get (which is what most companies do!). As a mother, I am empowered to love my two boys in the way that best fits our family while working for a company that supports me. ABLE truly supports women both locally and globally, and I am thankful to be one of the local employees that is empowered and encouraged to work at a job I love.
What makes ABLE denim different than other denim?
From a style point of view, I am confident that our denim fits, fabrics and washes are really well done. I have a background in both a large high end company, and a luxury denim company, and I have been able to bring both of these sides of my design set into play with designing our denim. From a manufacturing point of view, we have partnered with a manufacturer that we believe will grow with us and our mission. The woman on the sewing line are who the washes are named after, and our main account leader is an incredible woman and mother. The relationships behind the product are what make our denim special. And I want everyone to start thinking of their clothes that way- relational, human.
Why did you choose to work with our denim factory?
I have worked with this factory in both of my previous jobs, I have loved them so much I've brought them with me to ABLE! I like that they are a factory based in a small town in Mexico and that the workers are all local and can commute home to their families. In so many countries, workers actually live on campus and do not go home to their families but rather sleep in dorms on site. So, it means a lot to me that Monty is based in an area where people can be with their families and build their own local community. Monty takes care of their workers above what the minimum requirements are. They pay 30% over the minimum wage because they want their people to have more comfortable lives. They provide housing loans, car loans, and other emergency loans at 0% interest. The mood of the workers at the factory is personable and people are interactive and friendly. At other, less healthy, factories I have been to the mood is quite dark and I can't even get anyone to make eye contact with me. So it means a lot to me that when I travel to our factory, whoever we interact with greets us with a smile and an easy laugh. We will be continuing to grow with our denim partner and will be publishing more in depth interviews and audits over the next several months, so stay on the lookout!
Can you tell us a bit more about how the denim is made?
We use primarily Cone Denim Mills, which is one of the oldest and leading American denim mills. We use denim from the Mexico mill, so that the carbon footprint is lower and fabric can be shipped easily to our factory. They are leaders in denim technology development and we are thrilled with their product. In New York City, I develop all the fits with a patternmaker based locally and we work closely together on the shape of each and every seam on every fit. She is an absolute artist and I am so fortunate to have such a talented patternmaking partner!
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