Sustainable Fashion with House of ZZ

Apr 13, 2022

Did you know that the fashion industry is one of the top polluters in the world? We discuss with the Rizzutis, founders of House of ZZ swimwear, and what can be done about it.

Show Notes:


Pretty ok (not great) transcript:

[00:00:00] Jess: A topic we haven’t touched on quite yet here at mostly green life is the fashion industry and the impact that it has on the.

There’s been some conflicting information out there as to whether fashion is the second, third, fourth, or even eighth, most polluting industry on the planet. But regardless of where it falls, global consumption rates of apparel have grown dramatically over the. Today we have Morgan and Michael co-founders of house of ZZ, a sustainable swimwear brand that prioritizes the use of recycled fabrics, as well as fair trade ethical manufacturing.

And maybe one of my most favorite things is that they’re a local Austin brand. As about you started digging into the fashion and swimwear industry, what were some of the numbers that stood out to you guys and really motivated you to make something good out of house of

[00:00:43] Morgan Rizzuti: CC? So I think what you mentioned the.

Researching it being the number two, number three, you see it all over two different numbers. Two years

[00:00:51] Jess: ago. It was number two earlier today. I was doing some more digging and it was like number four, five. I was like, this

[00:00:56] Morgan Rizzuti: is changing my script. Right. Okay. But no matter what, it’s somewhere in the top 10.

Right. So, which is absolutely. But what got me into even the fashion area was the sustainability aspect of how just this swim products could be made with a recycled fat are recycled plastic for something. On the Euro, something we’ve already put there and we’re not creating new. Um, so when I decided to go this route, this more creative route, um, I originally wanted to do like a, um, online boutique type thing.

Um, and then once we started researching manufacturers for that, I started seeing the sustainability coming up, like sustainable swim manufacturers out here in Bali. And I was like, well, this is interesting that isn’t even. An area I thought I wanted to go into, but it really, really caught my attention. I think I’m like the biggest water bug on the planet.

Like I just want to live on a shack on the beach for the rest of my life until that day comes. I’ll just keep talking about it. Um, but not really struck a chord with me. Um, just seeing what. Could be done with that. And the more we, once I saw that I was started just going down the rabbit hole of like, what even is a recycled fabric.

Um, what does that mean? Cause you hear it, you see it everywhere, like, oh, made eco, uh, it’s recycled, but like how does that work? Just seeing how it could be done and how really easy and fun it would be. And relating to me as a person, I was like, cool, let’s go. Let’s do this.

[00:02:36] Mason: Nice. Yeah. Yeah. Did you get to see the manufacturing process?

[00:02:40] Morgan Rizzuti: So we were actually, um, We had already planned a trip to Southeast Asia. So we were going to Thailand. Um, and this is about the time that I was, uh, researching all of this, like trying to find the new career path and all that. And what year was this? This was 20 18, 20 18 coming up on 2019, I believe. Yeah.

And with this manufacturer that we really kind of caught our eyes on. Um, they were in Bali, so we were like, well, we’re already going to be on that side of the world. So if we’re going to try this, like, let’s go check it out. Because overseas manufacturing, I think it gets a really bad rep when you think, you know, it’s made in China and India, everything’s super exploited and.

Just like sweat shops, low quality. So we were like, okay, if they’re really claiming all of this, like we have to go see it, especially if we’re making a business out of it and make sure it’s really who they say they are, what they’re say, they’re doing all of that. So there’s someone at that. Yeah. Like, is anyone home?

Yeah, please. So we went to go see it and it was so cute. We got to go meet everyone at the factory and it was super small. Um, and that’s what led us up to because the whole aspect of slow fashion being better fashion. Okay. So small batch. It was quote unquote family run. I think it was a little bit bigger than family run, but you get the picture.

Um, and grapes, like mid vacation. Yeah. We were like, well business and believe me, we explored Bali as much as we could while we were there. We’re like, we’ll just take a day trip to the factory. Okay.

But yeah, no, it was, it was really neat to see just everybody actually working, you know, it wasn’t staged, it wasn’t set up, it wasn’t awkward or weird. They were like, yeah, they’re doing their thing. Here’s what we’re doing. Here’s quality control. You know, they get, um, breaks, lunches, you know, paid holidays, all that.

So when that checked out, I was like, okay, I have no. Touch to designed in my life, but this is cool. I’m interested. Let’s give it a shot. Like you have it,

[00:04:49] Jess: you had an eye for it, but you hadn’t actually like design

[00:04:52] Morgan Rizzuti: classes. I didn’t know. None of that. My degree was in history, like please. And, um, I think that’s been a huge learning curve too.

Like figuring out how to put things together, um, and have them come to life, but it’s been thrilling. I will say.

[00:05:10] Jess: That sounds like a lot of fun to be able to do that design is, I mean, you have to keep up with the trends. So I feel like that can be pretty challenging. I imagine if you’re new to design or new to any of that,

[00:05:21] Morgan Rizzuti: it sounds fun.

Yeah. That’s tough too, because there’s always someone, you know, out with the next and with us doing slow fashion, you know, Definitely. Do you have the urge to like, oh, I, you know, we got to have something that’s new and fresh and on trend, but the whole point of this is to have good lasting pieces that you can use over and over again, fit for purpose.


[00:05:42] Jess: yeah, I have several left. Yeah. I was searching, I guess it was two years ago when I learned about the industry or the fashion industry and how bad it was. And I was needing a new swimsuit. And so I was looking or searching for sustainable swimwear. And then I decided to also just type in Austin in Google search.

And that’s how I found you guys.

[00:05:59] Morgan Rizzuti: Amazing. I think the Google search works.

[00:06:03] Jess: So the last three swimsuits I’ve purchased, they’ve all been house. It was easy. Absolutely love it. Um, so to get back to some of the materials, the three most common that are used in swimwear, and I think they’re pretty prevalent in apparel in general are, um, nylon, polyester and neoprene.

Can you help us understand? Where those materials come from and then why they’re bad for the

[00:06:24] Morgan Rizzuti: environment. Yes. So all three you just mentioned. Um, and I think those are the most, yeah. I mean, you could tell me too, I work with like the one that’s like the recycled button, which is a recycled nylon. Um, but yeah, polyester as well.

We were looking this up today. Um, so polyester is like the second most, um, Sorry, I’m saying that wrong. It’s like polyester is the second up there with a plastic production next to packaging. Oh really? Yes. So, and it has surpassed, uh, popularity, um, or surpass cotton in popularity as far as like what your clothes are built out of.

So over 60% of clothing that we all wear today is made of some form of plastic, which is wild to me. Like

[00:07:12] Mason: it used to just be the. The leisure suit.

[00:07:16] Morgan Rizzuti: That’s what they, they just gotten better at it. Everything with stretch, right. Everything was stretched and durability. Um, so it’s, they’re awesome that we’ve come to make something that can last long.

Um, but at the end of the day, it’s a petroleum product. So it is everywhere. And if we’re producing more and more, I mean, it’s just crazy. And I think what we could. Do a way better job at sourcing fabrics. Like we use like a recycled nylon, that’s using something that’s already there. So we’re collecting the plastics.

We’re collecting ghost fishing nets. Uh, they’re collecting, uh, pre-consumer plastics. So like everything that’s industrial waste, um, stuff that never reaches the consumer, but is used to make your products. So just every day, all of that coming out is a wild number to think about as far as like pollution goes and what is made from oil and gas.

So we like to think that like, you know, the big argument, stop oil again. You know, drive electric cars. It’s not just your cars, it’s everything in our house. It’s everything we’re wearing. It’s just, it’s so beyond what we can comprehend and that’s what makes it so hard. So yeah, back to the fabrics, the, uh, polyester, the nylon, um, and then the neoprene, we use the, the nylon and it’s like a 78% recycled.

Nylon a part that goes in there. And then the rest of the is the elastane

[00:08:46] Mason: we know there. So other, we learned from a prior guests that plastics have a limited amount of recyclability. Like you can only do it so many times is nylon like that.

[00:08:57] Morgan Rizzuti: Or so, um, the one that we use is our, the yarn company that we use is called Econo.

Um, and they, uh, they claim that there’s can be. Infinitely recycled. Wow. So the way they redo it now, I mean, I’m not sure if it does have a stopping point, it would make sense that eventually something comes to end of life. Um, but no, they claim that it can be completely circular, which I think is wild and

[00:09:26] Michael Rizzuti: the process is pretty cool.

Yeah. Basically, as Morgan was saying that they do do a lot of the ghost fishing, like the ghost nets that are hanging in the ocean, they do do the ocean cleanup. And whenever they do get all this plastic, all this, and then they’re trying to recycle, right. They do heat it back down, create it back into like nylon pellets again, which then gets turned into like, they break it down to the Rawls form and then spin it back into yarn and then go through the actual circle again.

So it’s very cool. Super neat. Yeah. And I do believe they use the. Uh, one of the other fabrics is the straight from plastic bottles.

[00:10:00] Morgan Rizzuti: Yeah. Yeah. So there’s plenty popping up, which is amazing. Like the more the merrier, I hope that they become more available just to, you know, the common producer, but, um, you can pick different ones, uh, made of different things.

Yeah. Yeah.

[00:10:15] Jess: Do you guys know where most of the innovation is coming from? Is there a lot here in the U S I know you guys are sourcing it from Bali. And so these processes, and I mean, I would say Bali and, you know, places like that, they’re the ones that. I guess they’re seeing all the plastic pollution and the ones that are affected by the plastic pollution.

So they may feel more so, more inclined to change that or to make

[00:10:35] Morgan Rizzuti: something out of it. Yeah, for sure. Um, no, especially with like when we went to go visit, uh, Thailand, do you remember Bangkok seeing the river in Bangkok? I mean, it was just like filled with trash. It goes, I was in awe and I actually, when I started this, I had.

Close to me, tell me, you know, we were talking about plastics problem. And um, she said, oh, well, it’s not us. It’s mostly just, you know, overseas making all this pollution. And I’m like, where are we buying everything from? It’s all coming. We’re, you know, we’re buying these products, we’re putting our dollar, you know, towards that.

And that’s what’s happening and don’t act like it’s not here just because you’re not seeing it. You know what I mean? It was

[00:11:17] Michael Rizzuti: the claims of the United States like shipping.

[00:11:22] Morgan Rizzuti: All of our plastic, we sell it to other countries and then it ends up there. So

[00:11:27] Michael Rizzuti: I’ll just ship it back there.

[00:11:29] Mason: And then China stopped taking it.

So then we were dumping on other countries. They had to stop taking it because it was creating crises. Everywhere went, I think right now it’s like Turkey and somewhere else. I personally think plastic pollution is the most important emergency we have on this.

[00:11:44] Morgan Rizzuti: It’s crazy. And that just goes back to the innovation question where it’s mostly happening.

Um, we see a lot of the, um, I think one of the reprieve is actually an American fabric that’s made here. That’s the one that’s made with the heard of that. Yeah. The plastic bottles, um, or pet plastics. Um, a lot of it though. Um, so like economies, the yarn we use, um, Carvalho makes the actual fabrics out of the yarn.

Um, and they’re in Italy. Um, but even you see like these certifications for, you know, the eco dies, um, just sustainability, um, things in general, uh, they’re more European standards that we’re adapting to. This is not here. I’m sure there’s plenty here. I’m joking. But I see more coming from over there.

[00:12:32] Jess: We are.

Well-versed in certifications for food, for food. I’m sure, but not so much for the fashion industry. So that’s something that’s a learning, not a learning curve, but something that I’m trying to get more

[00:12:43] Morgan Rizzuti: earlier with, because there is no standard, like there is no official, like, do you meet this mark? You get a green check mark.

So like these different certifications are coming out yet, but. As far as nationwide goes or even globally, like nobody’s on the same level as far as what we’re seeing. So

[00:13:02] Mason: that’s a complex issue. Sure. Not to one thing to not completely bash, maybe these materials, what are yoga pants made out of?

[00:13:11] Morgan Rizzuti: So, yeah, you’re going to see that with the, with the nylon

[00:13:15] Mason: polyester changed the world,

[00:13:17] Morgan Rizzuti: they did.

Yeah. So like, that’s, that’s another thing that you can see your, most of your clothing being made of plastics. So

[00:13:26] Mason: we need recycled nylon,

[00:13:27] Morgan Rizzuti: yoga pants. We all need to be walking around and like bamboo pain.

That’d be more sustainable. Yeah. Right.

[00:13:39] Mason: Um, so when I, when just talk to me about sustainability in the fashion industry, the only thing that I had ever even heard of from clothes was that crazy story about putting flame-retardant on baby clothes. It created deformities in the seventies. And it was this whole debacle that took like 20 years until they stopped putting

[00:14:01] Jess: it was good intentions.

They’d sure if the fire, I mean, if the house caught on fire, they didn’t want

[00:14:06] Morgan Rizzuti: the baby to catch on fire. So your baby wouldn’t catch on fire, but just, I guess, where he had clothes on

[00:14:13] Mason: arms and head was still burned, but oh,

[00:14:16] Morgan Rizzuti: I did not know this

[00:14:17] Michael Rizzuti: in my previous career. The petroleum engineering out of college, right.

At a funny, now that they’re a sustainable fashion extremity

[00:14:25] Mason: as a chemical engineer. So it’s the same

[00:14:27] Michael Rizzuti: and I’m with it. Right. But we would going back to the fire retardant, right? Working, offshore, working on the rigs, we would have to wear, you know, fire retardant, all jeans, coveralls, you know, every, everything you put your hands in your head, right.

But it comes out. So, you know, you spend the money, you get the work wear, right. And then after three washes, the fire retardant is gone

[00:14:50] Mason: neglected, but most of it’s probably absorbed into your body already.

[00:14:56] Michael Rizzuti: Well, you’re going to wash it before you wear it. And by the time you get it on, it’s actually gone.

[00:15:01] Morgan Rizzuti: That’s wild though. I did not know that was even a thing

[00:15:04] Mason: and they doused the airplanes with it. So I always wear long sleeves when I travel because you’ll. Absorb those chemicals and you can get them tests that, and there’ll be elevated. And your blood from getting on an airplane.

[00:15:15] Jess: Every time we come home, he’s very good at it.

And diligent takes his clothes off, throws him the dirty clothes and I’m so tired and lazy from like the airplane ride. I’m like, uh, ah, but now I’m going to get all these chemicals

[00:15:27] Michael Rizzuti: do it. Yeah.

[00:15:29] Morgan Rizzuti: Yeah.

[00:15:31] Jess: The reason of his story, I guess the question is, do you know if there’s chemicals that are sprayed or put on clothing or materials or fabrics in traditional manufacturing

[00:15:42] Morgan Rizzuti: facilities?

Yeah, for sure. Like when you think about, um, like even the dyes, um, so we’ve created these, uh, harmful dyes also use the word harmful. I mean the most commonly used, right? Because they’re cheap, they’re easy to make. They’re the most successful. Um, and that’s another thing we’ve looked at in production too.

Like the, uh, the dyes that actually get, I think it’s oh, ecotechs yeah, those certifications, meaning like it’s not harmful. Um, it, uh, was sourced sustainably and socially. Like, correct. I’m missing the word for that, but yeah. Yeah, yeah. Um, so source, well, but I definitely know, I don’t know a lot of specifics on what’s put in it as far as like treatment when they’re making it, like before it gets to the die stage.

But, um, I mean I’m sure.

[00:16:30] Michael Rizzuti: Yeah. And there’s a big thing between like the water-based thing too, for the guys. Right. So you might have like a. You know, a petroleum product or something, you know, because there, we did make some, I think we ran into that when we were making the t-shirts right to give them stamp, like one of the, one of the local Austin shops that we used, they, um, they prided themselves on using the water-based.

For the stamps. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s when we started like, oh, that’s a thing.

[00:17:01] Morgan Rizzuti: The more and more every day, like even what’s on a tag, like what was used to print that? I mean, it’s just, it goes beyond, but yeah, rabbit hole,

[00:17:10] Mason: because I still make us wash all of our clothes before we wear them when they come home and just hates it.

Like, I don’t know, what’s been on.

[00:17:20] Jess: Yeah, it’s frustrating. Cause I’m excited to wear them out. I’m like, I don’t wanna put them through a load of laundry and have to wait however long, however long it takes me to do that

[00:17:27] Morgan Rizzuti: load of laundry. Right. Mine sit there for a while. So I’m like, Hmm. Okay. Yeah, no, I’m a straight out of the bag person.

[00:17:39] Jess: Which questions should we ask next?

[00:17:42] Mason: Um, so I. You studied history in college, you’re a petroleum engineer. You probably got some context, but how did the industry get to such a bad place with the chemicals and the polyester and just all the, um, you know, synthetics,

[00:18:06] Morgan Rizzuti: I think that it comes down to convenience, right?

Um, like think back in the day, But I mean like that, like

[00:18:14] Mason: cotton and wool, like exactly,

[00:18:17] Michael Rizzuti: but also think of a heart of is to like actually spin cotton. Like it’s a very labor intensive process and it’s very taxing to the environment in itself

[00:18:26] Morgan Rizzuti: as well. Yeah. And technology it’s like technology being a beautiful thing, but sometimes it goes too far or sometimes not in the direction that we want it to go in, not what it was created for.

Um, So I think like, yeah, back in the day, I mean, everything used to be locally made. You didn’t have to go far to get it. And most of your materials came back to like 18. I’m telling you the fact that yeah, right. Yeah. But yeah, everything was was right there. So I think when technology came about and we were able to produce more population started growing.

I mean, how do you produce for a massive people that have now, you know, it’s coming out of the woodwork. So as that got easier, of course, production got bigger. How can we make this cheaper? What can we use? What’s the easiest way. Nobody really thought about environment. All this time up until now in these past 10 years, nobody’s been questioning, you know, oh, I think this might be bad for the environment.

Right. Until now we’re starting to see the effects from it. Nobody within the industry. Yeah. I mean, if you’re making money, you’re, you’re wanting to know how little can I spend and how much can I make. So to answer that, I think it’s just, it keeps going down the line. It’s like a snowball effect. Right, right.

Um, but yeah, everything made from, from the plastics and like what comes from the oil and gas industry. That’s wild to me. Like it’s just, it’s everywhere. It’s so much. I don’t know.

[00:19:51] Mason: Yeah. I guess all the, you know, the hippies and the environmentalist are still just wearing cotton

[00:19:58] Michael Rizzuti: out. Right.

[00:20:01] Mason: I have a lot of joggers and I love the new materials that seems like have been invented.

And just in the last

[00:20:07] Morgan Rizzuti: several years, like tech, you’re like, wow, like this is cool. Moisture-wicking sign me up. Yeah.

[00:20:14] Michael Rizzuti: I think there’s a monster, like scalability to the petrochemical side of it, too. Right. To like, From like the manufacturing level and the different uses are like, of course they’re going to use that because it is easier.

Right. There’s multiple uses for it. And they’re just, they just need yarn here at Combs, right. Shipment ever.

[00:20:32] Morgan Rizzuti: Um, and also things lasting longer. I mean, if you’re going to buy something and you’re going to. 20 times like a pair of Lulu lemon, yoga pants. Like I’ve had some for almost three years and I mean the cotton last

[00:20:45] Mason: forever.

Yeah. Yeah. But there are no cotton yoga pants.

[00:20:51] Morgan Rizzuti: I don’t know if I would appreciate. Yeah.

[00:20:53] Jess: I don’t think they’d be yoga pants.

[00:20:55] Morgan Rizzuti: I mean, they wouldn’t, they be body they’d be skinny jeans and they just.

[00:21:02] Mason: Then it’s not really yoga anymore.

[00:21:05] Morgan Rizzuti: Just sit around.

[00:21:08] Jess: Uh, what do you guys think are the biggest challenges for the industry to move more towards sustainability?

So you guys are practicing what you preach,

[00:21:16] Morgan Rizzuti: but right. We’re starting with it, which is different than being a big corporation and having to now backtrack. Um, I think that’s hard for a lot of that. Big players to swallow. I don’t think it’s that hard to do in the grand scheme of things. Um, but I think that.

You know, it increases your cost. Something that is, is well-made and it’s made, right. It’s going to be more expensive and that’s unfortunate. And that just from the

[00:21:48] Mason: materials or the labor

[00:21:50] Morgan Rizzuti: materials, labor processes, everything. Yeah. Yeah. So if you think about that kind of leads into like fast fashion, right.

And like why it’s so detrimental, their game is to their whole business model is built on making these, uh, Cheaply made articles that aren’t meant to last, they are in with the trends and then they’re out. Um, and that’s the model to keep you coming back for more whatever’s in, is in, and then it cycles out they make something new.

Um, what I don’t get on why, like some of these big corporations won’t make changes as I was reading, uh, last week on how. They won’t donate all the excess that they make. They just burn it as to not dilute the brand, which to me is so wild and like looking up the stats on. What percentage of people, um, throw away clothes instead of donating?

I think it’s like 80% of clothes get thrown away. Yeah. I read

[00:22:57] Jess: something like that recently, too, as well. About 50. I don’t remember the exact number.

[00:23:01] Morgan Rizzuti: It’s insane. It’s like, uh, some article was saying it was like a truckload or a ton of, um, uh, Clothes are being burned like every second around the world. Oh, it was

[00:23:14] Michael Rizzuti: 2000 pieces

[00:23:16] Morgan Rizzuti: articles.

That’s like, yeah,

[00:23:18] Mason: every second being burned. And then there’s a mountain in Chile being formed by close. Have y’all heard about that?

[00:23:26] Morgan Rizzuti: Close

[00:23:26] Mason: mountain? Yeah, they’re just dumping clothes in a desert and it’s forming an actual mountain.

[00:23:32] Morgan Rizzuti: That’s what I just, I don’t understand. Like I feel guilty. Pair of socks away that has like holes in the bottom.

I’m like, I’m like, can I give this to Goodwill? That’s so rude.

[00:23:43] Jess: I go, what do I do with this? I don’t throw it away, but there’s um, yeah, terrorist cycles. You’ve got a box. I mean, they have a box for clothing, but they also have an everything box. And so we have one. We’re too lazy

[00:23:54] Mason: for the individual boxes. I

[00:23:57] Jess: mean, it’d be, it would take a long time to fill a whole box individual things.

So the everything boxes is

[00:24:03] Michael Rizzuti: way more well things and like socks go here, shoes go

[00:24:06] Jess: there. Or you can buy it for individual use cases. So like schools can buy it for like pens and markers. So they do have

[00:24:13] Morgan Rizzuti: individual there’s

[00:24:14] Mason: like clothing. You wouldn’t have to separate the

[00:24:16] Jess: clothing. Oh yeah. So there’d be one for clothing.

[00:24:19] Mason: Understood. But then our everything box, we just it’s electronic. Clothing, everything that everything, yeah. Everything aside from household hazardous waste

[00:24:30] Morgan Rizzuti: can go in there. No, that’s really, really neat. Just for like home stuff. Yeah. Taking tips for my own Homeland and it still

[00:24:37] Mason: does take awhile. I mean, they’re not cheap that everything box, I think $200, the one that we get, but it takes three to four months to fill up.

So. Yeah. You feel a lot. I feel a lot better, especially with cords and things all in there, and it’s

[00:24:52] Morgan Rizzuti: stuff you feel bad throwing away. And you’re like, I know I shouldn’t put this here. I can’t recycle it, but I don’t know where to take it. Not convenient for me to put it anywhere.

[00:24:59] Jess: Right. And you’re like, it’s two items.

I don’t know if I’m going to drive somewhere to

[00:25:01] Morgan Rizzuti: take this like 16 miles to go. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I

[00:25:05] Mason: understand. And so fabrics is one of the things, the old socks. Then they take those and repurpose.

[00:25:10] Morgan Rizzuti: That’s awesome. Yeah, that is the full circle. That’s how everything,

[00:25:16] Mason: maybe also to launch a take back program, you can send

[00:25:18] Morgan Rizzuti: them to.

Yeah. So I was reading up on that as well. Um, so econ, all the recycled yarn has a take-back initiatives with, um, bigger brands. Like I think Speedo uses their materials. So like their swimwear they’ll take. Redo it again, I think like even Gucci was doing it, which was cool. Yeah. But, um, no, yeah, they’ve got a lot going on controversial, but yeah.

Um, but no, I think that’s super important too. Um, like realizing what we can start over again, just in daily use, you know? So

[00:25:52] Jess: yeah. Do you guys have a short list of materials or. Uh, stores that you would say to avoid at all costs in terms of their practices.

[00:26:03] Morgan Rizzuti: That’s hard because there’s like, nothing’s perfect.

Right. But when you’re looking at like the fast fashion brands, that’s the first thing that my head goes to. I mean, if you’re seeing a company that’s coming out with, you know, 200 new styles every month that. Something that you probably should look elsewhere,

[00:26:25] Mason: which all I can think of in that category is old Navy.

Like what else is there?

[00:26:32] Jess: Uh, there’s a lot of, I mean, I would say they’re targeted towards women. And so, I mean, we get, I get ads all of the time for so many fast fashion brands that you probably don’t see. They don’t come across your Instagram feed. Um,

[00:26:44] Michael Rizzuti: the good one is the, my favorites, like the forever 21. So like wild. You know, it’s wedding, it’s been wedding season for us for like the past, like eight years.

[00:26:56] Morgan Rizzuti: They don’t stop. I love my friends. They don’t

[00:26:58] Michael Rizzuti: stop, but like in order for someone to get like a nice dress, they haven’t quote unquote, nice. Right. Do this. But to like go to that wedding or something that they don’t want to wear something they wore last time. Right. They’re going to go. You know, what a $40 dress fit.

I don’t, I don’t know the price point, but they’re not going to wear it again. Yeah. They’re not going to go and spend the money to get, you know, cause they’re worried about wearing the dress twice and that’s, it’s so

[00:27:23] Morgan Rizzuti: tough to see. Driver of all of this too. Um, going back to like why we’ve gotten to this production level, think about where we are today.

Um, as far as like on a technology level, like smartphones, right? We’re in the Instagram age, we’re in the influencer age, everything is. Instant gratification. Now, now, now I have seven seconds before I lose interest in whatever I’m looking at. Um, and not wearing things twice. Like, oh, I, I posted a photo on that, which it sounds silly, but it’s so real for a lot of, a lot of people, especially.

Guys don’t care. They’ll wear things until there’s holes tonight. Whatever. No, he yells at me. Please take me shopping. I’m like, you would take yourself shopping, but upgraded my style. Okay.

[00:28:13] Mason: You need to step up.

[00:28:16] Morgan Rizzuti: Um, but yeah, I definitely think that’s a big driver too, because it’s just like more, more, more.

And I think us, um, as individuals, like what we can be doing. To your question, like who should we be looking to stay away from? It’s really like changing how you interact as a buyer. You know, if you’re gonna buy from a fast fashion brand. I mean, like I have on czar right now, like of course they’re one of the biggest, you know, controversial ones out there, but.

If I need something, I’m going to go down and get it, of course, out of convenience, but I’m going to wear that. I mean, I’m going to buy a staple piece and I’m going to wear it at least 20, 30 times. It’ll sit there for three years. Believe me. My closet’s like it’s awful.

[00:28:58] Mason: Um, well the whole core of our mostly gray, like we are it’s okay.

And we do plenty of things that aren’t the best for the

[00:29:06] Morgan Rizzuti: environment, but it’s realistic, right? Like you can’t just shove it in someone’s face. No, you have to do this and you have to buy everything brown and granola. And now you can’t because someone will just shut you off so quick. So it’s all about introducing.

Little habits that, you know, we can be at least thinking about, have the conversation, you know, what’s out there, what’s going on. At least be aware of it. Keep it in the back of your mind when you are shopping. Um, am I going to use this again? Will I throw it away please? Don’t but like, you know what I mean?

Like it’s stuff like that. So I don’t think we should just boycott them altogether. Realistically, it’s not going to work. So just you guys just gotta slow down and look at it a little bit closer, be curious. And I think some

[00:29:52] Michael Rizzuti: of the bigger brands are doing like set the initiatives, right. You know, by 2030, it, whatever that means.

Right. But you know, if I was going to go somewhere, I would probably lean towards the one that at least. Is advertising that they’re taking a step in the right direction.

[00:30:06] Jess: Yeah. Yeah. And I find that interesting because I do feel like greenwashing gets such a bad rap.

[00:30:13] Morgan Rizzuti: I was asked to bring that up,

[00:30:14] Jess: but I don’t know.

I feel like I kind of have this thought towards it where, I mean, yes, greenwashing is bad, but the bigger brands that are making negative impacts on the environment due to their production, What they’re using and they are trying to go into a better direction. I feel like they’re getting a bad rap for doing that because it seems like greenwashing because it’s not enough.

And they’re only a small amount of products that they’re thinking thoughtfully about, but at the same time, it’s kind of a good thing that they’re actually headed

[00:30:41] Morgan Rizzuti: that way. It’s like thinking about it on the horizon.

[00:30:44] Jess: I guess there’s a difference between companies greenwashing that are just saying things that are false.

Right. And so I guess my question to you guys maybe is, is greenwash. Companies that are trying to make small initiatives, but they’re not doing enough. And they’re misleading consumers, or is it brands that are totally false advertising?

[00:31:04] Mason: Are there apparel brands that have complete false advertising or because Levi’s is doing real, they’re recycling their jeans and reselling recycled jeans.

So there are companies doing real plastic water and all that, but how prevalent is greenwashing in the fashion industry?

[00:31:19] Morgan Rizzuti: I feel like it’s definitely there and a lot of. Companies are starting to it’s like jumping on a bandwagon, right? Like, oh, just say it’s eco say it’s sustainably made. And then they bring you to a page that says nothing and it’s just like, made with recycled.

It’s like, okay. But yeah, when

[00:31:37] Mason: it meets the margin,

[00:31:39] Jess: 2% is

[00:31:40] Morgan Rizzuti: recycled or no.

[00:31:41] Michael Rizzuti: Your fabrics might be like, your articles might be sustainable, you know, recycled clothing, but like, where’s your manufacturing? Like, where’s your supply

[00:31:48] Morgan Rizzuti: chain? What’s the other half. I think there’s two.

[00:31:51] Michael Rizzuti: Are you sending me a recycled materials and a plastic bag,

[00:31:54] Morgan Rizzuti: right?

Like, oh yeah.

[00:31:55] Jess: And you guys, the way that y’all send your product, it’s like, it’s so heartwarming to me. Cause when we get product sent here, that’s like the one thing. I wouldn’t say scrutinized companies on necessarily, but if it’s not sent in sustainable packaging or recyclable packaging,

[00:32:09] Mason: I’m

[00:32:09] Jess: proud of you.

And I send you. Brain or the product or brand that you guys use to send your packaging in. I’ve sent that to other products and I’m like, yeah, there’s stuff out there, guys. There’s stuff

[00:32:21] Morgan Rizzuti: out there. There is anywhere.

[00:32:23] Mason: It’s a hero,

[00:32:24] Morgan Rizzuti: right. It’s so accessible and it’s affordable. Is it? That’s what I thought

[00:32:28] Jess: maybe was not the case.

If people aren’t doing it,

[00:32:31] Morgan Rizzuti: I haven’t looked into the price. Yes. So that’s what I don’t. As far as like, you’re so huge and you can’t change this one little thing, because if you guys saw how much plastic just comes in packaging, like during production, like what’s even coming from your manufacturer, God knows what’s going to them before it gets there.

Right. But like it is every individual piece. It is those pieces in another plastic, in another plastic, in a box that’s wrapped in more plastic. I mean, it is insane. So that was another thing with ours. Like they started sending. Our products wrapped in these, uh, cassava bags and tapioca. Yeah. Yeah. It depends on which one they use, but yeah, it’s really neat to see.

And like that biodegrades, I mean, as soon as the ones that we use, we almost ran into a problem because the ones that sit on the shelf too long, they started actually pulling apart, coming apart. And I was like, wow, they aren’t lying. They really come apart. I mean, after a while, yeah. I was like time for new stuff, but yeah.

Um, it’s, it’s. Wild to see like little things like that. So I think if the company’s only doing a little and people are just really ripping them apart, I don’t think that’s right either. I think it’s nice to be able to check people and be like, well, what about this? But we can’t just outright like grab him by the throat and be like, you’re not enough.

And then go buy from someone else. Who’s not doing anything like that. Doesn’t make sense. So I think there’s arguments on both sides. Are you fully sustainable? Can you really claim that? Or are you making an effort? And if you are making an effort, it should be rewarded. It should

[00:34:07] Mason: be. Yeah. And if they can see that, that actually helps their revenue and their bottom line, then they’ll do

[00:34:13] Morgan Rizzuti: more.

Right? Yeah. But it’s just, it’s hard for us as consumers to decipher what we’re looking at. Even when we go to a website, it comes back to like not having a standard. Uh, it’s just, it’s hard. So you can’t just tell people like do it right? Because

[00:34:29] Mason: yeah. Well, it’s funny. Last week we had a guests on that. They have a browser extension app and a whole team that is researching whether companies are actually sustainable or not.

Yeah. That’s what

[00:34:41] Morgan Rizzuti: we need. We just think someone who just powerhouse tell us what’s what

[00:34:45] Jess: they’re starting to in personal care. So it’s like deodorants or laundry, toilet papers are

[00:34:50] Morgan Rizzuti: where they’re starting. Uh, consumers, we use all of that all day, like even switching to natural deodorant, like learning about metals, like, okay.

Wow. Yeah, I remember that. That’s

[00:35:02] Mason: cool. Do I want aluminum or do I want to smell like petrouli used to be that the only option, but now they’ve gotten a lot better. Jessica is still, I don’t think has found a natural deodorant and she

[00:35:12] Jess: likes,

[00:35:13] Morgan Rizzuti: oh, I like humankind. It’s so hard.

[00:35:15] Jess: I mean, Like it doesn’t

[00:35:18] Morgan Rizzuti: do the job as well.

[00:35:20] Jess: I don’t think I’m ever going to find one that does the job. It’s just not natural to do the job really

[00:35:25] Morgan Rizzuti: well. Now he stinks all the

[00:35:27] Michael Rizzuti: time. Yeah. But like, I think there’s like a, a waning period. Like, you know, you gotta like get used to having the natural deodorant. I think once you make this a quick switch,

[00:35:37] Morgan Rizzuti: like yeah.

Yeah. But even like, I think another big point to bring up, especially. Sustainability as its own industry as well. Like the natural deodorant native, like $13 for a thing. Like how is it? I hate that it’s a privilege to get, to do things cleaner. Like that to me is really wild and it goes back to buying any type of clothes.

I mean, you’re going to go get what you can afford, right? You’re not going to go. $300 on a pair of remade, redone jeans. So not every pair of jeans out there, but I also think like with it becoming more popular, hopefully we get to a place. We can start scaling things differently and just cut out the moneymaking part and like make it accessible for people to have stuff that doesn’t cost us everything.


[00:36:29] Michael Rizzuti: Normalized buying sustainable because it’s in the normal price range of an article

[00:36:34] Mason: and all of that, but yeah. Yeah. Make it where you don’t have to sacrifice anything. And so, you know, a good, I would say. A good start in that is food. And you see that in food a lot, because a lot of organic things are now very, I have price parity with conventional and it’s because it is growing in that way.

And so hopefully every industry. We can move back in that direction and overall things, you know, probably be a little bit more expensive because we’re paying for it now on the backside, you know, the earth is paying for

[00:37:08] Morgan Rizzuti: it’s paying for it on the backside. I told him this was food all the time. I’m like, well, I’d rather pay for an organic bill at the grocery store than pay for 10 thousands of dollars in medical bills later down the line, literally.

Yeah. So not even with us. You know the costs with the planet as well. Like if you’re paying for it somehow you just might see it in different ways, depending on who you are. Yeah.

[00:37:34] Mason: So from an apparel perspective, what are some ways our listeners to mostly grain could be more conscious consumers,

[00:37:43] Morgan Rizzuti: conscious consumers.

It takes work. It takes thinking a little bit extra. Um, I think. Doing a deep dive on every online website you’re buying from isn’t practical, but you can look a little further. You can be at least have your ear open for like who’s doing things, you know, trying to do things the right way, who is not making an effort at all.

Um, and just that whole thing is like going back to slowing down. Like we don’t have to have it all. We don’t have to have it now. Um, so just kind of stepping back, but we’re all going to need things. We’re not going to stop needing things. Um, so I think it’s just about putting a little more thought into what we’re looking at.

Um, and if you go on a website, like a lot of times, if they are doing things right, they’re going to talk. They are going to send you to a whole page of it. If you order a product, just like you said, and it doesn’t come in, you know, the, the, uh, sustainable packaging it’s like, okay, well, you could have done this.

So it’s just picking up little things like that. It’s not saying you have to trash someone for doing one thing wrong. Or completely buy from one company just because they’re doing everything right. It’s a mix of things. I think it’s like the whole plastic straw argument, you know, ban all the straws and it’ll fix everything.

Like it just, yeah. It’s baby steps. It’s just kind of keeping your eyes and ears open. I think.

[00:39:08] Jess: Awesome. Well, this was a really amazing and informative and fun episode. We’ve got one more question.

[00:39:16] Mason: Uh, I guess actually two more. The Baden suits look amazing on Jessica. What goes into the design process? How do you

[00:39:24] Morgan Rizzuti: get questions? So, uh, this was another thing that attracted me to my manufacturer when we started, because they, me having no design background, like not knowing what the hell I’m doing.

Um, They have a such in that helps people with, uh, creating tech packs and creating, uh, the patterns. Um, and then they’ll make a sample, send it to you. So it’s kind of like a full circle kind of development process. Um, which was cool. So when I first started, I was literally like drawing. Pictures of the pencil and they were so bad.

I look back on some of them now I’m like, why is this not put them on the wall? Yeah, I really, I really need to, I’m like, remember when girl you remember, but, um, no, you, yeah, you draw it out. Um, they’ll help you bring up numbers. And eventually I learned how to, you know, make measurements, once you start getting things, right.

You’re like, I liked this. I liked that. Um, I would even find. Tops or like parts of like shirts. Like I like these strings. I like how this crosses. So it’s kind of like making, have you ever made a mood board? Yeah. So it’s kind of like doing that on a more detailed level for one thing, but like the first samples we made, I think we tried like what, like four times to get them.

I mean, and this is like spend a couple weeks. Thinking about it, then they spend a couple of weeks putting it altogether, making the sample. Then it’s got to ship from Indonesia. Then you got to try it out, make your cuts and then go back. So that took like the first question. Yeah. Couple of things. And I was like, wow, this is crazy.

This is a lot. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I will tell you, like, Google’s a powerful tool. You can figure it out. It amazes me how many people. Self-taught these days and like, I’m like, what did I go get a history degree for it? Lord knows. So talk about clothing in the 18 hundreds. That was my moment I’m done.

But, um, no, it, it, it was a lot to learn, but it was really fun. So it continues trial and error process, but it’s

[00:41:28] Jess: as we were researching or looking into the company and I don’t know if we need it. Part of it, but it’s like, you just get mesmerized with your Instagram feed. And then like Mason found himself.

He was like, oh, I’m sorry. I just got distracted by all these bikinis. And I was like, that happened to me three times today. And he was setting up, he could see my computer screen and he was like, Jessica, you ready yet? Or what are you doing? And I was like, did she just catch me just scrolling

[00:41:49] Morgan Rizzuti: through this?

Okay. Just looking. I swear him. I came home one day and we use this. Beautiful model for one of our shoots, we had a good friend of ours from California, do the shoot and he, um, just did amazing work. But Michael opened his computer one day. And this girl, this isn’t a little phone bikini. It was his background.

And I’m like, I know I’m like, it’s my phone. Literally. I need to go away. I don’t know. It’s cool to make the imagery to, cause what we’re trying to do with that is like, Really sell the lifestyle to like, make you feel a certain type of way when you go on there and almost get lost in it. Want to be a part of it.

So it’s, that’s been like fun too, but yeah, Instagram. Oh yeah. Social hard socials. Like, yeah. Contents really fun. He loves it.

[00:42:39] Mason: I mean, we’d love to get involved in the content anytime.

[00:42:42] Morgan Rizzuti: Come on, come on.

[00:42:45] Michael Rizzuti: I don’t know. It’s just cool to see like, Morgan does put out like mood boards to, Hey, this is like the vision I’m going for, like in these photo shoots or whatnot, like to see someone else’s spin on it.

We were not there for the shoots. Right. So when all this comes back

[00:43:00] Morgan Rizzuti: with during COVID, we’ve just spent like, do your, you know, that’s been an issue too. Yeah. I’m

[00:43:04] Jess: sure that was hard and upsetting to not get to be part of.

[00:43:08] Morgan Rizzuti: Yeah. Kind of, I mean, it’s, it’s, we could be doing so much or we could have been doing so much with it now it’s coming back to life really.

Um, but I’m kind of one of those that. I give people a lot of creative freedom to like, especially with photographers and like, you go do your own thing because your best work is going to come through when you’re doing something that you. Yeah. And it’s just, it is always worked out. So it feels cool. So that’s, that’s the most fun part, I think.

Yeah. All of that stuff.

[00:43:37] Mason: And when they sleep with the models, right. The photographers, that’s how they make the best content.

[00:43:44] Morgan Rizzuti: Yeah. All in line.

[00:43:51] Mason: I feel like I, I ticked on something. If you have there been photographers,

[00:43:55] Morgan Rizzuti: that’s a big thing in the industry of like, not it happening. I think people are now starting to be more outspoken about like creepy photographers. Yeah. Like ours, we, his, uh, his name’s Sean. Um, and he’s really big on like, he’ll do like Q and A’s on his, um, Instagram and people ask like, who’s the hottest model?

Dude, these people are just like genetically blessed. I am here to photograph, like from an art perspective, quit asking me creepy questions. You’re blocked by which I think is awesome. But yeah, there’s a lot of like, just. I don’t know when people see it, that’s where their head goes. Right? Like, I mean, even

[00:44:34] Mason: just, we want to do yes, but like which photographers are creepy and which ones are not

[00:44:42] Morgan Rizzuti: the best

[00:44:42] Jess: photographers are probably going to be women photographers.

They can still be creepy in a way, but

[00:44:48] Morgan Rizzuti: I mean, yeah, , it would be way less creepy. I did my, I encourage you to do it. It was so much. So I know she’s in Houston, but I used one of my like best friends who happened to be getting in for two photography. And I had like three glasses of wine before. So half the pictures were like, I’m like, yeah, yeah.

Oh my God. Oh, I was relaxed. Like it was, it was part of it, but I would definitely recommend someone that’s like, meet them first. Talk to them, see if you get any weird vibes and then have a glass of wine and that fine. No, I totally

[00:45:26] Mason: get, so I have one last question. So we’re, I always like to end, we’re excited with the changes that y’all are trying to affect in the fashion industry.

Like what’s your, what’s your vision for the industry? What is it?

[00:45:40] Morgan Rizzuti: I hope that it just scales down. I hope that we it’s. Another thing that we’re coming to is like from the Kylie Jenner saying it’s the year of realizing things, but really we’re starting to realize what impact this stuff is having. Um, so I just hope there’s more regulation that comes into place that downscale is this how that comes about.

I have no idea. I really hope that more consumers just start making. Conscious choices because it’s like, it’s like voting with your money, right? Like if we’re putting it towards certain things, it’s gonna catch on. Um, but it has to happen on a bigger scale, um, more than just, you know, two or three little small companies out here, which is it’s more than that, but you get what I’m saying.

Um, so yeah, I just, I hope. Starts to even out. I hope that sustainability starts to become more affordable, to be honest with you. Um, that’s a big thing for me, like me as a shopper, like I make these things, but I still buy other bikinis and looking at something that’s like $150 for a pair of bottoms.

You’re like, Physically, I need two pieces I need, but I need both. Yeah. So it’s just stuff like that. Um, as long as along with like eating too foods, healthy foods, everything, just scaling back down to a level that we can all attain. Um, of course this is like big dreaming. Um, I don’t know if it’ll happen in our short, next few years, but, um, I don’t know on the horizons, hopefully just a scale back and cool.

[00:47:17] Mason: Anything to add to that, Michael,

[00:47:18] Michael Rizzuti: I think more so on like the manufacturing side, right? Like treat people. Right. You know, if you’ve got to pay a premium to do it, that’s fine. Like if you’re, I think we’ve harped on it a lot today. It’s just like, it’s not only doing, providing like a recycled product or a sustainable product.

It’s like, how can you take this like full life cycle and affect it from like the

[00:47:39] Morgan Rizzuti: ground up? Yeah. So ethics are huge. And I don’t think how much. Uh, I don’t think we realize how much is going on behind the scenes. Um, but it even happens here in the U S like factories and in California and New York, um, like some have been caught paying their workers, like $4 with like what in the U S so it don’t don’t think that it can’t happen.

Um, and like the big brands, how fast fashion and other, uh, problem in that industry is like, they have so many. Negotiating power. They have the resources to make sure that these overseas factories like are at least built to code or at least safe. Um, what was the one and, uh, Bangladesh, I don’t know how many years ago, but 52 workers died because a fire started and the door was illegally locked from the inside.

Because of something that just tripped, blew up whatever, like it’s stuff that’s preventable from a big corporation level. And like, you can look at how these people are being treated stop and playing sweat shops, just because it’s cheaper, stuff like that. So it all has to happen. Like whenever someone’s willing to make the change at a higher level.


[00:48:49] Mason: Yeah. All right. Well, thanks for being on the show. Yeah.

[00:48:55] Morgan Rizzuti: Thanks for happiness. This is awesome.


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