In January my best friend Ruth and I had the opportunity to jet off to Iceland for a long weekend. Along with the stunning scenery, waterfalls, hot springs, unpronounceable words, fermented shark, and volcanoes, the weather was cold, the days were short, and the wind was biting!
In preparing for our trip, I found out about Swellas, an outerwear company based in San Francisco. But these aren’t just your average jackets. In the era of more, more, more, faster, faster, faster, Swellas is committed to ethical production, reduced environment impact, fair wages for their employees, AND they are partnered with Operation Warm, which provides brand new winter coats to millions of children living in poverty across the United States.
I think what’s even more amazing is that they keep their price points attainable without sacrificing quality, functionality, and style. The Berryessa Jacket (above) retails for only $95. The Meiss Jacket (below) will keep you warm for $85.
So how do they do ALL these great things? Glad you asked.
Ann Duskus, founder and designer, works closely with their manufacturer to source surplus materials from the SAME production lines as the jackets you’d buy in department stores for 3x the price. I won’t bore you with the manufacturing technicalities that I had to learn in design school, but this allow Swellas to bypass minimum order requirements, which keeps the price low and minimizes the textile waste that would otherwise end up in landfills.
I really love the plaid detail that’s underneath the collar on the Meiss Jacket. This fun little pop of fabric would have ended up being thrown away, but thanks to Swellas, it found new life keeping me fashionably warm at Gulfoss Waterfall!
So, there are a couple of natural side effects that occur because of the way they manufacture. First, it allows their products to be limited edition. If you value wearing something that is unique and not mass-produced, then you’re in luck! Second, in having a lower price point without a ridiculous mark-up, these jackets are more accessible, and not only does that keep more customers warm, it also lets them increase the impact in their partnership with Operation Warm.
And let’s talk about technical side of these jackets. The Berryessa Jacket I’m wearing in the pics below, on a rainy day in Vik and after enduring the ridiculously misty shores of Reynisfjara Beach, is fully lined AND has a wind and water resistant outer shell, keeping my sweater perfectly dry. There is also the thoughtful addition of a zip-up placket underneath the buttons of the outer shell to keep you extra dry and toasty.
It’s been a great privilege to become friends with Ann and be one their first Swellas Ambassadors. We are in a crucial point in history when people either get it or they don’t, or even worse, they ignore it. You can continue to support fast fashion and unethical means of production, where people (real, live human people with souls, families, hopes and dreams) get paid less than $1/day just so you can have a t-shirt for $5, thus perpetuating these injustices, OR you can align yourself with companies who are trying to overhaul the corrupt fashion industry and spend your dollars supporting their efforts.
Me? I’m joyously taking the road of Fashion for Good!
Thank you Ann and Swellas for keeping me warm and my conscious clear during my weekend in Iceland! Thank you Ruth for snapping these photos and capturing the joy that comes with being in Scandinavia! Thank YOU for joining me on my mission of educating and advocating.
Sponsorship disclaimer: As a Swellas Ambassador, these jackets were sent to me to try out, but ALL thoughts and reviews of this wonderful products are my own.