Posted by Unicorn Goods
We recently had the opportunity to chat with one of the founders of Branded Collective, Emily Landham. She and co-founder Lauren Carpenter create organic cotton shirts and recycled cuffs that raise awareness and funds for human trafficking in Nashville.
Emily Landham, co-founder of Branded Collective, Nashville-based ethical fashion company
Q: What led you to be involved in fashion?
A: I have a love of a clothes and a love of wearing things that not only look good and feel good but in their very essence are good.
Q: Why did you want to start an ethical fashion brand?
A: Clothes are fun, but they can also be harmful. We wanted to create clothing that is both fun and ethical.
Q: How did you start Branded Collective?
A: We started Branded Collective after a long hike in the woods talking about dreams. We decided to start something that gave back to victims of human trafficking in our home town of Nashville. With Branded Collective, we wanted to start more than a fashion line - we wanted to create a tribute, a tribe committed to ethical fashion and radical generosity.
Q: Why do you care so much about where materials are sourced from?
A: I care about where materials come from because to choose to not know is to take an enormous ethical risk. There is little transparency in the making of modern day clothes unless you seek it out. When companies are not held accountable for their process, their process often goes awry.
Q: Describe the life cycle of a shirt and bracelet, from raw material origin to the wearer.
A: For our tops, the journey starts on an organic cotton field in Texas. The cotton is harvested and then travels to North Carolina where it is milled into fabric. We then order the fabric and have it shipped to Nashville, where our designers turn it into our shirts by hand. For our jewelry, we order up-cycled American-mined metals from a family-owned company in Arizona. We use this source because we want to keep things as close to home as possible. U.S. companies are held to a labor-law standard we prefer to other overseas companies with less-protected workers.
All Branded Collective products are made by hand in Nashville, Tennessee.
Q: What is your hope with Branded Collective?
A: This year we have very high hopes for Branded Collective. We are retiring the clothing line to focus solely on our BRANDED Collection of cuffs. This collection most directly impacts Nashville’s community of sex-trafficking survivors. In order to deepen our involvement with these young women, we are starting an internship program specifically geared toward helping them gain employment skills. In our internship program, they will receive training on how to make our jewelry and assist in the running of the company.
Q: Describe a single transformative moment that you've had with Branded Collective.
A: The first time I held one of our tops in my hands stands out to me as a transformative moment. There's such a physical and emotional difference between one of our tops and a $6 top from a chain store. You can feel the work, time, and skill that goes into our clothing as opposed to most of the clothes we buy. Cheap and easy on the buyer’s side likely means corruption on the production side.
Q: What is a new favorite brand you're recently discovered on Unicorn Goods?
A: I love Reformation.