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Turning leather waste into quality goods: Dana Cohen on founding her brand, HYER GOODS
Dana Cohen, the amazing founder of HYER GOODS, opens up about what made her create her own brand, what is sustainability and reveals a hard truth about sustainable fashion
Dana Cohen was a designer in the fashion industry for over a decade, the same decade that saw the rise of fast fashion. She watched the industry change before her eyes; and suddenly, she found herself in a job that just didn’t align with her values. Therefore, she left in 2018, determined to do something better, something that didn’t sacrifice people or the planet.
1 year later, HYER GOODS was born
“There is not an exact moment that made me shift into sustainable fashion. Rather, I was always passionate about it. At my first job, I developed a rainwear fabric made from recycled plastic bottles (in 2008– before it was trendy!).
But it wasn’t until I found myself working for a big box fast fashion retailer that I realized the severity of the problems the fashion industry was creating. The sheer amount of product we created, coupled by the fact that didn’t resonate with customers and ended up on sale racks- and who knows where after that- was unsustainable. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back” Dana explains
After witnessing the internal workings of a fast fashion company, I could no longer be complicit and had to devote myself to doing things better
At HYER GOODS our goal is to keep quality materials in circulation and out of landfills by giving new life to leftover leathers – and also other materials of course.
12-15% of materials are wasted in the fashion manufacturing process alone. We exist to keep those materials in circulation by transforming them into cute new things. But we don’t stop there– when a HYER GOODS item is no longer bringing you joy, you can sell it directly to our customers, keeping it in circulation even longer. Eventually, we’d love to be able to dismantle and recycle the components at the end of the bag’s life.
Unlike most brands, we use waste as a resource. No new leathers are created for the brand!
Dana proceeds and reveals an hard truth on sustainable fashion:
“Vegan” does not equal “sustainable”. It ONLY means animal free
“I worked in the leather industry for a long time. Back in the day we called it faux leather or polyurethane. Really it’s just a fancy marketing term (greenwashing) for plastic. Even today’s innovations in vegan leather, like apple leather, pineapple leather or even mushroom leather, though better than traditional vegan leather because of their bio-based components, still usually contain 30-50% plastic binders and backings. They don’t wear well over time, making their lifespan short, and the plastic means they won’t degrade in a landfill and instead will likely remain there for thousands of years, leaching micro-plastics in the process” she explains.
If I could wear only an outfit for the rest of my life…
“It would be a simple cropped T-Shirt, high waisted straight jeans and a mini shoulder bag” she concludes.
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