I started Kámen Road to create the perfectly sized carry-on bag. Traveling with one bag for 30 days is my personal mission. In the process of sourcing the right natural materials, I discovered an innovation here that is not often talked about, and that is an alternative supply chain called the Fibershed – a domestic supply chain of small farm producers that work regionally within a 300-mile radius. These farmers are the real change makers, producing wool for textiles and leather for our bags and accessories.
Imagine the impact if shoppers and investors could provide the capital to support small farm production for our clothes and the bags that we carry. It’s possible to create fashion that benefits the climate. Look at what Patagonia did through the vision and work of former CEO Rose Mercario who led most of this strategy.
One main tenet of her legacy is the shift from using sustainability as mere branding to holding it at the root of the company structure, and at the forefront of every decision. Indeed, a main focus became soil health, a focus that provides longevity for the company and the earth, simultaneously.
Through Fibershed, we have a guide through the soil-to-soil cycle, which helps Kámen Road to figure out how we create better ecological balance, in the goods that we make and the goods that we buy to celebrate our love of style and the natural environment.
In September, we will release two new bags with leather sourced for a farm using regenerative farming practices and the leather tanned from Pergamena out of the Hudson Valley Fibershed.
How raw materials are created and can be purchased regionally is what Fibershed offers to all of us. Take a look at what is already possible through the Fibershed Marketplace.
The Northern California Fibershed by definition is a community network of farmers, ranchers, designers, sewers, weavers, knitters, felters, spinners, mill owners and natural dyers living and working within nineteen counties in the North and Central regions of California.
These producers are challenged to work within the holistic sustainable “soil-to-soil” framework, a cycle that recycles the materials back into the land they came from. A diagram from their website is featured below.
Fibershed is a return to a style of farming that works with the earth, rather than against it. It is a process that allows clothing materials to be composted back to the land they came from, thus regenerating more nutrient soil and allowing the production process to continue. For every material taken, there is something given back.
As a member of Fibershed – we can get closer to making sustainable change by sourcing from small farms. Our next step is to create a carbon offset program that contributes to Fibershed’s Carbon Farm Fund. Research and development is going on right now at Kámen Road.
Fibershed producers can be at the heart of our fashion as farmers are to our food.
We are two years early in our goal to produce 50% of our goods through Fibershed because of the commitment and work of the community’s farmers and artisans. We are grateful to this regional and national community of independent farmers and artisans who weave the fibers into fabrics that we can test and purchase for our collections.
This is just the beginning.
Research and co-writing by Hannah Fishlow
Hannah is a rising senior at UC Berkeley, majoring in Media Studies with a concentration in creative writing. Throughout college, she has developed a passion for public policy, activism, and film; her goal is to be able to merge her creative and academic pursuits and continue to create engaging storytelling for social impact. She also formerly competed as a Division I student-athlete on the cross country/track team; when she is not running you can find her hiking with friends, heading to the beach, or rewatching her favorite movies over and over again.