It was only when Vanessa Barboni Hallik took a sabbatical from a 15-year career in finance to study sustainable practices within the industry that she began to put more thought into the environmental impact of her own everyday choices. Among the questions she asked herself: “How do I want my clothes to be made?” While she knew people cared about the origins of the food they ate and the products they put on their faces, “I was surprised by how hard it was to come by information” about clothes, she said. Fashion, she realized, was “misaligned with how people were living the rest of their lives.”
Growing up in the small college town of Grinnell, Iowa, Barboni Hallik, 38, was raised in a community that she describes as being at the intersection of academia and the arts. Her father was a sociology professor and her mother was an artist. When she entered the working world, eventually becoming a managing director at Morgan Stanley, Barboni Hallik came to appreciate clothing’s expressive power in a corporate setting, but the question of social responsibility nagged. And so, in 2007, she took time off from her job to pursue a master’s degree in green energy and environmental policy at Columbia University, which kick-started a more than decade-long inquiry into sustainability; she returned to the university in 2019 for a master’s in sustainability management. After studying a range of industries, she decided to focus her energies on fashion, which had, she says, “the biggest disconnect.”
This week, Barboni Hallik launches the result of her years of research: the sustainable fashion brand Another Tomorrow, which debuts with an 18-piece collection sold exclusively on its own website and Matchesfashion.com. Designed by Jane Chung, a former creative director at DKNY, the line consists of double-breasted jackets and wide-legged pants, double-faced merino wool coats and knee-skimming vests, refreshingly simple white T-shirts, crisp shirt-dresses and blouses with jabot ties in a palette that ranges from neutral shades such as black, tan and dusty pink to brighter ones like fire-engine red.
While the pieces are elegantly laid-back, Barboni Hallik emphasizes the brand’s core values above all: Nothing that Another Tomorrow creates can harm either the environment or animals, and its production process must support the makers by providing safe working conditions and living wages. To this end, the collection is made up of only four materials, each with a low environmental impact: organic cotton (sourced from Texas and New Mexico), organic linen (from northern France), wool (from two sheep farms in Tasmania) and FSC-certified viscose (made with wood pulp from Sweden). The brand has also pledged not to use certain animal-derived materials such as leather, horn, skins, silk or down, and has eschewed virgin cashmere because of desertification in Mongolia, where cashmere goats are depleting grasslands, though it plans to introduce recycled cashmere in the fall.
For every material the company uses, Barboni Hallik set up a supply chain that fit with the brand’s principles. For example, she learned that many farmers kill their sheep prematurely based on the belief that the quality of their wool declines as they age. Through a nonprofit organization called Fibershed, Barboni Hallik connected with a farmer in Tasmania who, by feeding her sheep high-quality meals and not overcrowding them, allows them to produce high-quality wool and reach their full life expectancy. (Eventually, Barboni Hallik hopes to buy her own Tasmanian sheep farm in order to achieve scale.) Another Tomorrow’s wool is then woven into custom fabrics in Italian textile mills — which are audited for their safe working conditions and living wages — using processes that follow stringent ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) rules and water-management standards.
Affixed to the label of every Another Tomorrow garment is a scannable QR code that, if a shopper holds their phone camera over it, will direct them to a website explaining where the piece was made and where its materials came from, down to the exact roll of fabric used. “I can’t tell a person what their values should be,” Barboni Hallik says, “but I can provide them with all the information to make that decision themselves.” And, to avoid having Another Tomorrow garments contribute to a wasteful cycle of consumption, she plans to introduce a resale component on the brand’s website, so that customers can sell back their used pieces for others to buy at a reduced cost. “I really think transparency should no longer be optional,” Barboni Hallik says. “It needs to be the new normal.”
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