I have become increasingly more cognizant of the values of the brands with which I work, and seek to work with those that align with my own values. Prior to writing this post and more broadly, prior to wearing anything from Brass and agreeing to work with the brand, I researched it. I directed my attention to a page on the Brass website that calls out what they are doing to be more diligent in their values and immediately I was taken back.
Nearly a decade ago, I finished my first Master’s degree in Historic Preservation and began my second Master’s degree in Real Estate Development. I was impressed with the University of Maryland’s program, not only because it lived in the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and I loved the interdisciplinary approach, but also because the UMd M.R.E.D. program focuses on the quadruple bottom line. The quadruple bottom line being economic viability (monetary profit), environmental respect (sustainability), social responsibility (equity for others and you and me), and beautiful design (#aesthetics), as opposed to the outdated approach of sole monetary profit.
Whether Brass knows it or not, and I suspect that on some level that they do, the brand is taking the same quadruple bottom line approach that the University of Maryland Master’s of Real Estate Development does, per the topics addressed on the aforementioned page.
- Economic vitality goes without saying. Brass was established in 2014 and not only are they still alive and kicking, but thriving and expanding. More on that last bit below.
- Brass encourages its audience to shop less and wear what is already in their closets more. Perhaps we all don’t need that new skirt of the moment or bamboo basket bag of last summer? Invest in staples that can be worn in a multitude of ways for a multitude of occasions and before you know it, you will already have mastered level one of style sustainability. (Full disclosure: I am working on mastering this in perpetuity. Follow my Shopping Moratorium 2018 series to see how things are *really* going.)
- The social angle works on two levels with Brass.
- First, and most importantly, 85% of the Brass products are produced in a Hangzhou factory and the knits are produced in a Shanghai factory. Both factories not only are located in the highest minimum wage zones in China, but also supply a living wage to their employees. Brass pays a visit to these factories between twice and thrice a year and has plans to take more control of the supply chain.
- Second, Brass recognizes that women come in every size and every height. They have made massive strides in providing sizing not only for me (as a 6′-2″ woman) but also my sister-in-law (a much more “standard” heighted yet super slim woman) and my best friend (a petite lady with modest [I call it classic] taste). Allow me, at this point, to mention that Brass has recently released the Essential Dress and the A-Line Dress in tall / long sizing. This is in addition to the already long lengths that is already offered in pants. Also exciting? In early 2019, expect to see styles available in sizes 16, 18, and 20. Like I said, equity for you and me (and my sister-in-law and best friend and your sister-in-law and your best friend).
- Did you really want to talk about aesthetics or as the quadruple bottom line refers to it, beautiful design? Take another gander at the LBD above and the navy dress below. Yes, the designs are beautiful but even more meaningful, I felt beautiful in them. Crossing my fingers that the Social Dress is available in long this holiday season because I want to straight dominate the Pennsylvania Ballet Nutcracker Young Friends reception in it!
black dress (also available in navy and heather gray and white [marked down]) // navy dress (also available in black)