In the spirit of shopping small and celebrating the makers this holiday season, we wanted to spotlight our good friend Elizabeth Hyer of HYER. While we tend to focus on diet, exercise and sustainable beauty at IFF, ethical fashion is no exception. Read below to learn more about HYER, conscious consumerism and how you truly are what you wear.
Elizabeth Hyer (pictured above) on HYER: I started HYER because I was looking to do something that would be a step in the right direction to having a career in this industry. I knew I wanted to use sewing and knitting in some capacity and I went through a number of different ideas about what HYER could be, as a brand. I began with the intention of making accessories, moved to simple silhouettes with hand-dyed fabric, and then selling knitwear. HYER is not currently how I make a living but rather a blog to highlight goods. There was a steep learning curve and I realized that I love (really love) designing and making clothes but I don’t want to manufacture. A year after beginning the business, moving from Macon to Atlanta, and interning for a designer -- I've finalized a small collection of knit basics and am currently searching for a manufacturer to work with.
It is very important to me to be transparent with the whole process. I'd like to be heavily involved and make sure that everything, from the process to the people, are treated well. The entire goal of HYER is to give people another option in the market of ethically-made clothing.
There are many reasons to shop consciously. There is the environmental impact, how much pollution is caused at the hands of the fast fashion industry, and the concern of the treatment of individuals working to make the clothes. It's not unheard of for someone to die because they weren't allowed to leave their workplace to go to the hospital for a serious medical emergency. It's not unheard of for them to be enslaved, underpaid, or not paid at all -- working in conditions that no living being should be subject to. Conscious consumerism is important because we (hopefully) wouldn't stand for that in the western workplace, so we shouldn't stand for it in any other culture.
I have bigger ideas for this collection than just paying my rent. Ultimately, my goal with HYER is to aid in the education of the impact of the garment industry. I'd also like to teach sewing with the patterns I use for my line as well as sell finished garments. Additionally, I'd like to see more collaboration and help other small business owners bring manufacturing a step closer to home.
All photos (c) of Haley Sheffield Photography.