Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren DeCarli and Eric Till.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lauren and Eric. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I moved out to Los Angeles from Long Island, NY at 17 to attend FIDM, studying fashion design. I landed my first and only internship in my second year at FIDM at a great womenswear brand and continued to work full time for the brand for ten years, working my way up to Senior Designer. Designing in the fashion industry for ten years was an incredible experience, but I was also able to see first hand how wasteful, polluting and unsustainable the fashion industry can be. For instance, ~85% of clothing in the world is destined to wind up in a landfill or burned, resulting in over 40 million metric tons of wasted textiles every year (roughly one truckload of clothes every second), and less than 1% is recycled into creating new clothes. I was inspired to create a better alternative: producing slow fashion clothing that I would want to wear, made the way it should be, and designed to be worn not just for one season, but year after year.
I believe you shouldn’t have to compromise fashion & style for sustainability and I know that sustainability does not stop with the products and must include all the people involved. I founded Paneros in 2019 with the idea of creating new pieces from materials that already existed, and promise to always select smarter, high-quality fabrics, to always balance on trend styles with quality craftsmanship, and to ensure each piece is ethically made. I believe I can inspire others to live up to these same core values and help transform our customers into conscious consumers. Eric, my fiancé, joined me in April of this year and has been working on a lot of the behind the scenes aspects of the business.
Has it been a smooth road?
I applaud any entrepreneur that has a smooth road when starting their business! Starting a business is never easy and especially when you are launching during a pandemic. Even in the pre-COVID world, things were not easy. I founded Paneros in 2019 and had worked for months developing the new women’s ready to wear line that was due to launch in April 2020. Then COVID happened and it continues to disrupt everyone’s lives, and my heart goes out to everyone who has been impacted or lost a loved one. We are actually donating a portion of proceeds to the CDC Foundation to do our part to beat this pandemic. The lockdowns have also delayed production schedules and eliminated any opportunities for us to interact face to face with our customers. Rather than giving up, Eric and I are trying to meet the challenge head on and provide customers with an ethical and sustainable brand they can look to for clothing they want to wear and that makes them feel good – whether that is working from home, or taking a much needed day trip to one of our fabulous beaches (social distancing of course).
We believe that the world will be a new place coming out of COVID, and we hope if there is any silver lining that people will not take things for granted and that as consumers we will take a deeper look at what we are doing in the world and how we can do our part to come together and heal while building a more sustainable future. Having an ethical, sustainable brand is a challenge in itself because it’s harder to find the right manufacturers that align with your values, that produce responsibly, and that will produce small quantities, not to mention sourcing sustainable materials. I try to use deadstock (leftover) fabrics as much as possible which means sometimes there’s only 16 yards of a print left and I can only make three dresses, but I think that’s what makes the garments so much more special than a mass-produced dress. I can see that the fashion industry is trying to offer more sustainable choices now in terms of fabrics and trims and manufacturing, which makes me hopeful that having a brand like Paneros won’t be as challenging in the future and it will become the new norm to be an ethical and responsible brand.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
We combined the ancient Greek words ‘pan’ meaning “all” and ‘eros’ meaning “the love” to form our brand name, Paneros. It’s important for our brand name to have meaning and for us to live up to it. Paneros is a sustainable clothing brand which only offers ethically created, limited edition clothing. Our debut products in 2019 were handcrafted one-of-a-kind upcycled vintage Hawaiian shirts and bucket hats. These products are sourced, hand tie dyed and hand-beaded in Los Angeles. The beaded shirts take about 8-10 hours to complete and are a labor of love. In June 2020, we launched our limited edition women’s ready to wear line that is ethically manufactured in Indonesia. The women’s line uses deadstock and stock fabrics made from eco-friendly fibers, and because we are on a slow fashion calendar, we are not beholden to all of the waste and mass production to fulfill retailer demands. Our 5 part circularity ethos includes: selecting smarter materials, responsible manufacturing, choosing quality over quantity, minimizing waste, and minimizing pollution. In a nutshell, we are trying to create a fashion model that encourages re-use, while minimizing the amount of clothing that winds up in a landfill or incinerated because it won’t biodegrade. As an example, every year 500,000 metric tons of microplastics are released into the water and environment through the washing and use of synthetic clothing such as polyester. These plastics don’t biodegrade and can wind up being eaten by animals – including humans.
At Paneros, we promise to never use fully synthetic fibers to help do our part to reduce microplastic pollution and plastic consumption in general. I’m also really proud to feature the men and women behind the product and tell their story. I believe it’s important to have that connection to the people that are hand making the clothes and to remember that there are many people behind the clothes you wear. For the beaded styles, which are all done by hand, the women work from home so that they can still take care of their families and do not need to move from their villages in order to make an income. Every bead is picked up individually with a needle and sewn on by hand, one by one. The women that create these special pieces have a ton of patience and passion for the work they do. We love to support these artisans which help keep traditional knowledge and skills alive. As a brand, we think it’s important to be transparent and real with our consumers. We know we’re not perfect and strive to become better each day.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I grew up in New York and moved out to Los Angeles to attend FIDM, and my fiancé and co-founder went to UCLA. We love this city and can’t imagine being anywhere else- no matter where we visit, we always call LA home. I think LA is a great place to start a business because it has a lot of culture and places and things to be inspired from… and quite a few resources (creative and financial) to help you get started.
- Website: https://panerosclothing.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/panerosclothing
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/panerosclothing
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Panerosclothing
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/PanerosClothing
Product Images: Chris Chandler, Sewing Workshop Image: Fabio Lorenzo