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As shoppers, we’re all becoming more aware of the downsides of fast fashion: the environmental degradation, the labor issues. Shopping from ethical brands seems to be one answer, but it can be difficult—if not impossible—to understand what it means when a company claims to be “sustainable.” Ana Kannan, the founder of the luxury e-commerce platform TOWARD, has come up with her own solution.
Kannan’s upbringing inspired her passion for sustainability. Her car seats were pleather, her whole family was vegetarian, and her mother always emphasized keeping clothes in your closet for as long as possible. She went to the University of Southern California to study STEM, but when she took a class on sustainability in fashion, her mental wheels began to turn.
“I found myself asking questions,” Kannan explained, “like what percent of [a brand’s] supply chain do they really trace? Are these materials really certified responsible? What stops a brand from lying? And I realized that there needed to be a kind of a space where brands could be independently vetted, and consumers could trust that these brands were really responsible.”
She created TOWARD to tackle this mission. On the website, TOWARD’s clothes offer a delicate balance of earth tones and more modern hues—think elegant slip dresses, wide-legged trousers, and puffy pastel baby bags. The digital store has tabs labeled “Clothing,” “Shoes,” and “Bags & Accessories” like any shopping platform, but it also provides consumers with a “Responsibility” tab, outlining what sustainability means to the company. Kannan says that for her, the term “responsibility” extends so much further than simply sustainable branding. “It really refers to the holistic impact of every element