Story and Photos by Miranda McDonald
Two years ago, Sellersburg resident Amanda Dougherty founded The New Blak, a local, eco-friendly clothing brand, with the idea that fashion can not only be created locally with sustainable fabrics, but that it can also be used as a tool to support, encourage and empower women.
“I launched my business to help spark a fashion revolution,” she said.
Each piece of clothing is handmade in the company’s personal studio space at Oxmoor Mall in Louisville by a group of women that Dougherty affectionately calls her “girl gang. We provide a very different experience… . When a customer comes into the store, they have the opportunity to meet the fashion designer and company owner, and speak with the stylists. They are also introduced to the team of seamstresses,” she said. “We want to unveil the idea that fashion doesn’t have to be an automated manufacturing process. It is a personal experience between a seamstress and the cloth itself.”
The Cost of ‘Fast Fashion’
Dougherty noticed that this personal experience and the connection customers have with the clothing they buy was completely lost when she worked in retail management for several years. She was so astounded by how quickly trendy clothing was being produced and the low price point that it was being sold at that she decided to research garment factories.
Daugherty soon realized workers in many of these establishments are exploited in order to produce poorly-made garments that are created with materials that are also harmful to the environment. In fact, she discovered that these materials are so harmful they contribute to making the fashion industry the second most damaging industry to the planet.
It was after this realization that Dougherty decided to make it her mission to help spread the word about the true cost of what’s known as “fast fashion,” and be one of the clothing brands that is striving to use eco-friendly materials.
“It can take polyester up to 200 years to break down in the environment. With the rate that we buy, throwaway and repeat, we will eventually be completely over-crowded by fast-fashion waste,” Dougherty said.
So, the designer decided to use bamboo when constructing each of the garments for The New Blak. The material is anti-microbial, helps regulate body heat and has a four-way stretch that makes each piece extremely comfortable to wear.
Start Small, Think Big
Although Dougherty is part of a global initiative that is working to eradicate fast fashion, she understands the impact starting on a local level can truly have. She plans to collaborate with local manufacturers and expand her business concept over the next several years.
“We know this cannot happen overnight. Opening the shop in Oxmoor Mall was just the first step in the fashion revolution. We hope to eventually collaborate with other companies, and build up Louisville and Southern Indiana as a self-sustaining fashion hub.”
Heather Rous Weeks
Tees and dresses created by The New Blak
Jewelry provided by Bloomed Roots, Oak
and Olive Jewelry, Darling Handmades and
Wood If I Could, all of which is available at
The New Blak
The New Blak
7900 Shelbyville Road inside Oxmoor Mall
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