According to Pareto, women wear only 20% of their wardrobes 80% of the time. This means a lot of what is purchased isn’t worn — adding to the tremendous waste in the fashion industry. The company is fittingly named after the Pareto Principle, which states 80% of consequences come from 20% of actions. By being hyper-vigilant in designing quality pieces that fall into that core 20%, Pareto hopes to create timeless essentials that will last for decades and lessen fashion waste.
In order to figure out what women actually wear, Pareto studied the wardrobe choices of hundreds of women. What they found is that most women felt overwhelmed by the options in their closets and had difficulty figuring out what to wear each day despite having so many choices. As Pareto co-founder Olivia Bordson shared, “We own so much yet wear so little of what we own. In the process of building our wardrobes, we’re forced to sift through hundreds of brands and styles, often leaving us with pieces that don’t fit well, don’t last for long, are based on a fleeting trend, or we don’t know how to style. So many women told us, ‘I wake up in the morning and stare into my jam packed closet yet still feel like I have nothing to wear.’”
Through this research, Pareto also discovered what most women wear on a day-to-day basis is actually pretty similar. Bordson explained, “There is a distinct set of core pieces that many women reach for day after day, year after year, no matter the trends of the season. For example, a well-fitting white t-shirt, a classic denim jacket, an everyday t-shirt dress. Despite this pattern, it takes a lot of time, energy, and money to find the best version of each of these core pieces.” Thus Pareto was born. The company is expanding its offerings one piece at a time while keeping the original items always in stock so women can return and re-order pieces as needed. By perfecting women’s core wardrobes, Pareto hopes to be a brand consumers can rely on for decades to come.
While honing in on women’s core wardrobes is sustainable in itself, the company is also devoted to “farm-to-closet” production where every step of the production process is 100% traceable — a revolutionary act considering most sustainability models only have transparency in the last stage of production when the garments are cut and sewn. In reality, there are more opportunities to embrace sustainability in the earlier steps in manufacturing — from the farming to the spinning, knitting, weaving, and dying of the fabrics. Pareto is ensuring that the production of its garments is truly sustainable every step of the way by working directly with suppliers. And, every part of Pareto’s production process happens in the United States under ethical conditions.
As Bordson shared, “We believe that having a fully traceable supply chain, from farm to closet, is the only way to make the highest quality product (plus a product that is environmentally and socially responsible). For example, at the cotton farm we source long staple cotton fiber to ensure soft fabric and at the dye house we work to ensure high colorfastness so that your product looks just as good after the 50th wash as it does out of the bag.” She also added, “We’ve seen the power of traceability in the food industry with the farm-to-table movement. We’re now on the leading edge of this movement from apparel.”
While Pareto plans to eventually expand its offerings to men’s and children’s clothing, the company is intentionally taking things slowly to perfect each offering with the help of customer feedback. Instead of pumping out large lines, Pareto is focused on getting each piece right before moving on to the next. Since the items will remain available from the company for years to come, this seems like a smart move.
So far, the brand has launched five expertly-crafted pieces: a t-shirt dress, a crewneck sweater, a tank top, a field jacket, and sweatpants. With more to come, this limited-release model is perfect for those wanting to pace themselves in building out a high quality, sustainable wardrobe. And, the pieces pair well with pretty much anything — making them great staples for developing a capsule wardrobe that can be worn multiple ways. For those who’ve been on a quest for truly sustainable and ethically-made clothing, Pareto is the real deal.