Driving Sustainable Innovation in Fashion: AlphaFund’s Interview with Tomo

AlphaFund: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today, Greg. For our readers who may not be familiar, can you give us a quick overview of Tomo and what you’re building?

Greg: Absolutely. Tomo is a technology company focused on driving sustainability in the fashion industry. Our core product is a digital platform that connects fashion brands with a global network of vetted, eco-friendly material suppliers and ethical manufacturers.

We’re essentially creating a more transparent and sustainable supply chain by giving brands direct access to vendors and suppliers who meet rigorous environmental and ethical standards. This allows brands to make more informed sourcing decisions and greatly reduces their environmental footprint.

AlphaFund: That’s really interesting. What drove you to start Tomo and take on such a massive sustainability challenge in fashion?

Greg: It really stemmed from my own frustrations as a consumer trying to find stylish, high-quality apparel that was also ethically made with sustainable materials. The fashion industry as a whole has such an enormous environmental impact, but there was a lack of transparency into supply chains and a disconnected ecosystem of suppliers and vendors working on sustainability.

By leveraging technology to directly connect the players in this space, we saw an opportunity to drive positive change and be part of the solution. Sustainability shouldn’t be an afterthought or just a buzzword – Tomo is helping make it a core part of how fashion businesses operate.

AlphaFund: I love that mission. How are brands actually utilizing the Tomo platform, and what kind of sustainable impact are you seeing so far?

Greg: Brands of all sizes are using Tomo, from large apparel companies to direct-to-consumer startups. The core value is being able to easily find and vet eco-friendly material suppliers and ethical production partners through our network.

Every supplier on our platform goes through a rigorous vetting process to validate their sustainable and ethical practices. We have hundreds of options across materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester, Tencel, and many more. Brands can browse detailed specs, minimum order quantities, pricing, certifications, and samples all in one place.

On the manufacturing side, brands get full transparency into the facilities in our network, including audits, labor policies, and compliance certifications like WRAP and BSCI. They can filter by geography, capabilities, production capacity and get matched with the right ethical manufacturing partners.

The impact data has been really encouraging so far. In just the last year, we’ve helped facilitate the use of over 3 million pounds of sustainable materials and ethically produced over 1.5 million units through our manufacturing partners. This has avoided tens of millions of pounds of CO2 emissions compared to conventional materials and practices.

AlphaFund: Those numbers are seriously impressive for the short time you’ve been operating. Looking ahead, what’s next on the roadmap as you continue scaling Tomo?

Greg: Thank you, we’re really proud of the impact so far but also know there’s so much more work to be done. A big priority is continuing to expand our global supplier and vendor network to offer brands even more options and economies of scale.

We’re investing heavily into data analytics and machine learning to provide better sustainability scoring, forecasting insights, and intelligent matchmaking between brands and their ideal suppliers or manufacturers. There’s a wealth of information we can unlock to maximize environmental benefits.

You’ll also see us doubling down on the technology and software tools for streamlining product development, sampling, and other workflows between brands and their supply chain partners. Reducing inefficiencies and iterations in this process is another key way to drive more sustainable practices.

Ultimately, the vision is to build the world’s premier operating system and marketplace for sustainable fashion – providing all the technology, data, and partnerships brands need to bring ethical products to market efficiently and at scale.

AlphaFund: It’s such an ambitious but important mission. We’re certainly rooting for your continued success. Before we wrap up, any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Greg: The only way we’re going to create lasting, industry-wide change is by making sustainability the new standard across the entire fashion ecosystem. It can’t just be a niche or done in isolation – sustainable practices have to be built into the fundamental operations and supply chains of how products are conceived, sourced, and manufactured.

That’s the big shift we’re working towards at Tomo, and why partnership and collaboration across brands, suppliers, and manufacturers is so critical. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but we believe technology can be a powerful enabler and connecter.

By aligning the right incentives and making sustainable options more accessible, cost-effective, and transparent than conventional alternatives, we can drive both consumer and industry behavior at scale. It’s an incredible opportunity to re-architect one of the world’s most impactful industries for the better.

AlphaFund: Those are such insightful points. Thank you again for joining us today, Greg. We’re excited to see Tomo’s continued growth and impact in making fashion more sustainable.

Greg: Thank you, I really appreciate the opportunity to share more about Tomo’s vision for sustainability in fashion. We’re just getting started!

Sustainable Fashion FAQ

Q: Why is sustainability such a challenge for the fashion industry?

A: The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world. From water-intensive cotton farming and toxic dyes to unethical labor practices and high volumes of textile waste, the environmental and ethical impacts are staggering. Legacy supply chains lack transparency, making it difficult for brands to source eco-friendly materials and production partners.

Q: What standards or certifications should I look for in sustainable fashion?

A: Key certifications to look for include GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) for organic materials, OEKO-TEX for manufacturing facilities meeting environmental and safety standards, Fair Trade for ethical labor practices, and organizations like BlueSign for responsible manufacturing processes. Third-party validation is critical.

Q: What are some examples of eco-friendly materials?

A: Popular sustainable material options include organic cotton, hemp, linen, Tencel (made from renewable wood sources), recycled polyester (from plastic bottles), ECONYL (regenerated from nylon waste), and vegan leather alternatives like Piñatex (made from pineapple leaves). Innovative new options are constantly emerging.

Q: How can I ensure ethical labor practices in my supply chain?

A: Look for manufacturing partners certified by organizations like the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), which holds facilities to high standards around worker health, safety, compensation, hours, discrimination, and abuse prevention. Other respected social audits include the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), SA8000, and FLA.

Q: What is a circular fashion economy?

A: The circular economy approach aims to eliminate waste through recycling, reusing, and extending product lifecycles. Examples in fashion include recycling clothes into new fiber, enabling garment rentals and re-commerce, using recycled materials in production, and biodegradable materials that can re-enter the biological cycle after use.

Q: How much more expensive is sustainable fashion?

A: Sustainable fashion can command a premium today, but economies of scale make a big difference. A organic cotton t-shirt might cost 15-20% more than conventional, while outerwear using recycled synthetics could be 30%+ higher. However, as demand grows and innovative solutions emerge, those costs will come down over time.

Q: What’s the biggest myth about sustainable fashion?

A: A common myth is that sustainable fashion can’t be stylish or high-quality. In reality, many sustainable textiles and manufacturing practices allow for virtually identical aesthetics, performance, and durability as conventional clothing – the difference is in the environmental and ethical sourcing.

About AlphaFund

AlphaFund is a leading magazine focused on highlighting innovative companies and founders pioneering solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Our featured company interviews dive deep into the vision, strategy, and impact being driven by the entrepreneurs behind cutting-edge businesses. From sustainability to healthcare, FinTech, enterprise software, and beyond, we explore the initiatives making a real difference across industries and sectors.

In addition to founder interviews, AlphaFund provides valuable insights through industry analysis, frequently asked questions, and educational content around emerging trends and focus areas like the future of sustainable fashion. We believe in the power of knowledge-sharing to inspire new ideas and catalyze positive change.

Whether you’re an industry professional, investor, student, or just someone passionate about technology and innovation, AlphaFund aims to be an informative and trusted resource. Our team of writers, editors, and analysts are committed to delivering in-depth, objective, and forward-looking coverage you won’t find anywhere else.

Our interviews showcase founders with a bold vision, resilient mindset, and unwavering mission to solve global challenges in areas like sustainability, healthcare, future of work, education, and beyond. We seek out companies building ethical, multi-generational businesses with the potential for massive societal impact.

In addition, the AlphaFund lens emphasizes diversity and inclusion across the founders, companies, and subject areas we cover. We believe elevating diverse voices and perspectives is critical for driving innovation and equitable progress.

With both short and long-form content, video interviews, industry deep dives, and more, AlphaFund offers a comprehensive view into the people and technologies truly shaping a more sustainable, ethical, and prosperous future for all.

Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for the latest interviews, insights, and trend pieces from the AlphaFund team. We’re just getting started!

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