The following article is from a series of interviews conducted byLIM Collegestudents with sustainability leaders whose companies are members of theAccessories Council.
Teressa Foglia is a hat brand that makes hats with consciously-sourced material. When she launched her location in Brooklyn, Teresa envision an open studio with full transparency in her products. During my recent interview with Teressa, she stated, “Our mission is to inspire the human spirit, one hat at a time, while maintaining a responsible and transparent manufacturing process.”
Teressa spent most of her life thrifting, shopping vintage, and traveling the world with just a carryon, and she realized just how minimal an amount of stuff one truly needs. This led her to build a business that would create the smallest global impact possible.
Foglia has three primary suppliers that account for 75% of the company’s raw materials. Two out of three of their suppliers are third-generation businesses, and the other is employee-owned. Each has fair trade wages, great working conditions, and workers’ rights. Foglia has seen all aspects of their supply chain, from full factory tours to watching how the product is made, from start to finish.
Their main material for their straw hats, which make up a large part of the Teressa Foglia business, is naturally grown, organic tequila straw. Hat-band material consists of 100% organic cotton and organic wheat braid. All of their hat trims are vintage material, and their dye is all-natural.
Teressa also confirmed with me that hers is a zero-waste company. All their hats are made to order, meaning no excess or waste! Any fabric or felts leftover in their studio is generously donated to local universities, child programs, or FabScrap. Their vintage silk hat linings can be reused and repurposed. (They find these 100% silk linings at thrift stores and flea markets.) They encourage customers to come back and redesign hats with them. They don’t believe customers should have 10 different hats, but rather one hat redesigned every other month by making changes in the style.
Teressa is currently a co-founder of a 501(c)3 a nonprofit organization working for COVID-19 support. The company has donated thousands of hats to silent auctions to raise money. The current project is the #Inmyscrubs challenge, and they have raised tens of thousands in just weeks. They encourage people to go online and make a donation. Every $100 equates to 20 meals, which are hand-delivered to workers on the front lines!