Hey everyone today we’re talking with Jackson from Encino Supply. Encino is an interesting clothing brand in how they use sustainable methods to produce their shirts. They also spend a lot of their effort and initiative in supporting conservation efforts in California. Let’s dive in and find out what they’re all about!
Photo: Steven O’Brien | @stevenobrien_photography
Q1: Could you give a bit of background on the goals of your organization?
A: My main goal is to educate consumers about the environmental impacts of their clothing. It takes so many steps to get from raw material to the finished good, and they are often overlooked. When you become aware of the potential impact a single t-shirt can have, it gets scary. Some of my other goals are to support California-based nature conservancies, preservation foundations, and historical societies, and to simply leave California better than I found it.
Q2: What motivated you to take up this mission?
A: I have always wanted to start my own company, and I was motivated to take up this specific endeavor after becoming aware of the waste and pollution associated with the apparel and fashion industries.
Photo : Ryan Fields | @ryanfieldz
Q3: Have you faced any struggles or challenged along the way?
A: Encino is a brand-new company (launched on 7/1/2020), so the main struggles I have faced revolve around COVID-19. I ran into some initial struggles trying to source the exact materials I wanted, and these will be improved in the future. I hope to have more of a face to face presence in our community through pop-up shops, makers markets, and cleanups but due to the current circumstances these are not possible.
Q4: What could our readers do to help you if they feel inspired?
A: A simple option is to properly recycle (especially plastic)! Another option is to educate others about the potential adverse effects of their clothing choices. If they are feeling really inspired they can help us directly by sharing our brand’s social media pages/website, or by purchasing one of our products. For all Harding Expedition readers we created the discount code “HEXCO15” for 15% off their order.
Q5: Where do you see the company going in the future? What lies ahead for you?
A: Right now Encino is a hobby for me but I would love for it to transition into a full time opportunity. Any success I have would be a success for the environment and for California lands. I also believe that as more environmentally focused companies grow, the existing industry powerhouses take notice and have to make sustainable changes.
Right now I am working on Encino’s fall/winter batch of goods. I’m excited about it and I can’t wait to show everyone.
Q6: You've really inspired us. Are there any organizations that inspire you?
A: I’m inspired by brands like Patagonia, Bureo, Fair Harbor, Pela Cases, and Yew Surf Wax to name a few. These companies are having success by taking an alternative eco-friendly approach to the norm of their respective industries. Anyone who makes a commitment to doing things the right way is a winner in my book.
Q7: What materials do you use and why?
A: Right now I am focusing on using recycled polyester from plastic from bottles (rPET) as well as recycled cotton. Based on cost and availability, some of our current products contain ethically sourced virgin cotton/nylon, but I have a commitment to use 100% recycled materials by 2021. I like to use rPET because it helps find a second use for plastic bottles that would otherwise sit in a landfill or end up in the ocean.
I also use shipping bags that are made of 100% recycled materials, are fully recyclable, and can even be re-used due to a handy second self-seal adhesive strip.
In addition to what I do use, I am also proud of what I don’t use. I don’t use paper invoices in our shipments, I don’t use individual plastic bags for the products, and for our online orders I don’t use product hang tags. These are all unnecessary aspects of the apparel industry, and they are usually thrown away immediately by the consumer.
Photo : Ryan Read | @_ryanread
Q8: What inspired the name of your company? What does your name mean to you?
A: I’ve always had a fascination with California’s city names and where they came from. Most have Spanish roots, and their translations are rad. Encino is a city in Los Angeles and it is the Spanish name for the native California coastal oak tree. It is the only California native oak that actually thrives in the coastal environment. It’s acorns were a food staple for indigenous peoples of California, it provided early settlers with wood for shelter and fuel, and its oddly shaped branches were later used for ship construction, wagon wheels and farm tools. Part of our mission is to donate a portion of our sales to California-based nature conservancies, preservation foundations, and historical societies. The Encino oak tree helped shape early California, and I am trying to keep it that way.
Q9: Are you attempting any events in the near future?
A: Due to the circumstances of COVID-19, any events I had planned have been postponed or temporarily cancelled. I have an ongoing model to host quarterly beach/trail/city cleanups in our community. In addition to cleaning up certain areas and collecting plastic to be recycled, I also want to educate our community and provide everyday sustainability tips during these events.
Q10: How difficult has it been to be as environmentally conscious as you are?
A: Honestly, it hasn’t been very difficult. With new technologies and social media/internet communication it has been surprisingly easy to find sustainable materials, manufacturers, and ideas.
Q11: Do you think other companies would be willing to follow your example? What would it take?
A: I would love to say yes, but the apparel industry is a broken system revolving around fast fashion and high waste. So the simple answer, for now, is no. There are many other companies taking similar approaches, but the vast majority are not. I believe the system will improve, slowly over time, but for now we need more action.
Photo Credit : Elijah Aikens | @aikens.photoart
Q12: You said you wanted to support California-based organizations. Which ones would you be most excited to work with and why?
A: As part of my commitment to supporting the preservation of California, I plan to select different organizations each season or as they have certain needs arise. We have a long list of organizations we want to support, but we are most excited to work with organizations like Orange County Coastkeeper and the California Native Plant Society. We are committed to preserving California lands and leaving it “better than we found it”. One of the best ways to do this is to support the health of native ecosystems and waterways and help reduce the impact of humans, invasive species, and pollution. Both of these organizations are focusing their efforts on the ongoing health of native lands and waterways. We love what they are doing, and we are extremely happy to support them.
Q13: I'm really interested in how they're able to turn plastic bottles into polyester. Can you provide any insight into that process?
A: It’s actually a pretty old process, but it is very interesting! Plastic PET (which is the typical material that makes up clear plastic bottles) bottles are diverted from landfills, and then they are stripped of their labels, caps, and washed. After this, they are crushed and chopped up into flakes. The batch of flake is melted into pellets and then they are extruded (think spun and pulled like taffy) into a thin fiber, cooled, and woven into a yarn. The yarn is then blended with cotton into a fabric which is cut and sewn into our tees.
Alright, you’ve heard from Jackson, but what do we think? I’m not one to promote stuff I don’t use or like, and often I’ll even trash the stuff I genuinely do like. I’m incredibly hard to please.
With that being said, Encino Supply sent us 3 shirts of two different blends/weights to try out and review. I honestly love them, and my lady friend has already stolen the green one (light weight blend) pictured below. I’m also wearing (for the second time in 3 days) their heavier blended Day Buzzed Minds shirt right now and that’s incredibly nice as well.
It’s hard to decide between the two because the lightweight blend feels very active-lifestyle oriented. I barely felt like I sweated at all in it when running camera yesterday in the 98 degree summer temps here in Bend, Oregon. On the other hand, the heavy blend just feels extra solid and really comfy like an old friend without the smells or stains. Unlike the plastic bottles these came from, I won’t be trashing my Encino Supply shirts anytime soon.
Thanks so much for reading. If you want to support Encino Supply Co., and their environmentally conscious efforts, remember to use our discount code ‘HEXCO15’for 15% off on their store!
Interviewed by Caleb Carter
Edited and Product Review by Elijah Aikens
Disclaimer/Credit: All photos are owned by or sourced through the relevant organization or our on staff photographer Elijah Aikens / IG @aikens.photoart