Behind The Brand: Alana Schmidt, CEO at The Standard Stitch
Alana Schmidt, CEO at The Standard Stitch, shares with us her childhood, her passion for sustainability, how The Standard Stitch is intentional about the products they make, and her advice on how to live more consciously.
First off, tell us about your background! Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like? What shaped you to be who you are today?
Hello! My name is Alana Schmidt, and I am the Founder of The Standard Stitch. I grew up in several different cities throughout California, and currently live in Newport Beach. I am the proud big sister to 4 amazing siblings who always kept our household entertaining. I believe living in different cities and having a large family, taught me a lot about community and compassion.
What does your typical day look like?
I start my day around 5:00 AM and head toward the gym (still waiting for my wakeup time to get easier…). After a glorious cup of coffee, I look through my emails, check my calendar for the day and make a plan. Like many Founders will tell you, there is no typical work day. My to-do list can range from shipping, marketing, accounting to development. I call it my “organized chaos,” as there is never a dull moment. My day doesn’t really have an end time, but when it’s able to conclude earlier, I enjoy reading, visiting with friends, or watching my newest Netflix binge.
Where does your interest in the issue of sustainability stem from?
I worked in apparel product development and production for many years, prior to starting The Standard Stitch. Being so close to how a garment was made and the materials used, it wasn’t hard to notice how dirty and wasteful the process of making clothes had become. What started as small curiosities, led to bigger questions. When starting this company, I kept asking myself, “Is there a better way?” What I found was more ethical practices and utilizing more sustainable materials, including fabrics, was the best way for us to go. This search for better practices within The Standard Stitch has influenced my sustainable practices in my day to day life. It has been an incremental change but the goal is to get better every day.
What are the origin stories of The Standard Stitch? How has the company evolved since?
During my many years in apparel I found myself questioning a lot of practices and the decisions of others. I took these questions and noted the things I might change if I ever started my own business. Then one day what I might do turned into what I will do. That’s when I knew it was time. The Standard Stitch was founded on ideas of change and shaking up the industry to create new standards. As we evolve, we pride ourselves on being students first. We look forward to learning and improving - finding better practices and materials.
What are the core values of The Standard Stitch?
Our core values are size-inclusivity, sustainably sourced materials, ethical production, and US made, localized in Los Angeles.
Talk to us about how you and your team think about design. How are you intentional about the products you create, why do you use the fabrics you use, and how do you go about sourcing them?
Oh boy! Where to start… We look at our clothes holistically - everything from the certified raw materials, to the vendors and manufacturers we partner with, to the end of life of our garment. Every little detail matters and nothing should be overlooked.
On the design side, we believe that sustainability and longevity go hand in hand. Creating styles that are versatile, season less, and will last you a long, long time is among our highest priority. Better quality means longer life – less clothing in landfills.
With raw materials, we only source with certified vendors ensuring our clothes are made ethically and using only sustainable materials. We choose an organic and recycled blend for our clothes because we believe it is the perfect win-win-win. Not only is it soft and quality, it promotes circularity and better farming practices. We also assess waste and afterlife by choosing biodegradable and recyclable materials.
Can you tell us about the low impact and non-toxic dyes The Standard Stitch uses? What exactly does that mean and why is it important?
Sure thing! Our dye house is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified, which is recognized as the world’s leading processing standard for textiles. It also requires environmental and social responsible manufacturing. Low impact dyes do not contain toxic chemicals and require less rinsing and have a high absorption rate in the fabric. This decreases the use of rinse water creating less waste water.
Where do you manufacture the products? How do you oversee your supply chain?
Our clothes are made in Los Angeles. Fun fact - from fabric to finishing, our clothes only travel 10.3 miles to be made. Having a localized supply chain, and living so close to the action, gives us the opportunity to work alongside our vendors and manufacturers. Where we can’t always be, we only work with certified vendors to ensure sustainable and ethical practices are being met.
Who are your makers and how are they taken care of?
There are amazing people behind our clothes and believe they should be taken care of. We only partner with vendors and manufacturers who agree. Treating people with respect, providing fair wages, and maintaining a safe working environment are important to us. See our vendor code of ethics.
What's your "Why"?
To redefine what it means to be an apparel brand and to do the right thing from the very beginning.
What's your personal favorite The Standard Stitch product?
Easy - the Long Sleeve Tee. Our first collection was based around versatility, and this one takes the cake. I can wear it with so many different bottoms and in so many different ways. My favorite is a half tuck with jean shorts.
What's one piece of advice you would give to our readers on how to live more consciously?
It’s all about balance. Sustainability is not perfect, and we shouldn’t try to be. Just making small, mindful changes throughout the day will make a big impact.