Sodium caught up with Jeff shortly after Prophetik had shown at London Fashion Week to discuss what inspired his Wolf x Rose line and how he is taking the sustainability conversation, and our understanding of it, to a deeper, holistic level.
Wolf x Rose by Prophetik is a line of non-toxic intimates created by designer Jeff Garner of Prophetik fame. Jeff recognized the hugely harmful impact that underwear made with toxic fibers and dyes has on our skin. This realization motivated him to create a range of intimates that would not only help protect against prostate and bowel cancer but would also give us a choice over what we put next to our bodies. Not only does his intimates range diminish the risk of absorbing dangerous chemicals through our skin, they are also super comfortable and look pretty incredible.
(1) We love the Wolf x Rose line of nontoxic intimates made with natural fibers and using plant-based dyes. What was the motivation behind creating the brand and the garments?
Wolf x Rose is the intimates line of Prophetik. Our designer has been forging ahead in plant-based fabrications and dyes for some 18 years. The motivation is to bring a wearable sustainable solution to the most intimate part of your body for it is the easiest and most important part of your wardrobe to convert.
(2) What fibers and dyes do you use and where do you source them from?
The fabrications for Wolf X Rose come from both Canada and China for that is where the hemp production is done currently. The plant-based dyes depend on the dye color but the gold for instance comes from our partners Malibu property, Eucalyptus leaves. The indigo comes from our designers friends farm in TN, also the barks come from Mr. Garner’s personal farm.
(3) How would you like the person who buys your underwear to feel when they wear Wolf x Rose intimates
We would like them to feel safe, secure, and confident knowing they are not off gassing harmful chemicals or toxifying their blood stream through absorption.
(4) The underwear not only has incredible health benefits but also looks incredible and is so comfortable to wear. How rewarding is it to work at the intersection where science meets fashion and what particular challenges does that bring?
It is interesting to see the responses…fashion is never a credible source to discover knowledge yet to marry design with science has always been a beautiful connection point. Fashion is more or less the entry point where art garners attention and then the science brings in the mission and purpose to a message of awareness in a very group think environment. Going upstream will always have its challenges.
(5) You display a sustainable footprint throughout the entirety of your supply chain from compostable packaging to a carbon-neutral shipping and distribution policy. How frustrating is to see brands marketing themselves as conscious or sustainable who are blatantly greenwashing?
I used to hate and protest against those brands and then realized a little bit of good is better than a lot of bad…. so I just spent that energy focusing on solutions. Greenwashing is essentially picking one good thing they can market to fit in the rat pack of sustainability or “eco”. That is the feel-good encourager to the consumer to purchase their goods. The idea of Wolf X Rose is to motivate others to go all the way… to truly back up their ethos with action, not just fancy words and marketing slogans. I work with my team everyday on striving for authenticity and how important that is. And I will not bend to compromise for one must stand for something they believe in no matter the outcome. When the business of fashion will do anything to make sales, well that is the intention not to save people from harmful toxins or to make a product that does not harm the environment. The intention is low price point…gain market shares..and sell as much as they can, no matter if the consumer needs this product or not, or if it is made with harmful toxins.
(6) While the impact of toxic fibers and dyes on the environment and climate change have become part of the conversation why do you think the health consequences for our bodies remain largely unspoken?
I have been speaking on this subject matter for 18 years and I am baffled by how much is not said. It is almost like I have this dirty secret that no one has ever heard about. I think simply the correlation has not been made loud enough and it is easier for the general population to understand what they put in their bodies might effect their health ie the organic food movement in early 2000s but to connect that what we put on our bodies also effects our health. Well that simply has not been said enough. Constant exposure causes acceptance and here we are in 2020 with this toxic problem still allowed in the fashion business and people every day all over the world are covered in it. The real answer is it is partly education and partly addiction. Most of the general public is addicted to cheap price points and buying synthetic fabrications. They don’t check material or look at the sewing or care how long it will last for since it is so cheap…gas and food have gone up in price since I have been alive yet clothing has not…that’s interesting.
(7) Wolf x Rose has challenged me to educate myself about the toxins in my clothing. What do you think the fashion industry and those who regulate it should be doing to educate all of us so that we can make informed choices on what we put next to our skin?
The Fashion industry as you say is owned by the larger brands whose business model is made up of these synthetic fabrics and dyes. They would go out of business; therefore, they will not allow the model to change or the shift to happen. Who regulates the fashion industry? The chemical companies? Government? That is a lovely question and I honestly cannot answer that….maybe that needs to be addressed as well. I believe artists that connect with humanity will rise up in voice to speak out against these injustices of unlawful and unaware poisoning of our human health by these fast fashion companies and their synthetic ways.
(8) As a society we are addicted to fast fashion and artificially low-price points. How much responsibility do you think we as individual consumers should be taking to change that and how much more responsibility do you think the fashion industry and governments should be taking?
How to you cure addiction?
You stop doing it. So consumers can stop buying cheap goods made of petroleum-based chemicals…they can say no to overconsumption. And demand no more toxins on their own bodies. Marketing lies to us makes us believe we need things we don’t to drive the market. What we do need is to take back our power of choice. To know what we are buying, where it comes from, and what it is made of.
(9) It’s great to see one of the Scottish diaspora doing so well. I know you took your parent brand Prophetik back to my hometown last year and staged a fashion show in Edinburgh Castle! How was that?
We worked with Historic Environment Scotland on a project to platform the beautiful fabrications still being made in Scotland. I designed a collection called ‘Women of the Crown’ which highlighted Mary Queen of Scots, Catherine De Medici, Anne of Norway, and other women of power using these beautiful Scottish Textiles at Edinburgh Castle. Never has an event like this taken place there so I was honored. As guests arrived a great steed out front of the castle drawbridge with a model and gown greeted them on top. Then were introduced to the striking sound of bagpipes as they crossed through the front gate climbing the black rock into the beautiful ballroom where the show commenced. I had a friend Roy Wooten from Tennessee composing and orchestrating the quartet for the night. It is a show I will never forget!
(10) Prophetik also recently showed at London Fashion Week with your “Down the Rabbit Hole” collection. How challenging was it to safely and successfully stage a physical event during the current pandemic?
Challenges lead to more creative ideas…so we took the catwalk up on the dinner table this year! I just launched a fine china dinnerware collection with Thomas Good & Co who has been serving the Royal family since 1825. They hosted the catwalk or I should say tablewalk at their beautiful emporium showroom in Mayfair. We had to limit the guestlist and also space out everyone to confirm with COVID19 guidelines. It was an extra stress one typically does not have at fashion week. But it was an amazing feat and everyone including the British Fashion Council was glad we persevered as it gave hope that art can commence through the gray skies of uncertainty bringing color and new ideas to a mad hatter dinner party!
(11) The Wolf x Rose mantra is “Reimagining the way you care for your most intimate self” How do you imagine the brand expanding and developing in the months and years ahead? My team would speak differently to this but I see the Wolf X Rose collection to expand into women’s bra and panties which I have developed already and into training bras for the young gals and hemp boxers for the young men. I value to start teaching the youth and they will never want to wear anything but natural for that is what they know. We want this wearable line of Prophetik to be a solution based product driven arm…so if the need is socks since it is impossible to find a non acrylic or nylon based sock well I will design it and we will develop it. The intent is to bring awareness, shift the industry into plant based, and bring wearable solutions to the marketplace so our friends and family and whoever else will have the option to wear something that will not harm themselves or the environment.
Huge thanks to Jeff for providing such thought provoking and insightful answers to our questions. Big thanks also to Portia and the amazing team at Pop PR for arranging our interview. Wolf x Rose fuse style with a genuinely sustainable footprint to create garments that allow us to do all we can to be our healthiest selves and make a healthier planet. In these uncertain times, these are certainties we can all embrace to help contribute towards a better tomorrow.