The fashion industry continues to inflict considerable damage as a result of inexpensive clothes that are purchased and soon after cast aside, the so-called “fast fashion.” However, Western Michigan University (WMU) sophomore Abigail Jaqua is working to provide better alternatives with her new online clothing store Atomic Sierra.
Jaqua wanted to feature ethically manufactured, sustainable clothes, so she gathered together all her personal savings to start an online boutique in December as a way to fight climate change.
“Once I started reading about that; doing research — that information blew my mind. I knew I had to spread the information, number one, and, number two, try and change it,” she told MLive.
The WMU student came up with the idea to start Atomic Sierra through the blogs she wrote in college and when the pandemic provided her some downtime, Jaqua took a job at Amazon and used her salary to finance the business.
Staying true to her vision, the college sophomore worked with wholesalers to purchase clothing that meets her environmental and ethical standards. All the products sold at Atomic Sierra are created from “sustainable textiles such as organic plants and recycled materials.”
They have also been certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard, an internationally recognized standard that “ensures the organic status of textiles from the harvesting of the raw materials through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing.”
“It took me months to do that. To really make sure I’m not cutting corners here. I’m not just trying to make money, I’m really trying to provide a product that actually changes the world,” Jaqua shared.
Diversity and body inclusivity were also important considerations when she launched her brand. The clothing boutique currently runs extra small to extra large sizes but Jaqua plans to add larger clothing size options.
Atomic Sierra is still in the initial stages and Jaqua is working hard to reach more people and increase traffic on her website. While it may be a difficult road ahead, she is studying sales and business marketing at WMU to help her learn how to run a successful business.