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From Shorelines to Stores
December 9, 2023
Trendsetters and influencers have undoubtedly become the face of fashion marketing as users lap up content just as quickly as platforms like Tiktok, Instagram, and Twitter can supply it. Due to this shift in the ever-changing fashion cycle, fast fashion and pollution from the consequences of content being spread across uber-popular platforms is at an all time high. But, the fashion industry is no stranger to finding shortcuts in marketing their company with sugar-coated statements promising sustainability. Notorious fast fashion brands such as Princess Polly, H&M, and even Shein have slapped slogans on products claiming materials are 100% “sustainable”. Though attempts at greenwashing and the continuous consumption of fast fashion seem to be overarching, University of Michigan alumni and founder of Oshki– a brand derived completely from United States plastic– paves the way in sustainable fashion.
Growing up in Michigan our state's mantra, Pure Michigan was thrown around in every commercial, printed on every bumper sticker, and present in every tacky tourist shop. Due to the generic money making aspect to our state’s slogan it seems to have lost its meaning. Luckily Jackson Riegler, CEO of Oshki and Native Michigan resident, opens new doors to what exactly Pure Michigan truly entails in the fashion realm. The namesake Oshki, pays homage to a tribe native to the Great Lakes region; the Ojibwe. The term, meaning Fresh, allows Oshki to focus on its main goal–storytelling through products. The company started in Reigler’s senior year of high school after funding was cut towards Great Lakes conservation. To start, it was a simple screen printed T-shirt company where 5% of proceeds went towards charities specific to the Great Lakes. However, years later it has expanded into the company it is today, showcasing sustainable tote bags, hats, and performance shirts. Oshki not only donates to the conservation of the Great Lakes, but Reigler explains how focusing on one charity isn’t the goal of the company, as they spread their profits with many Michigan native non-profits, such as Trout preservation and charities fighting against invasive species present in the Great Lakes.
One of Oshki's taglines, "Since 12,000 BC," illuminates the sacred moment of the Great Lakes' discovery, acknowledging their existence predates each of ours’. Beyond the promise and mission of the brand, Oshki's dedicated team travels to local beach cleanups along the Lake Michigan shoreline, transforming over 160,000 discarded plastic bottles into Oshki apparel. Their mission statement not only adorns their garments but stands as an example in sustainable fashion, and shows people what Pure Michigan truly entails.