Parallel Apparel Square Neck Top

overall Rating:



Georgia Haak
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With clear claims of sustainability on the Parallel Apparel website, I expected to be able to find at least something sustainable about their products or production process. However, in reviewing the Square Neck Top, I found only synthetic materials and no information. The website is small and offers no information on sourcing, manufacturing, or impact other than vague, empty phrases such as “responsibly made,” “ethically sourced,” and “sustainable.” Furthermore, the website boasts body inclusivity, yet the top only goes to size XXXL. Looking behind the brand, one of the founders, Alisha Marie, has a large social media following where she posts clothing hauls and promotes companies such as Amazon, which promotes an overconsumption lifestyle. This is the opposite of sustainable. The $47 price tag is absurd for an unsustainable, non-transparent product.

what it's made of:


The Square Neck Top is made from 89% polyester and 11% spandex. From production to disposal, polyester is bad for the environment. It is made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource that we currently consume at levels far beyond what the Earth can produce. Additionally, there is absolutely no sourcing information about the polyester available on the website. What country did this oil come from? How is it extracted? What company? How was it transported? These questions arise before we begin to look at the actual production of the yarn, weaving, and eventual transformation into polyester fabric. Even once polyester is created, it causes environmental detriment. Washing polyester releases microplastics into waterways which contaminate our water sources. Although polyester could, in theory, be recycled, it rarely is. Recycled polyester generally refers to materials made from recycled plastics, not used fabrics. Thus, it is generally discarded in the trash. It is non-bio-degradable and simply remains in the landfill. Spandex is also made from fossil fuels, meaning it carries the same burden on the planet in terms of oil that polyester does. Like polyester, spandex releases microplastics when washed by consumers, which are negative for waterways, aquatic life, and humans. For this brand to market itself as sustainable while having products made from entirely synthetic, harmful materials is insane. It is false advertising and beyond misleading.

how it's made:


Producing polyester releases exorbitant levels of CO2 and requires vast amounts of energy to make. High heat processes are used to melt plastic and create yarns. From extracting oil to creating the fabric, there is nothing sustainable about polyester production. Additionally, chemicals used in production inevitably are released into water, causing extreme damage to our scarce freshwater resources. To be fair, producing synthetic materials uses less water than natural fibers, but this is far from outweighing the negative aspects. Similarly, creating spandex requires high energy use as well and releases toxic chemicals that have negative impacts for those who produce it. Additionally, spandex uses synthetic dyes which are released in the waterways and harm wildlife and water sources. There is no information available about the production of the garment itself. Therefore, we cannot know how the factories handle waste or what energy they use. The lack of transparency and information is highly concerning.

who makes it:


There is no information as to who makes this product, at any point of production. The website says that their products are made in Los Angeles, but there is no indication of what factories are used or who is employed. The Los Angeles garment industry faces huge exploitative labor issues. The workers are often immigrants and dominantly women, and they are often paid wages far below the minimum wage. Additionally, the working conditions are often unsafe and uncomfortable. Therefore, saying that the product is made in Los Angeles means very little. Again, there is no information about material sourcing, so we do not know who is employed on these stages as well. However, we can say that oil is a high conflict material. It causes war and global conflict which harms counties and their people. Additionally, the founders of Parallel Apparel are Ashley and Alisha Marie. Alisha Marie is a popular influencer with a large YouTube and Instagram following. Much of her content revolves around consumption: from Amazon hauls to bikini try on videos. All of this content promotes consumption and gives no frame of reference for consuming in a more sustainable way. Thus, to claim a brand is sustainable while not promoting a sustainable lifestyle and making no effort to ensure the products are sustainable in any way is disingenuous and harmful. Finally, the line is promoted as inclusive, but inclusive to who? This product only goes to a size XXXL which is not a full plus size range. Therefore, it is not particularly size inclusive. At a $47 price tag for a basic top, this is not inclusive of people from different economic backgrounds. While marketed as sustainable and inclusive, I see little to suggest a genuine effort to be either. Consumers could get much more for their money shopping at a different brand.