What’s in a name? Probably lots of good stories and feelings, maybe some not much more than abstract notions, attached in all sorts of ways to that thing we’ve named. When I first moved to California I was really struck by the vastness of this American West. That first drive across the country and my earliest explorations of the mountains and deserts were peppered with signs that read: “NO GAS OR SERVICE FOR 100 MILES”. Something about retelling the tale of an empty gas tank with nothing around but empty road, and how you unstuck yourself somehow, will stir up a deep love for the great wide open west.
I find myself making one last stop in the last little town on the edge of wilderness to pick up a box of matches, a fuel canister, some chapstick, or just an unspoken peace of mind that I know where I’m headed. It’s these places that have inspired the name.
A Last Chance to gather the things we rely on, to trust what we’ve got and to be certain those things will be a part of whatever comes down the road.
OUR DESIGNER + OWNER
Lindsey Fout is the Portland,OR based textile designer, researcher, and teacher behind Last Chance Textiles. Originally from West Virginia, her rural Appalachian upbringing informs the integrity and utilitarian aspects of her work. She designs and crafts in her Portland, OR studio to harness an experimental and physical practice that echos the historical textile traditions that inspire her designs.
Last Chance makes colorful bandanas and scarves that feel timeless yet super special. Our hand-drawn patterns are based on historical references from around the globe (mostly textiles). Through this lens, textile traditions are both rooted and re-imagined, creating a vision and product that will stand the test of time. We utilize soft and sustainable quality fabrics like organic cotton, naturally dyed silk, and handwoven khadi.
SILK NOIL TEXTILE GUIDE
Sometimes referred to as “raw-silk”, silk noil yarns are spun from shorter fibers leftover from the spinning and manufacture of other silk fabrics. Silk noil has a varied, nubby texture and matte surface that somewhat resembles cotton. However, this fabric has better drape and visual depth. Silk bandanas make a great travel companion, keeping you comfortable in both hot and cold climates. Silk is a natural, durable, yet biodegradable fiber that has a very low environmental impact. The unique texture in the fiber can feel slightly rough to some at first. The more you wear your bandana, the softer it will become and you’ll quickly be converted. You can read our care instructions here.
All of our silk bandanas are hand-dyed with dyes derived from plants and insects. This process allows us to dye textiles in a way that uses less water, is non-toxic, biodegradable, and draws its incomparable color palette from humble plants and natural sources. In order to accomplish this we partner with traditional master natural dyers in India to create a palette using ancient techniques.
COTTON TEXTILE GUIDE
Organic Cotton Cambric and Voile are high quality lightweight fabrics. The weight and drape are similar to a vintage bandana, but more closely woven using longer cotton fibers making it softer and more durable. Most importantly our cottons are GOTS certified. “The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibers, including ecological and social criteria, and backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.” Other organically labeled fabrics don’t have the same breadth of accountability. GOTS means it is better for the earth, the workers, and consumer. Take a deeper dive into our new cotton fabric here.
Suvin cotton is known as the 'cashmere of cotton' and 'white gold' and competes with Egyptian cotton for the title of the 'world's finest cotton'. It is rarer than other fine cotton because it is temperamental to grow and requires much care and expertise from the farmers. It grows in extra-long staple fibers meaning a smooth, soft, and almost silk-like hand that gets better with time. This exclusive fiber is used in our Blockprint Collaboration with Shaivyya Gupta.
OUR PROCESS + ETHICS
DESIGNING FROM SCRATCH
Every LCT product begins as a research project, a deep dive into the world of historical textiles. I find this context building integral to the design process. Textiles are significant and intimate objects for humankind, and every corner of the globe boasts a unique textile tradition. I believe these traditions must be respected and the line between influence and appropriation clearly defined and never crossed. By weaving in historical context and culture, I aim to create a thread through time, connecting the past to the future of a well worn bandana. I always try to mesh several references when creating loose sketches of the motifs I want to use. I draw all of my patterns by hand and then bring them onto the computer to work on final layouts and develop color combinations. The result is a thoughtful classic design that will never go out of style.
We seek to create very little production waste. We use the full width of the fabric and can cut two across. The next larger fabric width available would be too wide and create excess waste. Our handwoven scarves are made just for us, creating no leftovers- note the double selvedge on the finished pieces. When we do accumulate production waste, we do really cool stuff with it, like making these hatbands and teaching people how to make rag rugs!
Much of our UPCYCLED COLLECTION is created by a L.A. based sample sewer Jess Rives. She sets her own timelines and pricing and we don't push back. This relationship has been built on mutual trust and friendship over many years.
Our ARTISAN COLLABORATIONS range from Texas to India and take place in smaller workshops. When working abroad we connect directly with the artisans or use well-vetted local heritage arts experts to aid in projects and communications. The artisans set the price and we don't push back. Our expert partners are paid for their consultation separately. In other words, no greedy middlemen.
Our SIGNATURE BANDANAS are made in an ethical factory in Mumbai, India. The factory has a 4 pillar ethical certification called SMETA. This covers social, environmental, safety and business ethics. A social audit is one of the best ways to understand working conditions. This certification ensures our garment professionals are working in a place that meets the fair labor conventions put forth by the International Labor Organization.
WASHED & FINISHED WITH LOVE
Finally, all of our bandanas and scarves are washed several times. This eliminates the risk of excess dye bleed and creates a soft, clean textile ready to wear. After washing, all items are pressed, quality checked, and hand labeled in our Portland, OR studio.