The Future Face of Sustainable Fashion: Meet Entrepreneur and CEO, Jaewoo Ahn

by Amir Bakian

Fashion and environmentalism don’t often go hand in hand. In fact, the fashion industry pumps 10% of the globe’s carbon emissions into the atmosphere yearly. This astonishing amount is enough to make the industry the second most polluting industry in the world. Environmental destruction doesn’t end with pollution, either. The equivalent of 50 billion plastic water bottles enter the ocean annually, due to the garment industry. Not only do these microfibers endanger aquatic life, but they enter the food stream and cannot be filtered out. This means that next time you’re enjoying a seafood dish, you could also be unwittingly consuming some tasty and nutritious plastic.

Beyond environmental concerns, fast fashion and the garment industry are often culpable for inhumane and exploitative labor conditions. The great harm caused by the industry leaves ethically-minded consumers wondering – are there any options for both aesthetic and sustainably made clothing? Enter Jaewoo Ahn. Ahn is a Georgetown student, entrepreneur, and creative force. But greatest of all, he is a man with a desire to revolutionize the fashion industry. In March of 2020, Ahn began a fashion line, known as SAIL, while juggling school full-time. SAIL sources organic, ethically made materials and partners with the Reef Life Foundation. Together with Reef Life Foundation, SAIL deploys a coral reef garden habitat through an emerging technology known as IntelliReefs. IntelliReefs are created through scientifically tested and researched nano-materials. The habitats provide critical homes for biodiverse life to thrive. Specifically, SAIL works to restore dying reefs around Sint Maarten post-Hurricane Irma. Unfortunately, the damage from the hurricane would take hundreds of years to restore naturally. IntelliReefs have the potential to fast-forward this process and restore life sooner. The ocean is home to nearly one million living beings. It was also a second home for Ahn who spent his formative years traveling down the shore. He cites these experiences as inspiration for wanting to give back to the natural environment. Before SAIL, Ahn displayed his proclivity for business in a venture known as OMNIWOAH.

OMNIWOAH is a travel equipment and camera company that quickly raked in close to $100,000 in revenue the first three months of opening. For Ahn, this business not only helped him finesse his entrepreneurial talents but introduced him to a whole host of new skills. He learned how to use 3D-design software, such as SolidWorks and AutoCAD to produce renderings of potential products. In addition, he put his technological aptitude to the test and learned computer programming languages, such as HTML and JavaScript. On top of this, he learned valuable lessons in supplier communications and excel formulas for tracking profit and losses. While Ahn was grateful for his company’s success, he felt a sense of lacking. Upon reflection, he shared that the emptiness he was feeling was, “a desire to contribute meaningfully, which I did not feel I was whole-heartedly pursuing.” Armed with a newly fine-tuned business expertise and a desire to help the environment, starting SAIL was a melding of Ahn’s two passions. And as for entrepreneurship and environmental advocacy, SAIL is only the beginning. To check out Ahn’s latest project, visit SAIL’s website at sailatelier.com or visit their
Instagram @sail. You won’t want to miss their next clothing drop coming soon.

Presented by: Ascend Agency

3 comments

SwiftChat Live Chat App April 14, 2021 - 3:44 AM

It is encouraging to see the fashion industry taking steps towards sustainability.

Reply
Joel C April 14, 2021 - 8:21 PM

This fight cannot stop, we need to keep spreading awareness like Jae, and together we will clean the ocean of its micro fibers. Nice work Jae!

Reply
Philipp M April 15, 2021 - 8:21 AM

Really a fascinating project! Hopefully this serves as an inspiration to other parts of the industry.

Reply

Leave a Comment

X