Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dead Fruits: Begin the Began…

At a regional trade show, we went searching for organic apparel to deface. It was both resourceful and slightly discouraging.

Brought to my attention, was the fact, that Wal-Mart has hired Fruit Of The Loom to create a 100% organic cotton line for their stores. Kick F’n Ass…Right!!! Think again, Wal-Mart doesn’t want to pay extra for the development of truly organic color dyes. Therefore, FOTL will be producing a 100% organic cotton line for the deluding Big Box with chemical-ridden dyes. That being said, it defeats the purpose of sustainability. Hell, even the VP of Production at FOTL said it. I was thinking it…but he said it first. Nonetheless, I wished him well and reminded him that the triple threat of a bottom line is well on the way. He agreed. We wished each other the best and on it went.

American Apparel was next in the way. Dov (AA Founder) the “porn star mustache wearing” Creep is an interesting body. Kind of like one of those plastic toy figures from Japan but this one is Made In America or… is he from another country? Wow…sorry, got off the subject matter a bit. At any rate, it was nice strolling into their booth and seeing a one-color organic cotton collection. The color was the boring yet right one called Natural. They knew better than to throw out a palette of The Founder’s “ wanna be an American hooker” color story. Thank you for this…Dov! Though, AA is still pending on my sustainable list.

On to the next booth…we went.

A wholesale brand that has their shit together is Eternal Apparel. Though there was not a thread of sustainability in the line. It was a quality collection of blank product that felt right and had years of real experience. Therefore, I asked about organic products. Eternal should have all things organic…though it seemed. An industry veteran gave me a quick history lesson. In the early 1970’s as he was moving up in the textile industry at Russell Athletics, he witnessed a proper sustainable company. Wood chips being brought in by the truckloads with every chip being replaced by a younger tree. These wood chips not only heated the large textile factory but also more importantly assisted in all the product dye processes. (It should be noted that unfortunately Russell Athletics no longer works with wood chips or plants trees for our planet.) Thank you…Tom for the history lesson!

After talking to many different industry veterans, I finally came across Royal Apparel an organic premium knit manufacture that is doing good things. A smaller framed fellow that looked sleep deprived was sitting in an open booth making love to his blackberry and coffee. At that moment, ORGANIC all but jump up and punched me in the face. This was what we were looking for all right and it actually is a creditable resource. We started talking about his line and what it offered. The cuts and colors are spot on. We spoke about the super low impact dyes of each garment. Moreover, how the line is growing cotton that builds strong soil through crop rotation, controls the growth of weeds by hand hoeing, and relies mostly on seasonal freeze for defoliation rather than using toxic chemicals. And best of all it is coming straight out of the good ‘ol U.S.A, which makes it fully traceable.

He informed me that Dave Mathews Band just ordered 10,000 units. Though, I don’t think much of Dave’s music. In fact it is totally foul. However, it is nice to know artists are working with these smaller textile houses. We talked about Anvil Apparel and its’ new organic t-shirt line. And how it only has 5% organic cottons added to the product BUT – it is being promoted as a fully creditable organic product. Its’ just sad people…

WARNING: Buyer Be Aware!!!

The Royal Apparel production guru and I were talking about organic dyes and he started educating me on fruit dyes that are being cultivated right here in our own back yard. The idea of organic fruits being a sustainable dye -- just makes me fuckin’ so stoked. So by the end of the day, we went from Fruit Of The LOON and Wal-Mart to Organic Fruit dyes made in small batches for the betterment of our lives.

Needless to say, Optimism overflows as the very boom that created such destruction is dying. So…just maybe they can organically fertilize our younger imminent fruits and labor. Hell yeah, giving back never felt so good…

-- JSP

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