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Who Made This Fabric?

This post originally appeared on the Fashion Revolution USA blog.  Thread is proud to support this movement towards greater supply chain transparency.

Thread_Fabric

 

I started Thread because I believe fabric can end poverty.

If you knew me five years ago, you would have thought that was even more ridiculous than it already sounds.

On my first trip to Haiti after the devastation of the 2010 earthquake, I wrote in my journal, if Haiti can turn trash into $ = good. This sentence became the foundation of my company, Thread.  We take trash from some of the poorest neighborhoods on the planet and we transform it into fabric. Then we sell that fabric along with a 100% transparent supply chain to apparel companies who want to make more responsible dresses, tops, shoes, and bags.  So far our supply chains have pulled 70 million bottles from the streets of Haiti and Honduras and support over 1500 jobs.

If we’re all here to start a revolution, think of Thread as the ammunition…but with a fabulous hand feel and an even more terrific drape.

There is lots of useful stuff we can make from waste, but we decided to start with fabric. Why? Real transparency in textile supply chains is still REALLY hard to find. Tragedies are still caused by unsafe conditions supported by the fashion industry. It doesn’t have to be this way and we’re sick of it. We saw the need to create good jobs and help provide sanitation solutions to neighborhoods that need them. We also saw a growing group of consumers who reminded us of ourselves. We too are demanding to know the impact of the stuff we buy.

Thread’s fabric is the most responsible in the world. We know our supply chains, which is to say that we are on a first name basis with the people involved at each step of creating our fabric. From the time our polyester starts as a bottle, to when it ends up in your hands as a bag: from Ground to Good.

Responsibility is more than recycling. It’s more than codes of conduct and factory audits. Responsibility is taking ownership of everyone involved throughout the entire process of your product. It goes beyond knowing where our stuff comes from to knowing it is making peoples lives better. Not just more tolerable.

Apparel was worth almost 600 billion dollars last year.  BILLION.  With a B. If fashion were a country (and I know there are several of those on the Thread team who believe it should be), it would be roughly 75 times the size of Haiti in terms of economic output.  That doesn’t even count bags, shoes, and the rest of the stuff to accessorize your sundress.

Thread partners with brands and manufacturers in the fashion industry who want to be more responsible. We know the value in proving impact. We offer our partners the data, life cycle analyses, stories, interviews, charts, and maps that back up our claim of responsibility. This way, consumers know what their purchasing power is supporting. This is in addition to supplying high quality, durable fabric.

I am not exactly fashionable. My team often makes fun of me for wearing the same shirt to every meeting. I like plaid. But, I know the power behind this industry that celebrates creation, individualism, and self-expression. I know the change this industry can have on the world.

This is why Thread is proud to participate in Fashion Revolution Day on April 24, and ask, “Who made your clothes?” Because when you ask us who made our fabric, we’ll tell you it was Mary Rose, and Louis Germaine. It was Wilfrid Port-Louis.

And now it’s you that’s making a difference.

To the Revolution…and plaid.

Ian

 

 

 

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