We’re in the midst of Fashion Revolution Week, a movement commemorating the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh that killed over 1,100 workers and injured thousands more, catapulting the ethical fashion industry into the spotlight and encouraging consumers to start thinking more carefully about where and how our clothes are made.
Before my personal journey into conscious consumerism, I knew very little about how clothes were made. I definitely did not realize that even my $5 h&m t-shirt was hand sewn by someone halfway across the world. It really puts things into perspective. So I wanted to take you behind the scenes of the making of our Backyard Tee. Lots of care and effort was put into ensuring this tee was mindfully and responsibly made! Here are some of the key elements.
Cut and Sew
The Backyard Tee is cut and sewn by our friends at Groceries Apparel in the factory they own and operate in Los Angeles, California. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the factory two times and meet some of the lovely people who make your clothes. Owning their own factory allows Groceries Apparel to ensure fair wages and a safe working environment for their employees, as well as reduces their carbon footprint since they do not need to ship or transport their orders for shipment out to consumers and wholesale accounts.
Both styles of the Backyard Tee are made of 100% organic cotton. There are several benefits to working with organic fibers, both for the sake of the person wearing them (wearing toxins isn’t the best idea!) and the farmers involved in growing the crops, as well as, of course, the environment itself.
We partnered with Elizabeth Stilwell of The Note Passer to design the tee. I am a big fan of Elizabeth, her work, and her dedication to sustainable living and ethical fashion. I was so excited when she was on board to help out with the project! She sent me over some initial ideas.
We wanted to keep the design simple and the message front and center.After a couple of brainstorming sessions, we came up with the final design. I immediately loved it, and she made it print ready to send to the screen printer.
It was important that we screen print the tees locally and also in an environmentally-friendly way. When I found Raygun Printing in Brooklyn, I was thrilled that they could print the tees locally using water-based ink. We didn’t want anything toxic involved in the making of this shirt! Andrew, the owner, was a pleasure to work with and I even got to swing by their studio to see the printing in action.
The Final Product
The final tee comes in two styles: the v-neck, and the cropped tee. Both went through the same process outlined above, and are shipped to you in 100% recycled and recyclable, plastic-free shipping materials. We are donating 100% of the proceeds from the tee to the International Rescue Committee for their important work with refugees in the USA.
As you can tell, this shirt was made as responsible as possible for both the people who made it, as well as the environment. How could a “backyard tee” not be?! And that’s the same with everything we sell at IMBY: everything is responsibly made in the USA using This Fashion Revolution Week, I encourage you to take some action towards educating yourself further about how our clothes are made: reach out to a brand asking them #whomademyclothes, watch The True Cost documentary (available on Netflix), follow ethical fashion bloggers, shop second hand, and more. Each step we take can and will make a difference.