Pulling Back The Curtain: Threads 4 Thought
Did you know that cotton is one of the dirtiest crops on our planet? And did you know that cotton uses 25% of the world's insecticides and 10% of the world's pesticides, causing to it contaminate over 13 million acres of farmland?
Yeah, and you thought that innocent looking, 100% cotton button-down shirt you’re wearing is … well, innocent.
Threads 4 Thought is a small clothing company on a big mission to design and produce ethical, sustainable fashion that helps improve the planet. Throughout high school and college, cofounders Eric and Leigh felt compassion for humanitarianism and a deep concern about our nation’s growing consumerism and its negative impact on the planet and its inhabitants.
In 2006, as new college graduates, Eric and Leigh Fleet formed a partnership in marriage and in business. They plunged into the fashion industry with a few graphic tees made from eco-friendly fabrics putting action to their desire to bring more sustainability to the industry.
Within one year, the duo officially launched T4T with a small collection of T-shirts. That quickly expanded into a collection of sustainable wardrobe staples. A line of dresses soon followed. Today, they carry a full lifestyle brand of fashion.
T4T manufactures all their clothing with organic cotton only. Organic cotton is grown without the use of harmful insecticides or pesticides. It’s also grown without genetically modified organisms (GMO) or seeds from GMO. T4T’s production process reduces the toxicity of a cotton garment by more than 90%. That’s a huge difference!
Just as with their cotton, T4T deals with a better polyester fiber. If you’re old enough, you know the 1970s were an important era for polyester. Polyester double-knit pantsuits, polyester leisure suits, polyester shirts for men and polyester blouses for women were all the rage. Oh man, we wore the heck out of polyester!
As popular as it was, though, the snobby kids turned their noses up to it due to its cheap alternative to silk. And it didn’t breathe like natural fibers, so wearing that leisure suit to go disco dancing was NOT as glamorous as it looked in Saturday Night Fever.
Nowadays, it would perhaps be conscious consumers, not snobby kids, looking down their noses at traditional polyester wear. That petrochemical polyester, known as virgin polyester, creates a huge drain on our natural resources. It takes an enormous amount of water and lots of energy during production. So instead, T4T recycles old plastic bottles to make organic polyester. Not only does this use 50% less energy and produces 50% less CO2 emissions, but it also keeps bottles and waste out of landfills. Fantastic!
Another natural material T4T uses is Lenzing Modal, an incredibly soft CO2 neutral fiber extracted from the pulp of beech wood. The beech trees are never cut down in the process. Instead, they’re trimmed to harvest and left to rejuvenate themselves without any artificial irrigation. Ninety-five percent of these production materials are recovered and reused.
T4T’s manufacturing plants are located in Weihai, China; Bangalore, India; and near the Tsavo National Park inside an 80,000-acre wildlife preserve in Kenya. They are responsibly Fair Trade and WRAP-certified factories. They are also carbon neutral with 80% of all water used in production being recycled. Workers are provided fair wages, and the surrounding wildlife is protected, as well.
The company’s sustainability mission doesn’t stop with the manufacturing of merchandise. From the owners down to all 20+ amazing workers, they maintain a mindset of “giving back” to their communities as evidenced by a recent campaign of theirs entitled “Give A Shit.”
Eric posts on social media how he “gives a shit” about our planet. He said he cares deeply about finding ways to reuse materials that would otherwise be discarded, as with composting. He’s always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint to help solve the challenges of climate change. One particular weekend at home found him visiting numerous community gardens on the Lower East Side in New York City. He’s delighted by the successful composting programs taking place all across the neighborhood, hopefully paving the way to city-wide composting.
Leigh also posts on the company’s Facebook page about how she “gives a shit” about humanity. Through her efforts, T4T is a proud supporter of the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) New Roots program. IRC is on the frontline responding to today’s humanitarian crises here in the USA and worldwide. Leigh remains actively involved with the organization both at home with resettled refugees in NYC and at a hygiene center in Kara Tepe Lesvos in Greece.
In learning what all the workers of T4T are passionate about, you get a feel for the genuine love and care that goes into the making of their products. It’s that simple. Therefore, wearing their recycled products makes you feel good knowing you’ve become an extension of the work they’ve put in place to protect the planet and provide a healthier future.
Also, every time you purchase $100 or more of T4T merchandise, they donate 10% of your purchase directly to IRC. Kudos to T4T for having raised $200,000 for the IRC last year!
It’s this kind of company that helps make us better people, better givers and leaves our communities cleaner than how we found them. It’s only a matter of time before T4T’s efforts are duplicated around the globe and for generations to come.