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The main shirts that Mushpa + Mensa hand-print their original designs on is Alternative Apparel’s 100% organic collection, made from pesticide-free organic cotton.
Is Alternative’s cotton certified organic?
A: Yes. Anything in our line stating it is 100% Organic Cotton is certified organic cotton, produced pesticide-free. We keep copies of the organic certificates on file.
The dyes used to color Alternative Apparel’s pesticide-free organic cotton tees are low-impact dyes. Let’s breakdown this process called low-impact dying. A low-impact dye is a dye that has been classified by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 as eco-friendly. Generally, low impact dyes do not contain toxic chemicals, heavy metals (like chrome, copper and zinc), or mordants (a substance, typically an inorganic oxide, that combines with a dye or stain and thereby fixes it in a material).
Low-impact dyes are dyes with a higher than average absorption rate (70%-80%, depending on the color). This means less water is required in the rinse process and less dye runs off in the water; therefore, the dyes have a lower impact on the environment. Alternative Apparel also use a G2 Eco-Wash to finish garments which uses 60% less water and no chemicals.
Alternative Earth’s collection water washes with reclaimed water, the organic cotton is certified, biodegradable fabric softeners and natural enzymes for their super-soft finishes to make the best basics.
Alternative Apparel make their clothing from sustainable fabrics (currently 65% of the fabrics they use are eco-friendly, although they are working to increase this figure), with a transparent supply chain in officially audited factories.
Alternative Apparel publishes its factory vendor guidelines, which the company says are in line with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) Workplace Code of Conduct, on its Social Responsibility page. The company states that many of its factories have Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production (WRAP) certification, and that Alternative Apparel places ethics as a priority in vendor selection: Alternative Apparel is committed to safe working practices for all employees.
Manufacturing: They have all the right policies against forced labor, child labor, abuse, and insufficient wages — and they work nearly as hard on keeping their clothing non-toxic. Their factories are frequently inspected to make sure their dying processes are toxin-free, and their wool is sourced from sustainable alpaca farms in Peru.
The first elements we consider when selecting a vendor is their ability to meet our social compliance standards and the quality of their products … Typically, there are only certain geographic areas of the world that can meet our production needs. We head to those areas and search for vendors that exceed our expectations and requirements. If a factory does not meet our social compliance standards from the very beginning, we don’t even consider them. After that, we base or search on the quality of the goods and the efficiency with which they can be produced.
Environment: Thirty percent of their sales are from the Alternative Earth line Mushpa + Mensa uses, which is made from organic cotton, low-impact dyes, energy-efficient facilities, and absolutely no toxic substances. A portion of their sales benefits a variety of environmental organizations and charities.
Philanthropy: Alternative donates to multitudes of different charities under their “Common Thread” program. For instance, like with STATE: Going Beyond the Bag. STATE Bags one-for-one model provides at-risk kids with a fully-stocked backpack every time someone purchases a bag. That means when you get an awesome bag, you support #GiveBackPack at the same time.