Introducing: Plant-based Colors on 100% US Cotton
We're always in pursuit of ways to make our clothing more sustainably. So, we're excited to launch a limited edition line of natural dye t-shirts in collaboration with Botanical Colors. Colors from the Earth. Fibers from the Earth. Unparalleled look and comfort.
STEP 1. COTTON. America is the third biggest cotton-farming nation in the world. Nearly all of that cotton gets put on ships and is sent to China, India or somewhere else in Asia to be spun into yarn, knit into fabric, sewn into clothes and then shipped back across the ocean for us to buy it as cheaply as possible. The result? Bye, bye American factory jobs.
Welcome to the antidote! We’re taking American cotton and keeping it America, more specifically right here in the Carolinas.
Pictured here is Andrew Burleson, a third generation farmer in New London, NC and one of the cotton growers behind our shirts, As a Solid State farming partner, he and his family will make nearly double on his crop, making it more likely he can pass his farm on to the next generation.
STEP 2. YARN. After the cotton is harvested, it needs to be spun into yarn. This takes place at Parkdale Mills in Sanford, NC. Founded in 1916, Parkdale is a pioneer in the happy art of of zero-waste manufacturing. Discarded fiber is turned into products like cotton balls and swabs. Thread waste is used in insulation. Organic waste is turned into fertilizer and livestock food.
STEP 3. KNITTING. After the yarn is made, it needs to be knit into fabric. This is what the good folks at Contempora Fabrics do. Founded in Lumberton, NC in 1972, Contempora moved to partial employee ownership in 1984 and became wholly employee-owned in 1988. They're deeply involved in their community, supporting multiple local charities and employing high school students during summer break.
STEP 4. SEWING. The fabric is cut and sewn by yet another employee-owned company — Opportunity Threads in Morganton, NC. Based on a threefold ethical platform integrating social, environmental, and economic benefits for the local community, Opportunity Threads is part of a new generation of businesses reinventing American manufacturing in a way that gives workers a seat at the table.
STEP 5. DYEING. At this point, all the shirts are white. The dyeing is done by T.S. Designs in in an old hosiery facility in downtown Burlington, NC. After nearly going out of business in 1993 when the North American Free Trade Agreement sent manufactures to Mexico in search of lower prices, T.S. Designs reinvented itself as a triple bottom line company, holding themselves accountable for People, the Planet and Profits. It's all part of our efforts to revive and re-purpose the American community of making things, so it's fair and rewarding for everyone involved! (FYI, T.S. Designs is the main company behind Solid State).
BEHIND THE SHIRTS
FIVE REASONS YOU'LL LOVE YOUR SOLID STATE SHIRT.
1. It's made from super comfortable ringspun cotton. Ringspinning is an extra step during which the cotton is spun around a ring mechanism to create a finer, tighter gauge of thread. The result is a noticeably softer shirt that doesn't pill or get holes as quickly as ordinary cotton. Bottom line, ringspun shirts feel better and last longer. Now, your favorite, comfiest t-shirt can also be your longest-lasting.
2. As you can see from the photos, all Solid State shirts are white until the very last step when we dye them. It also ensures that your shirt will always fit, because the same step that colors the shirt also pre-shrinks the shirt. You can soak your Solid State shirt in boiling water and it will not shrink (yup, we've tried this).
3. Extra tough where it matters. We sew our seams with what’s called a “4-needle overlock stitch.” If we were carpenters, it would be equivalent of using big bolts instead of little nails. This reinforces the areas that get the most stretch. It makes your shirt last longer.
4. The front collar! This is the part of the shirt closest to your face, so we add single-needle chainstich that helps it lay flat and look sharp.
5. Tailored fit. Back in the early 1900's, when t-shirts first entered people's wardrobe — starting with sailors — they were more fitted. Based on our love of those old sailor photos, we've designed our t-shirts with a more classic, tailored look. We also spent a lot of time on details like sleeve length and where the shoulder seam sits — the way we look at it, there’s no reason why a t-shirt can’t be your best-fitting shirt. However, if you like a bigger, boxy fit (not to mention a a super soft, long-lasting shirt with a heckuva front collar) just order a size or two bigger.