Article: Introducing: The Marigold Beanie
Introducing: The Marigold Beanie
Made in North Carolina from 100% recaptured wool and naturally dyed with locally-grown marigold flowers.
Local sourcing. Less Waste. More natural dyes. Complete transparency in the supply chain.
Solid State Clothing's latest project — a collaboration with Carolina Textile District (CTD) and Fonta Flora Brewery — weaves our core values into a product we’re proud to present, one that represents all that we stand for… the Marigold Beanie.
We’re so happy to introduce you to this naturally dyed beanie made from 100% recaptured wool that was saved from the landfill by Material Return, a partner company that creates new raw materials from post-production and post-consumer textile waste.
Who are the collaborators on this project and how did it all come together? Well, we’ve always said, “It takes a village,” and that’s true more than ever as we’re building a local, transparent supply chain. The Marigold Beanie is a product of our village.
Carolina Textile District
The Carolina Textile District has been in place for nearly a decade. Started in 2013 by Manufacturing Solutions Center, Burke Development Inc, and Opportunity Threads, CTD champions an American supply chain.
“CTD connects makers, designers, and entrepreneurs to a reliable domestic supply chain in order to make quality products here at home… By facilitating active collaboration amongst makers and manufacturers across Western North Carolina—and ensuring an ethical, values-based process—we are reimagining the future of the American textile industry.” – Carolina Textile District
CTD’s Director Catherine Armstrong is committed to the local textile community. “Our goal is to revitalize the textile industry locally as people are coming back to the United States for production,” Armstrong says.
“We have all kinds of programs that support manufacturers, everything from workforce development training to waste recycling. We have a whole initiative that takes back textile waste and recycles it into new yarns. And we’re basically just a big community for these small to mid-sized manufacturers who have survived and are thriving again.”
Fonta Flora Brewery
“Fonta Flora utilizes local artists to help conceptualize the notion that fermentation is yet another medium for creating art. This uniquely artisan approach to beer yields a sustainable product filled with culture from our very own community.” – Fonta Flora Brewery
Fonta Flora Brewery got its start in 2013 in an old flat iron brick building in downtown Morganton, NC, and it’s grown in the years since.
“In 2017, we expanded our operations out to the Lake James area,” says Co-founder Todd Boera. “Our production facility is now on a 15-acre former dairy farm, and we make all of our beer there these days. We also have an agricultural program growing annual crops — marigolds, perennial fruit trees, crops that are culturally significant to the area by way of native fruit trees, like the North American persimmon and the pawpaw tree.”
Textiles, Beer, and Beanies — Made in North Carolina
Textiles and beer may seem like an odd mix, but Carolina Textile District, Solid State Clothing, and Fonta Flora Brewery share values of strengthening the local community, offering products that are locally sourced and crafted, and more. The collaboration on the marigold beanies came about naturally… through connections and conversations.
One of Carolina Textile District’s projects is COLLECTION, and as its name implies, it’s a collection of products, and they’re all made in North Carolina. When customers purchase COLLECTION pieces, they’re supporting the revitalization of local manufacturing and the jobs that come with that. COLLECTION paused during the pandemic as the focus of CTD turned toward production of masks and gowns. When they shipped the last boxes of masks out at the beginning of 2022, Carolina Textile District was ready for a new COLLECTION project.
“Our goal with COLLECTION is to showcase the amazing craftsmanship and work that our industry in our region is doing in textiles and to highlight the amazing materials that are coming out of our region as well,” says Armstrong. “When we were brainstorming ideas, Material Return picked up this awesome 100% wool deadstock yarn on one of the routes. The wool would’ve ended up in the landfill. We really wanted to make some beanies, so we started prototyping them.” And that’s how the idea for the marigold beanie was born.
Then Armstrong joined Carolina Textile District’s staff for a routine Thursday night stop-in at Fonta Flora Brewery. There she learned about the farm that’s home to Fonta Flora’s production facility.
“Everyone on our staff was talking about the amazing farm out by Lake James,” Armstrong explains. “And I thought, ‘I’ve got to look this up. I’ve got to figure out what these people are doing.’ So, I had a meeting with Brit and Todd. We talked about using some of the plants they grow on their farm — potentially for natural dye.”
Wool in hand. Plants abundantly available. The next step was connecting with Courtney Lockemer, Solid State’s Brand Manager and the dye specialist for Carolina Textile District, to pull it all together.
“Courtney and I talked about what a naturally dyed beanie could look like,” says Armstrong. “And we landed on marigolds as the dye source. Fonta Flora’s farm had them readily available, and when we did the dye tests in August, it worked! We got this beautiful color.”
Launching the Marigold Beanie
The Marigold Beanie represents so much of what we’re about — local sourcing and manufacturing, circular textile manufacturing with less waste, natural dyes, transparency in the supply chain, collaboration.
“Now, we're really excited to launch a small batch of these marigold beanies,” says Armstrong. “We’d hoped to bring people together in our community and create a product with a transparent NC-based supply chain. In December, we’re bringing it all back together for the launch at Fonta Flora. It’s an opportunity for celebrating a year of hard work for everyone in all aspects of our different businesses and for celebrating our region.”
“We're super excited to be
partnering with a company that aligns so much with our values,” says Brit Josa, Marketer and Event Planner for Fonta Flora Brewery. “What we try to do with the supply chain for our beer is either growing raw materials on our farm or sourcing as locally as possible. So, this whole project is really exciting. It’s a perfect meeting of the minds. We also love that gold color! And being able to use something that we grew on the farm for something that's not beer is really exciting.”
“We've been brewing beer with local agriculture as the star of the show since we opened in 2013,” Boera adds. “To have the opportunity to use a local ingredient that we grew on our farm and to be thinking outside the box about what's possible with local agriculture is really neat. Also, to find that there are organizations out there that are doing the same thing we are and to be able to link up for a project like this has been really special.”
Where to Get a Marigold Beanie
The Marigold Beanies launched Dec. 10, 2022 at the Yuletide Art Market at Fonta Flora's taproom in Morganton, NC. The beanies sold out in one weekend! Sign up for our email list to get notified about the launch of the 2023 crop of marigold beanies, sign up for our email list.