Here are a few things you should know about our t-shirts:
Independent: Vaguely Bohemian is a micro-business based in Vermont’s Champlain Valley. You can check out what the proprietress, Kristen Eaton, has been up to at www.vaguelybohemian.com.
Printed locally: They’re printed here in Vermont, by the indie business Amalgamated Culture Works. This company has been custom screen printing shirts in Burlington, VT since 1981. They’re awesome, in general and at what they do. For extra points, they have a very friendly and really lovely dog who greeted me as soon as I walked in the first time I visited.
Sourced from companies with vision:
Our blank hemp shirts are made by ONNO a Colorado-based company that only uses sustainable fabrics (hemp, bamboo, and organic cotton) in their t-shirts.
Our youth blanks are made of organic cotton grown and sewn in the USA by SOS from Texas. “SOS” stands for “save our soil,” and their motto is “We grow t-shirts.”
The blank adult cotton t-shirts come from Aurum Organic, an originally Burlington, VT-based business. Aurum Organic is owned by Comfort Colors, which was based out of Northfield, Vermont. The Comfort Colors line was previously dyed here in Vermont. WCAX recently reported that Gildan, which acquired Comfort Colors in 2015, has decided to close the Northfield and Berlin, VT facilities. I’m not aware of any other t-shirt manufacturers in Vermont, but am monitoring the situation and seeking more independent alternatives.
Hemp: ONNO says, “As a fabric, hemp filters UV light, so your skin is protected. It resists bacterial growth [and wicks moisture]. Hemp has four times the strength of cotton so it won’t weaken when washed.
“Hemp only uses 1/20th the amount of water to grow and process as regular cotton. Hemp is naturally less vulnerable to insects and crowds out other weeds so pesticides and fertilizers become obsolete when we deal with hemp…
“The roots of the hemp plant are like tentacles reaching out under the earth. They can grow to twelve inches long in only a month, which helps prevent erosion of topsoil. The roots can grow up to lengths of three feet or longer. They anchor into the soil and preserve the topsoil and subsoil, keeping them healthy for years without needing to rotate the crop, unlike cotton which depletes the soil of nutrients.”
Organic Cotton: Why is it important to opt for organic cotton vs. conventional? The Rodale Institute reports that cotton growers use 16% of the world’s pesticides and that cotton is one of the top four GMO crops in the world. (Whether or not you believe GMOs can be used for good, there are troubling issues around the patenting and corporate control over seeds.) Organic cotton is GMO-free and grown without the use of synthetic pesticides.
The youth organic cotton t-shirts are grown and made in the USA.
The hemp t-shirts are made by ONNO. ONNO describes the steps they’ve taken to ensure the production of their shirts is fair and humane here.
Aurum Organic says, “One unwavering rule lies at the core of our business philosophy: we will conduct our businesses in strict compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the law and to the highest standard of ethics. To this end, Aurum Organic monitors strict guidelines for our supply chain, including our agents and the manufacturers and suppliers of the goods we buy.” Read their guidelines here.
For many reasons (among them environmental impact and nourishing local/regional economies), in the long run I’m working on being able to offer shirts that have been manufactured as close to home as possible. There are a variety of considerations and challenges to making this happen, but I would welcome any suggestions if you know a manufacturer I should look into. Hopefully, as hemp becomes a more widely-appreciated crop, Vaguely Bohemian will even be able to offer hemp t-shirts that are locally or at least US-made from farm to bureau!