Three fashion firms — Earth Creations, Nancy’s Gone Green and Maggie’s Organics — were chosen to receive the latest Green America quarterly “People & Planet Award,” given to America’s best green, small businesses.
This story first appeared in the October 23, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Each winner, selected by the public through a month-long open voting period online at Green America’s Web site, receives $5,000. The People & Planet Awards recognize innovative entrepreneurial U.S. businesses that integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. This round of the awards focused on green businesses that have committed to the production of apparel in an ethical manner.
Alisa Gravitz, president of Green America, said: “The Bangladesh sweatshop accident this year cast into stark relief the terrible conditions that many workers in the clothing industry endure and which also claim lives. Yet, these three businesses prove that there are alternatives to that reality. Green America is proud to recognize businesses that demonstrate a commitment to green products and to the pursuit of safe working conditions and fair living wages with this People & Planet Award.”
Earth Creations, based in Bessemer, Ala., produces a full line of organic apparel for men, women and children. Its clothes are dyed with natural and low-impact colors. Originally inspired by the color of Alabama red dirt, the company started experimenting with clay as a dye for T-shirts more than 17 years ago. With a sewing plant in Moulton, Ala., Earth Creations’ mission is to create high-quality, eco-friendly clothing in a sustainable manner.
Martin Ledvina, co-owner of Earth Creations, said, “We express our commitment to people and the planet through our organic, made-in-the-USA clothing, as well as community outreach. Some of our recent activities include participation and donations for a fashion event that is to benefit the Alabama Environmental Council in its efforts to restore the Birmingham Recycling Center. Some of the funds received from Green America will be devoted to similar projects as part of a grass-roots campaign to build awareness and educate consumers about the Slow Fashion Movement, referring to an effort to bring together the “sustainable,” “eco,” “green” and “ethical” fashion movements.
Nancy’s Gone Green in Framingham, Mass., is an eco-friendly online boutique. It works with established and up-and-coming designers to offer finely crafted collections that are organic, recycled, fair trade or made in the U.S. It uses a system of “eco icons” to let consumers know about the ethics behind every product. The company is developing an organic clothing line to be made by artisans in Nepal.
Mary Savoca, co-owner of Nancy’s Gone Green, said the grant will be used to develop the organic line, adding, “We’ll be introducing the first pieces from our new collection starting this [month], with organic cotton and bamboo dresses and tops.”
Maggie’s Organics, based in Ypsilanti, Mich., produces a line of socks, tights, leggings, scarves and apparel made from organic wool and organic cotton grown by 3,000 family farmers, and is produced by three supply chains that include worker-owned cooperatives, and family-owned and -operated U.S. sock mills.
“Since our founding back in 1992, one of Maggie’s missions has been to connect the workers that make our socks and apparel to the folks that wear them,” said Bena Burda, owner of Maggie’s Organics. “We dedicate the proceeds from the People & Planet Award to bringing more of our cooperative producers to meet and interact with our customers.”