THE COTTON CLUB
Byline: Karen Robinovitz
NEW YORK — Osaj is a totally organic experience, and one that Renee Dixon is totally passionate about.
The 27-year-old entrepreneur has created Osaj, a line of women’s panties and men’s boxer shorts made from organic cotton. Organic cotton is grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides and processed without dyes or bleach.
“I wanted to do something that wouldn’t just be good for the environment, but also for the body,” notes Dixon, who says her research indicated skin absorbs chemicals from clothing fibers.
Dixon attended the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences, but left when she was a junior in 1992. “I was eager to move to New York and work,” she says. She started her fashion career as an administrative assistant at a dress manufacturer, and then became an accessories saleswoman.
“I was trying to figure out what to do with my life, all the while reading up on organic fabrics,” says Dixon, who was surprised to find herself intrigued by textiles. And she was fascinated by the work of Sally Fox, a pioneer in the manufacture of organic fabrics. Inspired by Fox’s research and accomplishments, Dixon ventured off on her own three years ago to launch Osaj, a word she created from the first letters of the months of her friends’ birthdays.
“I wasn’t experienced enough to do a full line [of apparel] that changes every season, so I thought underwear was the best bet,” she says. “It’s close to the body and a good way to introduce people to the purity of organic cotton.”
The line includes four styles of women’s panties — briefs, thongs and low-cut and high-cut bikinis — all in the earthy ecru color of cotton before it’s dyed white. Her men’s line is made up solely of boxers.
So far, the men’s line is surpassing the women’s line in sales. “Men and women shop differently,” Dixon says. “Men come in, feel it and buy six. Women consider every little detail and shop around for lingerie because the market is so full of choices.”
Osaj can be found at Earth General in New York; Anch Organics in Palm Beach, Calif.; Organic Cotton Co. in Venice Beach, Calif., and 2 The Future (a mail-order catalog and Web site at 1-888-901-2100 or http://www.2thefuture.com). Wholesale prices are $6 for panties and $8.50 for boxers.
Dixon is working on expanding the line; she hopes to include bras and nightgowns.