This is part one to a multi part series about the process of becoming more environmentally friendly and creating a larger social impact. This series will be titled "Changing the Whole World". As a socially focused company, it would be a huge ethical misstep and oversight to say we care about one certain population (individuals affected by incarceration), while entirely ignoring massive other subsets of the population and the world. For example, picture a company that created shirts and sent the proceeds to help homeless children. Great right? But what if their shirts (hypothetically) were made in a 100% coal fueled factory that put out harmful smoke that was sickening and killing the residents of the local communities where the factory was located. And what if the factory was operated by children under the age of 10 who were only paid 10c an hour. Would the company still be considered ethical just because they give the proceeds from the shirts away? Not at all! This is something we have had to spend a great amount of time considering. So this series will be about how we have confronted various ethical frictions in our production process so that we can provide a product for our customers that does vastly more good than harm.
So let's get into the first part: Reclaiming Clothing. Reclaiming Lives.
In mid 2018 I got the idea to open up a new part of the business. I had become acquainted with the fact that t-shirt production is by no means beneficial for the environment. This is an inescapable fact. In order to produce somewhat affordable clothing so that an important message (Forgive Everyone) can be brought into the world, I was going to have an impact on the environment.
Because of this realization, I poured efforts into finding ways to reduce my impact on the environment and in every part of the production process. I will dedicate a whole blog post to this process as well as to the production we have settled on for producing ethical shirts.
However, through this search I came across a unique solution that was absolutely without question the most environmentally friendly and socially conscious option out there. The best thing is, it is an option that stays affordable and contributes no new waste to the environment. It is more economical than 100% organic hemp based clothing, bamboo threads, or any of the other thousand ethical clothing options. The option was reclaimed clothing.
Reclaimed clothing is simply second-hand clothing that is still in good enough condition to be worn again. And again. And AGAIN! This is called the circular economy. When someone is done with an item, rather than throwing it away, they give it to someone else or to a thrift store which sells it again for another person to enjoy. As a college student, most times the only clothing purchases I make are at thrift stores. The clothes are unique, inexpensive, and the purchase often times contributes to a non-profit organization that is running the store. It's just an all around feel good experience. This is the motivation I took to create the Reclaimed Clothing section on Forgive Everyone Co.
Our reclaimed clothing is bought from Goodwill. Goodwill, for those who don't know, in addition to running their thrift stores, provides meaningful employment opportunity and job training to under-served members of the population (a large portion of which are formerly incarcerated). This is synergetic with our overall brand mission. The more we can engage with helping people who are formerly incarcerated and contributing to their success the better!
We then print our designs on the clothing with environmentally friendly and locally sourced inks. By printing our clothing ourselves, we are greatly decreasing impact on the environment by cutting out the middle man (we can also get a lot more creative with the designs). By having our reclaimed clothing collection, we are impacting formerly incarcerated men and women with our purchase from Goodwill, not impacting the environment in our printing and production, and with your purchase, again impacting formerly incarcerated men and women with our companies donations to non-profits providing housing, employment, rehabilitation, and mentorship to these populations. Lastly, we provide you with a story with every purchase, impacting your life and your peers lives as you are able to be further educated and acquainted with these issues. It's a full circle of impact.
So next time you are on our site, check out our reclaimed section. Stuff sells out quickly there because every piece is a 1:1 meaning it is only made once. Our new stuff is great too, and our next blog will talk about the care we take in our sourcing for garments in our new clothing collections (it's all ethical too!). And if you've already bought something from us and are looking to order something new, consider passing on your old shirt to a friend or a thrift shop and keep that circular economy going.
Forgive Everyone is a movement for EVERYONE. At the end of the day, we all share this big 'ol planet together, so let's take care of it and one another. #ForgiveEveryone