Every morning, billions of people around the world will put on a shirt as part of their attire. The shirt each person puts on provides a glimpse into how they want to “brand” themselves on that particular day .... Is that person dressing in a casual way or a formal way? Are they dressed to impress or dressed to keep a low profile? Are they dressed to focus on style and glamour or with function and utility prioritized? Are they associating with a widely identifiable brand name or a more unique, niche label?
A shirt can show preparation, class, and individualism .... literally becoming part of that person on a given day. It’s no wonder most shirt companies position their logo so that it overlaps a person’s heart.
So wear shirts that make you proud, wear shirts that you want to be associated with, wear shirts made by brands you want to promote, wear shirts that give voice to what you believe, and wear shirts that make you smile a little more often! How you dress often becomes how you feel and how you feel quickly becomes who you are and who you are quickly becomes how others remember you.
Natural Border shirts represent what we believe to look the best from a fit and style standpoint, what we believe to be optimal from a comfort and function standpoint, and what we believe will create the best representation of our shared commitment and values. It all stems from a mission to create more sensibility from field to fashion. Consider shopping with these qualities in mind: durability, efficient & fair trade, preservation, and sustainability. Perhaps it’s not surprising that, as a shirt company, Natural Border is trying to broadcast the need to dress in a way that’s better for you and better for our planet. But there's a surprising lack of alternatives to mass-produced, uniformity-driven, unsustainably-constructed clothing that is marketed to the wearer for mostly surface reasons that Natural Border has covered as well (it’ll make you look great, it’ll fit you comfortably, etc).
Natural Border was established with the ambition to become a company built on activism, craftsmanship, durability, environmental minimalism, local production, performance innovation, and sustainable development. The lifecycle for clothing can be broken into two kinetic parts. The first part of the cycle is the “pre-purchase” process that transpires before you buy your favorite label. The second part of the clothing lifecycle is the “post-purchase” experience, often accounting for over half of the garment’s environmental footprint. Natural Border is committed to helping this entire cycle.
Clothing is typically made of fabric that begins as a crop that's grown and harvested. The crop is then broken down and is woven or knit into the desired fabric. Cotton is the world’s most popular clothing fabric. Cotton is farmed, utilizing water consumption and irrigation in line with other crops …. typically requiring more water than sweet corn and broccoli and generally on levels comparable to a naval orange crop (just in case you were wondering :). Because cotton is quite thirsty and is often grown in arid climates, it represents at least 2.6% of the world’s water use. Due to a higher consumption rate of cotton clothes in the United States, the US citizen has a cotton-related water footprint about 3 times larger than the global average. Texas is the leading cotton producing US state, China is the leading cotton producing country, and the world is the leading cotton producing planet. Conventional, non-organic cotton is also one of the most pesticide dependent crops in the world. Cotton accounts for about 3% of the world’s farmland, but globally consumes nearly 10% of the pesticide use and 15% of the insecticide use.
All Natural Border shirts are constructed using a viscose fabric that’s woven from 100% bamboo fiber. Bamboo is a grass that has a growth cycle that is extremely beneficial to the environment .... not only because it enriches the soil and atmosphere, but because it's the fastest growing woody plant in the world. Bamboo also has a short harvest time because it can grow up to two feet per day and naturally has antimicrobial, bacteria-resistant qualities. This next sentence will give most the heebie jeebies and will require earmuffs for the kids: Bamboo grows in such a robust way that it was used as an ancient torture method when a person was chained to the ground and the bamboo shoots would sprout through the person in a matter of days and weeks (Mythbusters© even verified this). Bamboo only needs rainwater to flourish (no irrigation or pesticides). It can grow on otherwise unusable land. Chemicals used in manufacturing are applied in a closed loop process, which prevents chemicals from leaving the factory and entering the rivers and water supply.
The fabric itself is then tested for harmful substances and is in accordance with the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 (the international testing and certification system for textiles). The bamboo pulp used to make the fabric will set it apart from the rest of the fabrics in your wardrobe because of its uniquely lightweight and soft qualities. Because bamboo pulp is naturally thermal regulating, it will maintain a cooler feel in the summer and a warmer feel in the winter. The fabric dyes used are not harmful to the environment. The Natural Border shirts are “double stitched” for durability and style in a North Carolina factory. The thread is strong, locally produced, and dyed with chemicals that are Oeko-Tex certified (the standard for human ecology in the most stringent product class for babies). Fewer stitches per inch are used in the sewing pattern, since durability can be improved with the fewer times the needle passes through the fabric.
It’s usually not a great situation when a button falls off your garment, but it almost always happens during care or wear, and usually because the requisite thread deteriorated. So why not avoid the situation altogether? Natural Border shirts utilize brass, copper, and white bronze finished snaps to improve the shirt’s utility, style, and post-purchase lifecycle. The collar, cuff, pocket flap, and front placket are all reinforced with interfacing that's literally sewn inside. All Natural Border shirts are labeled with a premium tagless printed label and come with a merchandise tag that's been designed to be used as a unique coaster or bookmark. If the tag is planted down the road (or, more literally, in a flower bed or pot), it's been designed to sprout fresh basil or parsley; it’s a process that completely skips the landfill.
All Natural Border shipping materials are eco-friendly. Garments are shipped in packaging using stone paper, making them 100% waterproof and manufactured using a tree-free, water-free, and chemical-free process. The packaging will eventually photo-degrade if left in direct UV sunlight for at least 12 months or can be dispatched with other recyclables. Separate and often superfluous packaging slips saturate today’s marketplace. Essential style, size, and color information is printed directly on the shipping envelopes utilizing the same soy inks used throughout the printed graphics; detailed information is securely sent electronically. The Natural Border company implements optimal manufacturing and transport logistics, while minimizing pre-purchase air freight. Even the Natural Border storefront is eco-friendly since shopping can be done from home, therefore eliminating intermediary shipping to distribution centers and retail storefronts.
Water is the most fundamental need for every human, yet about 1.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. A child dies about every twenty seconds because of unsafe drinking water, which results in a water-related disease. The Natural Border company has partnered with a lean, international, volunteer-based nonprofit to provide well pumps in areas that lack clean, accessible drinking water. As a result of this partnership, EACH LONG SLEEVE NATURAL BORDER SHIRT DIRECTLY ENABLES ONE CHILD TO HAVE CLEAN, SAFE DRINKING WATER FOR UP TO TEN YEARS; EACH SHORT SLEEVE PROVIDES UP TO SEVEN YEARS OF CLEAN, SAFE DRINKING WATER.
The post-purchase impact of clothing on the environment is substantial and the Natural Border team took extra time to calculate an approach to minimize this impact. It starts with the logo and the desire of the brand to gain traction based on global sustainability. The logo itself is identifiable in part because of its resemblance to a world map. The Natural Border message is to support the planet through pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase decisions. The logo showcases a flag of the world as a reminder that protecting the planet is an issue that should quite literally be near and dear to our hearts. The irremovable, ink pad-printed care label on each shirt informs the wearer to “wash in cold water”, since this reduces shrinkage and lowers the energy use of the washing machine. And the tag also instructs to “line dry” since this extends the life of the garment and eliminates the significant energy consumption of a clothes dryer. The shirt can withstand the dryer, yet when hung in a well ventilated area your Natural Border shirt only needs a bit more dry time than your clothes that come out of the dryer. Ironing the shirt while it remains slightly damp also makes this process slightly easier. So why not line dry and if you use this method with all of your clothes, that’s totally rad too.
The team also broadcasts a message to keep your clothes as long as possible, pass your discarded wardrobe along as hand-me-downs, and don’t be scared to purchase clothing second-hand since this eliminates the landfill part of the equation. And don’t be afraid to use bamboo hangers as an alternative to plastic or metal hangers.
Efforts are constantly being made to put the most sustainable practices and the most fashion-conscious approach into every shirt. The shirts are marketable because of their function and style advantages, but success won’t fully be measured until the trend becomes better cooperation with the environment and with each other. When you put on your shirt each morning, what story will start your day? What will be the story you want to share throughout the day? What will be your story when the day is done?
Every morning, billions of people around the world will put on a shirt as part of their attire. The shirt each person puts on provides a glimpse into how they want to “brand” themselves on that particular day …. brand yourself .... brand each other …. brand the planet .... brand your heart .... it’s a brand new day and another opportunity to help create a more Natural Border.