NEW OLD SHIRTS: US Blanks’ tees are made entirely from recycled fabric.

NEW OLD SHIRTS: US Blanks’ tees are made entirely from recycled fabric.


US Blanks: The Recycled T-shirt

The apparel industry has been criticized for wasteful manufacturing practices and fouling the environment with dyes to color clothes. This year US Blanks, a basics manufacturer headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, believes that it can offer an alternative.

US Blanks’ Recycled Men’s Crew shirt uses little water and little dyes and creates few emissions, said Kevin Kelly, chief executive officer and co-owner of US Blanks. The label’s Recycled Men’s Crew is made entirely from recycled fabric. The label also makes a 100 percent recycled shirt for women.

“We have sold recycled polyester and organic cotton,” Kelly noted. But his company had never used a fabric made entirely of 100 percent recycled materials.

The fabric Kelly is using is called Recover. The fibers are manufactured by Hilaturas Ferre, a Spanish yarn manufacturer. Recover is made of fibers that come from recycled clothes, factory waste and polyester made from recycled plastics. It avoids using dyes due to Hilaturas Ferre’s proprietary open-end spinning technology.

The process produces colored yarns from recycled material, some of which have been colored by low-impact dyes. US Blanks knits and finishes the fabric and produces the garments.

Recover fabric has been used by Spanish fashion companies such as Zara and Mango, but it’s just beginning to be used in the United States, said Isaac Nichelson, founder of sustainable fashion consultants Sustainable Source Studios and a salesman for Recover. “It’s literally the lowest-impact yarn on the planet,” Nichelson said of Recover. “But it is a high-quality yarn.”

The wholesale price point for the Recycled Men’s Crew T-shirt is $5.85, Kelly said. The women’s recycled T-shirt is $5.65.

US Blanks typically sells to screen printers, distributors and promotional companies.

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