EARTH DAY DYES
Taylor Stitch and Botanical Colors Join Forces for an Earth Day Collection
While the argument can be made that each day offers opportunities for making new choices to promote environmental responsibility, on April 22, Earth Day will bring the health of the planet center stage. As a brand whose mission is cemented in creating long-lasting, more-responsible menswear, Taylor Stitch in San Francisco is eagerly anticipating the observance of Earth Day in order to promote the values by which it operates every day.
“We are building products that will live for years or decades to come,” Luke McAlpine, director of partnerships, said. “We like to build products that wear in, not out, and get better with age. From a quality perspective and a style perspective, they are the opposite of fast fashion.”
To observe Earth Day 2020, the brand intended on announcing the launch of its Restitch program as a permanent, evergreen staple within the Taylor Stitch family of products. Launched last year, Restitch relies on Taylor Stitch goods that are bought back from customers, allowing the brand to repair and resell the pieces as new products.
“Earth Day originally for us was a day that we planned to launch Restitch as an evergreen format. We finally had enough inventory to support it year-round as a program,” McAlpine said. “Our facility that manages Restitch operationally was closed due to COVID-19, so we are not able to launch it on Earth Day but it will come later this year.”
Simply bypassing Earth Day without contributing to the community in an ecologically responsible manner was not an option for the brand. Instead, Taylor Stitch partnered with Botanical Colors, the dye house that relies on plants and natural sources to create its nontoxic, biodegradable hues. As one of the five pillars of Taylor Stitch’s sustainable values, the commitment to producing in small quantities can be found in this collection, which will feature only two styles of the brand’s popular shirts—the Heavy Bag T-shirt and the Jack Everyday Oxford.
“We partnered with Botanical Colors, which is a natural-dye organization. A lot of dyes are harmful to the environment, so we wanted to showcase the natural dye. It’s really cool from a product and character perspective,” McAlpine said. “They dyed each of those uniquely in a Shibori or tie-dye pattern.”
In addition to the natural dyes, the foundation of these products prior to their arrival at the dye house was more responsible.
“The Heavy Bag program is cool,” McAlpine said. “It’s a yarn that uses zero water to produce the garment itself, and the yarn is a blend of upcycled cotton and recycled poly.”
The environmental efforts for this capsule collection will expand beyond selling the limited collection of 25 Oxfords and 50 T-shirts that utilize natural dyes. A philanthropic angle of the collection features pieces that were dyed by natural-dye artists Anna Meier and Kristin Arzt and will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting The Crucible art space in Oakland, Calif., and the California Native Plant Society.
“We pulled items from our line that would be suitable to take a natural dye, products that weren’t dyed at the production process, whether at the yarn or garment level,” McAlpine explained. “We didn’t give them specific direction, which was intended. They could do what they do as natural-dye artists, and they both do really cool work.”
Working with the Taylor Stitch pieces afforded an opportunity for Arzt to teach consumers and the apparel industry about the potential of natural dyes. As a teacher at The Crucible, Arzt is able to teach a larger audience about safer methods of apparel production that can yield vibrant pieces.
“A lot of people don’t realize the color potential that you can achieve with natural dyes. One of the shirts I dyed for them I used every color of the rainbow to the best of my ability—there is blue, yellow, orange, purple, pink and red all on this one shirt,” she explained “It’s really colorful and bright rather than what some people might think about natural dyes being muted.”
Through the newly found lessons regarding natural dyes, Arzt hopes Taylor Stitch clients and brands within the garment industry consider the benefits of shifting to these nontoxic options.
“By choosing natural dyes, they are supporting clean water, animal life and an all-around nontoxic environmental initiative,” she said.
Available in sizes XS–XXL, or 36–46, the Earth Day capsule collection will be available through www.taylorstitch.com. Retail pricing for the capsule's Jack in Botanical Dye Oxford is set at $128 and the Heavy Bag Tee in Botanical Dye is available for $65.
“As a brand, we feel very passionately about responsible production and working toward that as a perpetual goal,” McAlpine said. “It’s about the journey toward responsibility but doing that in a way that continues to support art and creativity through apparel.”