All Photos by Jon + Moch Photography
It all starts with a crisp, white t-shirt. Can we just agree that a white tee looks fantastic on everyone? This whole white t-shirt and jeans combination may feel outdated or boring, but this style recipe is tried and true. It’s easy and effortless, and in no uncertain terms cool. This minimalist ensemble can be dressed up or down in a matter of moments with the right accessories.
But the truth is, there’s significant harm surrounding the whole white t-shirt obsession. The majority of tee’s you see in today’s market are crafted from cotton, most of which is not sourced ethically. A little over a year ago, we sat down to watch a documentary called The True Cost. Every story impacted us, yet one particularly stood out: the story of LaRhea Pepper, a third-generation cotton farmer from O’Donnell, Texas.
“In 2005, LaRhea lost her husband, Terry Pepper, to gliobastoma multiforme, the most aggressive malignant brain tumor known in humans. Terry, who died at age 50, was predisposed to cancer — his father died of leukemia at age 57 — but there was one known risk factor associated with gliobastoma multiforme that was particularly upsetting for LaRhea: exposure to pesticides.” (More on LaRhea’s story here).
Pesticide laden textiles are nothing new in the fashion industry. Fast fashion remains consumed with producing more as quickly as possible, rarely considering the cost to humans, animals and the environment.
Though there are a handful of thoughtful companies making crisp, white tees from organic cotton, we found ourselves questioning what other environmentally friendly, ethically sourced, innovative materials could be utilized to create this timeless garment found in nearly every American’s closet? Our search led us to Leave Nothing But Footprints.
LNBF is a Canadian-based ethical brand that creatively utilizes one of the world’s most versatile, sustainable, and quality materials: bamboo. While the fast fashion industry has set their sites and finances on synthetic textiles (which takes hundreds of years to decompose once discarded), LNBF is considering the future of our planet and the livelihood of their workers in every single garment produced.
You might be curious: why bamboo? According to LNBF, “Bamboo is one of the fastest growing and most sustainable plants in the world, yielding 10 times more material per acre than conventional cotton. It can grow with very little water and no pesticide use, meaning less chemicals that drain back into our water system.”
Beyond sustainability, LNBF is taking another unique avenue when it comes to production: sourcing and producing their garments in China. Chinese production isn’t a novelty, and neither is the heap of grimace it gets in the ethical fashion industry. Understandably, so. China is known for “quick and cheap” manufacturing, a high priority for big brands whose end goal is lucrative profit. Though you may question their choice to move production overseas, LNBF proves this decision is deeply sustainable.
By creating a “start-to-finish” supply chain based around bamboo, LNBF is reducing their overall carbon footprint through this decision. “All LNBF pieces are designed in Canada and made overseas in China where the majority of the worlds bamboo trees are grown, sourced and spun into the viscose bamboo fabrics. Fabrics are spun, dyed and assembled all in one factory. Rather than importing the fabrics, we import finished goods. Maintaining an entirely singular supply chain means that we have a lower impact when it comes to transportation and an unprecedented level of traceability.”
The Logan Long Sleeve Henley is 95% bamboo, 5% spandex and 100% ridiculously soft. It’s almost strange how smooth and buttery it feels. It features a wide collar, perfect for anyone not a fan of a snug-tight fit at the neck. With a henley button-down detail and raglan sleeves, the Logan is designed to be put on and only taken off for a quick wash. It’s that comfortable!
The Brenda U Neck Tee, in crisp white, has quickly become a closet favorite. With a universally flattering shape in a timeless tone, this tee is figure friendly for all. Even more, it’s budget friendly, too! Your only real dilemma is determining whether to wear The Brenda with vintage jeans or a pair of wide leg cropped trousers. Heck, you could even get away with slipping this tee on for bed! We promise not to judge you.
It’s deeply inspiring to watch innovative companies like Leave Nothing But Footprints positively challenge the production and sourcing norms of the ethical fashion industry. Moving forward, we hope you’ll stay tuned for our final collaborative post with LNBF in just a few short weeks! Here, we will be reviewing a home goods essential and delving one step further into this sustainable brand’s story. Stay tuned!
Note: Thank you, Leave Nothing But Footprints, for gifting us the Logan Long Sleeve Henley and Brenda U Neck Tee to review for this post. For the sake of transparency, we were not compensated for this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own! Thanks for reading along!