Kelsey’s Closet

Welcome to my closet! Starting April 16th I will be featuring a new apparel company each weekday until April 27th. Each day you will have a chance to win an item from that company by commenting or sharing on Facebook. By the of the contest my closet will be full of company’s that aren’t just making awesome products, but making awesome products in a way that provide dignity-giving jobs for the producers and a stronger connection with those producers to consumers.

Look, we aren’t going to shop our way to a better world. Sweatshops and child labor and labor wrongs are all just symptoms of the bigger problem: poverty. The apparel industry, should and could be part of the solution in fighting poverty. The company’s featured in my closet are doing just that.

Welcome to my closet! Wear a story!

Alta Gracia

Alta Gracia clothes

Alta Gracia is one of the first living wage garment factories in the developing world.  They are sold in many college book stores across the country and are connecting students and consumers with garment workers. They invited me to work at their factory, but I haven’t had a chance to take them up on the offer yet.


{R}evolution Apparel


{R}evolution Apparel produces versatile (their versalette can be worn 15 different ways) that are made from organic and recycled cotton in the United States. Versatility allows you to have a lot of clothing options with one item and ultimately consumer less. I’ve known these ladies for a bit now. They totally inspire me.


Ethix Merch


Ethix Merch is the place for customized ethical schwag.

If your boss gives you the task of buying some cheap pins or T-shirts, contact the Merchant Adventurers (I love that job title!) at EthixMerch to help your organization practice what it preaches.


Cotton the Carolinas

cotton of the carolinas

Cotton of the Carolinasproduces what might be the world’s most local T-shirt (dirt to shirt in under 750 miles). They also operate the most transparent supply chain I’ve seen.


Forgotten Shirts


The Fair Trade cotton is grown and sewn in Uganda and the shirt is screen printed by at-risk youth in Minnesota. From Uganda to Minnesota, Forgotten Shirts give opportunities to folks facing poverty. You can’t get more glocal than that.  During a time when so many of us have forgotten about the lives of the people who make our stuff, Forgotten helps us remember.  That’s a pretty cool story, one I like to wear.



Sustain U logo

SustainU (my thoughts on them here) turns yesterday’s clothes and plastic bottles into today’s shirts and T-shirts.  Compared to a typical shirt they use 1/2 gallon less of gas, thousands liters less of water per shirt, and release 12kg less of CO2 into the air. To

top it off, all of their products are Made in the USA. Can a shirt change the world? Can a clothing company change the garment industry? Checkout SustainU and decide for yourself.


Rain Tees

Rain Tees logo

Rain Tees donates school supplies to children living in endangered rainforests and asks them to document what they see. Rain Tees takes that picture and puts it on an organic T-shirt using environmentally friendly inks. A family that lives just outside a rainforest in Peru makes the shirts. The child’s name and where they are from are also printed on the shirt. And for every shirt sold Rain Tees plants a new tree in the rainforest. I personally know the founder of Rain Tees, Beth Doane. She is an inspiring environmentalist, entrepreneur, author, speaker, and human being.