A couple years ago I was on the hunt for some sustainably produced, possibly organic fabric. When I trolled the garment district here in New York I was surprised to find there weren’t many options. In fact, in most places I visited it was hard to determine exactly where any of the fabric I was looking at actually came from, let alone how it was made. This is, of course, to be expected in many of the discount shops I like to frequent, but even in places like Mood and B&J there wasn’t much info on the bolts, except maybe “made in Italy” or “France” on the nicer fabrics.
Many people who love fabric recognize there’s a dark underbelly to the textile industry. The way most fabric is produced carries a serious environmental toll — maybe not in our backyards, but somewhere on the planet. However, it’s easy to disregard the full cost of the fabrics we use when our only connection to them is at the fabric shop.
That’s why, for this episode of Thread Cult, I was very interested to speak with Tara Bloyd, founder of NearSea Naturals, an online fabric company that specializes in sustainable and organic cotton, hemp, wool, and silk. The kicker is that many of the fabrics NearSea Naturals sells are actually made here in the U.S. of A. (the cotton and many of the wool fibers are also grown/raised here as well). In fact, NearSea Naturals moved it’s main office from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Asheville, North Carolina, for the express purpose of working with the textile mills in the area.
If you’re interested in how fabric is made, or curious about why you might want to choose fabrics made with organic and sustainably-produced fibers, you won’t want to miss this episode.