Liz Havlin of wearusa.org alerted me to a North Carolina firm that blends “Buy Local” with “Made in America” and then applies it to T-shirts. Dirt to Shirt is the brainchild of “Cotton of the Carolinas“, a collaboration of farmers and apparel manufacturers across the Carolinas who are dedicated to growing, making, and selling its t-shirts in the Carolinas. Rather than sending cotton produced in the Carolinas on a long round trip vacation to garden spots like Bangladesh, Vietnam or China, Cotton of the Carolinas just decided to keep the entire process of producing a T-shirt in the Carolinas. Cotton of the Carolinas was featured in a CNN special in the spring of last year. There are nine steps in the Dirt to Shirt process: grow the cotton, gin the cotton, spin the cotton, knit the fabric, finish the fabric, cut the fabric, sew the fabric, print the shirt and finally dye the shirt. If you go to Cotton of the Carolinas’ website, you can see each step.
Dirt to Shirt shirts are designed by TS Designs, a firm associated with Eric Henry who along with his buddy and mentor Sam Moore came up with the Cotton of the Carolinas concept. You can send a design to the boys and they will print the design on a Dirt to Shirt style you select. Or, you can buy already designed Dirt to Shirt styles for around $20 a piece. My favorites are the TSD organic
Whatever style you get, you will enjoy wearing a great T-shirt produced by members of the Carolina branch of your extended American family. Now get shopping!