Wouldn’t it be nice if you could feel like you’re doing something good for the world just by slipping on a pair of shoes? It’s possible with the new spring collection from Timberland and the Pittsburgh-based ethical fabric producer Thread.
Nearly eight months after it was first announced, the fashion brand debuted its Timberland X Thread line of clothing and accessories. The collection includes five men’s footwear styles, two bags and one t-shirt, all of which are crafted from Thread’s Ground to Good fabric, a durable canvas material made from discarded plastic bottles collected off the streets of Haiti. They also contain other sustainable components, such as reclaimed cotton and recycled rubber.
The two companies joined forces after realizing their shared interest in Haiti, where Thread currently employs a workforce of bottle collectors, entrepreneurs and manufacturing workers.
“From the moment we met them, we knew this had the potential to be far more than a supplier relationship,” says Colleen Vien, director of sustainability for Timberland. “Building community has always been at the heart of Timberland, and we were also inspired by the Haiti connection, given our work there over the past five years. Anytime we find an opportunity to create both environmental and social value, that’s a big win. And Thread does just that.”
Timberland will also serve as one of the partners in Thread’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, which seeks to improve the quality of life for 300 Haitians—200 of them children—by providing educational opportunities, job training, and medical care.
Timberland marks the second major brand Thread has worked with, in addition to Kenneth Cole.
Founded in 2001, Thread set out to build a sustainable product and supply chain that brought jobs and business opportunities to hurricane-ravaged Haiti, and other countries. A report claims that last year Thread created more than 3,800 income opportunities and exported over 378,000 pounds of plastic waste.
“At Thread, we believe that dignified jobs cure poverty—and our fabric creates those jobs,” said Thread founder and CEO Ian Rosenberger in an official statement. “Our partnership with Timberland marks a seismic shift in the fashion industry, combining Timberland’s large supply chain and loyal customer base with Thread’s responsible, transparent approach to creating premium fabrics and vital jobs in the developing world. The Timberland X Thread collection is a major step towards improving the way our clothes are made.”
The company has also made a local impact by teaming up with organizations like The Pittsburgh Opera, whose offseason summer work training program teaches women valuable sewing skills using Thread’s trademark fabric.
Customers can see the process behind the Timberland X Thread collection through a video series depicting the product’s journey from bottle collection to the manufacturer. See one such video below, courtesy of Timberland:
The Timberland X Thread collection is now available in stores and online.