April 13, 2009

Sweatshop-Free Sweatpants: Be Present Makes All of their Clothing in the U.S.A.

On this rainy evening in Kansas, I’m sitting with a kitty on one knee and my laptop on the other, snuggled beneath a fleece blanket and wearing my new Be Present French Terry Resort Pants. At this moment, the comfort of these yoga pants is my top concern (I give ’em a 10 out of 10 on the cozy scale, soft and stretchy and very warm), but it’s true that snuggability isn’t an unusual trait among sweatpants. What makes these pants stand apart and stand proud is that Be Present, an independent family-owned yoga company, makes all of their clothing right here in the USA, most within a 20-mile radius of Denver.

This is no small feat. In 1950, nearly a third of employed Americans worked in factories. Today, only about 10% do, and the average American spends 86% of their clothing budget on items made outside of the States. We’ve reviewed a lot of clothing companies dedicated to environmental stewardship and human rights, but even some of our favorites—like Nau and Patagonia—manufacture the majority of their products abroad.

Be Present’s French Terry Pants are 69% organic (!) cotton, mixed with 27% polyester and 4% lycra. They do ring in at $69.00—a bit pricey for loungewear, in my mind. But the fabric is very durable (at this moment withstanding the claws of said kitty) and I’ve already worn them every day this week, switching out of my jeans the minute I get home. Plus, you’ll know your $$ is going towards supporting a family-owned business commited to creating local jobs and using eco-friendly fabrics.

Coming from a yoga company, these pants are equally suited to a sun salutation or a run (though they are a bit long on me—great for tall people, my lengthy friend Lindsey Wolf pointed out—but they also might trip a more average person up on the mat).

But not for me, not tonight. Tonight these pants are made for snoozing.

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