September 7, 2013

How Thoughtful Are These Threads? {Review}

Self-portrait by author

My mat is a sacred place—that’s no secret.

Especially now, while my life is upside down and I search for a new home to settle my roots into, I return to my mat space to find grounding, movement—and myself, really.

The thing about teaching and practicing frequently (not to mention working from home much of the time for elephant) is that it’s important to wear clothing that I can move in, breathe in and feel good about.

I’m constantly on the hunt for sustainable, responsible, as locally-made-as-possible clothing to wrap my body in—and this doesn’t just apply to clothes. My love for our planet, the living and working conditions of the people that make things around the world that I buy and the love and respect I have for myself is growing and there’s no such thing as an impulse buy.

Every choice I make can make a difference—I prattled on about this in the last review I did.

Enter a company called Threads 4 Thought. I’d seen bits and pieces about them here and there, but when they reached out to us via their publicity team and asked if we’d be interested in doing a review, I hopped at the chance.

Expand my eco-wardrobe and plump up my fancy pants selection? Sign me up!

The colors and patterns thrilled my right brain—of that there was no doubt. My left brain, however, noticed a few things that felt unsure when both sides of my brain first received the package—and so I’ve been wearing the pants a ton and thinking about my feelings for them.

I know, I know—how can I have feelings for pants? I told you I’m a yogi, right? I have feelings for everything.

So, flash back two and half months to the box that arrives at my front door, sent all the way from the United States (I’m in Canada, eh)—I was excited and thrilled and honored and so I hurriedly open the box and pulled out the clothing….and immediately stepped back.

The smell of production—you know, that factory fresh smell that is actually bad for us—had settled into the cardboard box. Nothing was packaged or wrapped, which was fine, because I’d rather not create more waste than needed (I mean, where does it all go, anyway?).

The smell got me, but mostly, it was the tags inside the pants, which said: Made in China.


Doubt set in and I tried to shake it off but my mind works quickly and my immediate thought was, how eco-responsible are these really, if they’re made in China? Followed by, what are the working conditions and how are they monitored and by who and how often?

After the factory collapse in Bangladesh,  and more recently in Mumbai, these thoughts rest heavily on mind, no matter what it is I’m purchasing.

I tossed the clothes into the laundry bag (where they waited patiently until there was a full load to do).

With said clothes in bag, I sat down and started poking around the site. Nowhere did I find any information about the factory or working conditions, or what makes these clothes sustainable, other than the mission statement written by one of the Co-Founders, Eric Fleet:

“Our mission for Threads 4 Thought was to create great fashion that evoked a lifestyle of shared responsibility for each other & our world. We continue to work towards that mission every day…using sustainable materials to make our products, working with factories that respect their employees and treat them humanely and fairly.”

That’s it.

When I wrote to the publicity company that represents Threads 4 Thought, this is the response I received:

“All of our factories are independently certified. Threads for Thought only works with factories that treat their workers fairly and humanely, where wages are at least at locally mandated minimum levels, workers do not exceed locally mandated working hours and we do not hire anyone under the age of 18. We are extremely sensitive to factory safety, and all exits are clearly marked, and are not blocked or locked. We have regularly spaced fire extinguishers, and first aid kits that are readily available.”

Ok. But what does that mean? How? And who does it? And how often does someone from the company go over to check on everything and how consistent is the maintenance of these important details?

And, uh, what makes these clothes sustainable?

For a company that represents themselves as creators of “sustainable apparel,” my hope—and let’s be honest—expectation—is that this information is accessible and crystal clear on the website—I shouldn’t have to search much to find it.

And, that it’s provided in so much detail that it either excites the heck out of eco-heads or puts everyone else to sleep.

In this day and age, I personally want every company who makes the things they claim are a) eco-friendly or b) sustainable or c) responsibly-made to spell it out for me. It’s a mutual respect thing that benefits everyone—and it will be a deciding factor in where I spend my hard-earned dollars.

Ok, so you get it (right?) and what you really want to know is…what about the clothes? Tell us how the clothes were. 

Here are three things I love, followed by three things I don’t love, about the clothing I received to review for Threads 4 Thought (which was three pairs of pants and two half-quarter length sleeve shirts):

Three things I love:

1. I love the colors and the patterns; they are fancy pants and when I have them on, I felt fancy.

2. I like the thickness of the pants—although I tested them throughout the summer, they are perfect Fall and Winter yoga pants—and actually, you can quite easily throw a sweater over them and drop the “yoga” from in front of “pants” and even call them tights. Dancing legs, you shall have (plus, everyone oohs and ahhs).

3. The shirts are soft and have that worn-in look; easily layered or perfect on their own.

Three things I don’t love:

1. The fit of the pants is inconsistent—each pair fits me differently and I find that…uncomfortable.

2. With two of the pairs, I spend most the my time wearing them trying to remove them from my…ahem, crotch. I don’t mind creeping pants when I’m practicing yoga in the privacy of my home—but in the studio, when I teach or practice, it’s an issue for me.

3. As I’ve expressed in detail, the lack of available information about the clothing and how it’s made and where it’s made and by whom it’s made.

So that’s that; maybe the secret to these fancy pants is to be less active-and-in-the-studio and more stylish-and-about-town.

And maybe just maybe, we can agree to be transparent and up front—and know that we are all intelligent creatures that care tremendously about this planet and the beings on it.



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Note: elephantjournal.com received these review items for free, in return for a guarantee that we would review said offering.  That said, we say what we want—good and bad, happy and sad.



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