Church Shirts

My church buys tshirts for the different ministries we have going on. I bet yours does too.

Should a church spend extra on fair trade or ethically-sourced tshirts?

Here are my thoughts...

Tshirts should be made of organic cotton or recycled materials, as well as ethically manufactured.

Organic cotton is a must because it is too dangerous and risky to use all those toxic chemicals on a farm, and we should have some respect for our farmers and the "least of these" in the surrounding communities who drink the local water. My need for another Tshirt should not hurt someone else's health. Ever.

"Ethically produced" means garment workers are paid a fair living wage, working in a safe environment, and treated with respect. The best way to tell a brand is ethically made is if they are BRAGGING about social & environmental responsibility. You should see pictures, videos, quotes, etc on the website to prove it. Patagonia does this well. They should also have some outside stamp of approval, like a Fair Trade certification or federation member, B Corporation, or GOTS certified.

A pastor was asking me about one company in particular, let's call it "Bob Loblaw," and here were my thoughts on it...

You can do a little googling on the country of origin to see what the situation is like over there. Haiti is rough. I'm not going to say "Bob Loblaw" is outright lying, but I want a little more information from the website. Those shirts are cheap, and they have no certifications. It LOOKS like they do, with their pretty graphics and wording, but it's not there. However, maybe they're a start-up like me and just haven't done all that yet. You can call and ask. 

I found one factory in my quick research here that is on the right track in Haiti, Industrial Revolution,  but I'm still searching for how to buy their blank Tshirts.

So instead of just criticizing and complaining, I have a solution! Texas grown & sewn shirts, with a fully exposed supply chain that includes Texas farmers and providing work for local Refugee women. I am planning to market the Tshirts to churches and non-profits, groups who are trusted to use funds to bless others and combat abuse locally and globally.

Cheap clothing supports slave labor and human trafficking. It's time for the church to get involved!