Speaking of tees

Eventually I get around to reading Apparel -check it out, the 2005 Buyer’s Guide is up and you can get a free subscription– when I came upon a letter to the editor from Eric M. Henry of T.S. Designs. Evidently, T.S. Designs patented a process known as REHANCE which eliminates the use of plastisol inks (which include PVC, an environmental naughty-naughty). Their site includes a fact sheet on the hazards of plastisol inks used in screen printing tees up and down the supply chain including disposal. REHANCE changes all of that. T.S. Designs provides natural organic undyed tees and will print them to order. Okay, so maybe you get tired of my preaching so how’s this? Their minimum order for printed programs is 72 units (assorted) with a water based ink, and 200 units (assorted) for the REHANCE print and dye. For 1,000+ units, they’ll custom match to your specific color. As all tees are natural (ecru), white shirts are a garment dyed style. You can see a line sheet here.

T.S. Designs is a model employer; remember I told you about the whole apparel industry smoking thing? The company instituted a wellness program and assured workers that their jobs were not in danger for any health-related reason and instituted a Going Smoke Free campaign. Additionally, “the company took initiatives such as awarding prizes for exercising, creating a low-fat recipe book, providing juice in the soda machine, and selling fresh fruit, vegetables, and low-fat snacks at cost as an alternative to the vending machine”.

And you guys think I’m touchy-feely and fuzzy but his company runs a co-op organic garden right on company property while I can’t get Bamboo to grow. Eric Henry’s hobby is -of all things- biodiesel and he even started his own biodiesel co-op. Don’t start thinking Mr Henry is my evil twin -it’s more likely that I’m his evil twin- but I’m a lot shorter and a lot cuter than he is.

Now, when you’re sourcing green, you have to look at someone’s supply chain, as in, where does T.S. Designs get their tees? In that vein, the site also lists their business supply partners. His contractor sounds like a dream:

Mortex was founded in 1985 by Edward Morrell, Mortex Apparel Manufacturing is a 100% U.S. made private label apparel manufacturer. Prior to the start of Mortex, Ed was Director of Manufacturing for Champion. Growing every year since 1985, Mortex now employs 400+ in plants located in Wendell, Spring Hope and Princeton, NC. Mortex controls every aspect of the manufacturing process and is able to offer full package programs to companies that desire high quality, individualized design and quick reaction to inventory needs and market fluctuations. Mortex employees receive good pay, clean and safe working conditions, 401K benefits, profit sharing, top of the line health insurance, and every child of every employee can receive college tuition and books 100% company paid at any state sponsored school or community college. Mortex does not import or outsource production. Mortex is a family company that values each employee’s contribution to the future and success of the company.

Mortex Apparel is also evidently involved in education as well. Mortex developed curriculum entitled Mathematics from Industry to the Classroom for Wake Technical College. Here is a page the school put up to explain piecework and the meaning of those cut labels I was telling you about. ~sigh~ And like most sewing contractors, Mortex Apparel doesn’t have a website either so here’s their contact info: Mortex Apparel, 4251 Wendell Rd, Wendell NC 27591, Telephone: 919-365-9805

One would hope that the WOATS and GOATS of the world would cease their protestations that they’re “not like the big guys” and use resources like these. One can only hope.

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  1. MW says:

    I think it’s great technology. I came across it years ago when looking for water based screenprinting (long story, but in short, the industry really does favor plastisol). I actually have (or had) a sample of their rehance tees and it’s pretty nice. At that time, American Apparel didn’t have thier organic line, so they only had a few style offerings, none of which fit my tastes. The only downside is that I notice most companies make limited offerings of clothing for the environmentall conscious. It seems as though there is this assumption that people can’t be BOTH style and environmentally conscious, that you are either one or the other.

  2. a says:

    I work for a screen printing manufacturer and asked about this…

    Why screen printers hate water based ink:
    -the screen dries up more easily and therefore screen printers would have to reburn the screens which is timely and costly
    -the ink is more difficult to dry, it has to go through the dryer longer and the dryer must be hotter
    -all dark garments have to be discharged first which is caustic
    -for customers that are particular about colors matching standards, it is much harder to match

    We have noticed a trend in water based inks lately.

  3. Eric Henry says:

    While on another list serve today I was reminded of this blog and thought I would give an update. Over the last year we have seen our organic apparel business triple while continuing to increase our organic tees we make in North Carolina. Now that Climate Change is fact, not theory, reducing our transportation footprint is a very high priority. We have started dialogue with the folks at North Carolina State University to grow our organic cotton in North Carolina since right now our yarn is coming from Turkey. We continue to push to make both our company and product more sustainable.

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