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PRINTWEAR EXCLUSIVE: Ryonet Launches Fair-Trade Apparel Initiative

Ryonet collaborates with U.S. screen printers and Haiti-based GOEX to offer a sustainable, fair trade line of blank garments. 

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allmade

VANCOUVER, Wash.-Ryonet announces plans to release a fair-trade, sustainable line of T-shirts, under the name Allmade. The shirts are the result of a collaboration between Ryonet, a network of screen-printing shops in the U.S., and the GO Exchange (GOEX), a subsidiary of The Global Orphan Project, a Kansas City-based, global community committed to caring for children and families in crisis. The subsidiary manufactures apparel and artisan goods in Haiti, employing members of the local community and integrating programs that offer both fair wages and stable living situations.  

“We’ve been playing the idea of offering garments to our customers for some time now, but it was a conceptual thing we thought we’d get to in the future,” explains Rogier Ducloo, executive president of Ryonet.

That all changed, Ducloo explains, when Ryonet CEO Ryan Moor visited the GOEX manufacturing facility in Haiti, in the summer of 2016. GOEX runs an apparel manufacturing facility known as LIFE SA (which stands for “Love Is For Ever”)  that pays local employees a living wage. The facility employs the expertise of a team of retired factory production veterans. In addition to hiring Haitian workers, the facility maintains U.S. standards and offers training and development opportunities for workers to enable them to further increase their value and earn more money. After touring the facility, executives at GOEX and Moor discussed initial ideas for building the garments and coordinating stateside distribution.

Alongside Ryonet’s involvement, a series of 10 screen-printing shops in the U.S. are part of this endeavor. Shops include printers from the Northwest, Midwest, and both East and West Coasts. Ducloo says that once preliminary details were discussed between Ryonet and GOEX, the company coordinated a trip for the screen printers to get a firsthand look at the foundation’s operations.

“In December 2016 we were able to bring the founding members to Haiti and give them a similar experience as Ryan had,” Ducloo states. “At the end of that, we walked away basically as a collective.”

Ryan Moor, CEO of Ryonet, meeting with the 10 screen-printing companies who are the early adopters of the shirts created by the Haitian factory. Here, Moor and partners listen to Bryan Ashby of Carolina Cotton Works, discussing fabric details. (Image courtesy Ryonet)

In addition to fair labor practices, the Allmade line focuses on sourcing sustainable raw materials. The shirts consist of three basic styles; a 100 percent U.S. cotton T-shirt, a 100 percent cotton unisex shirt, and a third shirt made of recycled plastic bottle polyester, cotton, and Modal. Ryonet plans to source the yarn and fabric from the U.S., and limit shipping to the small network of 10 shops for the initial phase of the project. Ducloo estimates the first year of production to yield roughly 1 million shirts.

To fund the initial production and stocking orders of Allmade, Ryonet has an Indiegogo underway that interested parties can contribute to. The campaign runs through April 14.

For more information, visit: igg.me/at/allmade.

In addition to creating living wage jobs in Haiti, Life SA also provides training and development for workers to enable them to expand their job skills and go on to earn more money. (Image courtesy Ryonet) 

Mike Clark

Mike Clark is the former editor-at-large for GRAPHICS PRO and former associate editor for Printwear magazine. He now serves as managing editor for RV PRO magazine. Contact him at [email protected]

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