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vital hemp began with an environmental impulse: we wanted to help the earth through hemp. At the same time, we understand that helping the earth also includes helping the lives of human beings. We cannot in good conscience make environmentally-friendly goods in conditions that are unfriendly or unjust. Therefore, we commit our energies and resources to making sure our clothes are produced ethically, in safe conditions that pay fair wages and respect workers' rights.
Our hemp clothes are now produced domestically, right here in Southern California. For eight years we manufactured in China, because that's where we had contacts and knew people who knew hemp clothing well. We did our best to make the Chinese option work, paying for independent social compliance, and putting up with intermittent production disasters (sleeves fit for giants, bodies fit for elves, garments that shrank or lost buttons within minutes, etc…). Ultimately, we moved the manufacturing home, and we're glad we did!
We now make our garments with local people in Los Angeles and neighboring cities.
The quest to find the right people with whom to work in Los Angeles led us to some incredible places, leaving indelible impressions of an industry that encompasses supremely efficient, sunny, familial sew shops and more obscure, grimmer places, where people cared less. Thankfully, we found homes with people we love, who make the time to make our clothing right. From our cutters who've been in the business thirty years to our sewers with twenty-five, we've built a professional team with skilled, compassionate people leading every operation. The shops respect their employees, in many cases love them as literal husbands, sisters, sons and daughters, or as figural family, the family we choose.
These shops undergo and pass all the rigorous inspections that are now the norm in our domestic garment industry. They pay fairly, and keep the shops tip-top. Our customers may pay a few dollars more for our shirts now, but we're confident they were made in factories that respect workers, give them breaks, pay them on time, etc… and where the buttons and buttonholes are well-sewn, the sleeves fit for human beings--garments you can count on and wear for years. We think that's a bargain!