CHARLESTON, S.C.—Vapor Apparel announces a venture into the sustainable, domestically-made apparel market. The company says it uses a blend of recycled and natural fibers to create apparel fabrics for T-shirts.
The new T-shirts, dubbed the Eco-USA line, are the result of the South Carolina-based company’s interest in USA-made apparel with eco-conscious qualities. Coincidentally, the producer of the fibers, Unifi, operates a facility in neighboring North Carolina.
“We wanted to bring more sustainable products to the market,” says Jackson Burnett, president of Vapor Apparel. “Unifi’s REPREVE yarn is made right up the road in North Carolina and we are excited to bring this to consumers.”
REPREVE is a textile fiber constructed from commonly recycled products such as plastic soda bottles. After grinding them into small flakes, Unifi uses a proprietary process to transform the PET bottles, which have the same chemical makeup as polyester, into fibers for soft goods like clothing.
“We saw an opportunity to make a garment that solves two problems,” explains Chris Bernat, chief revenue officer at Vapor Apparel. “People looking for a Made-in-the-USA garment and people looking for sustainability in printable [garments].”
While Unifi often works with large, global operations, Bernat says Vapor Apparel intends to approach its newest project as a long-term endeavor.
“There’s value in a nimble, domestic partner,” he adds, stressing that companies often seek out the REPREVE fiber for promotional, short-term, and event-oriented clothing, while he aims to build out a sizeable apparel lineup with the material.
The Eco-USA line is the company’s latest offering, but Bernat points out that Vapor Apparel still intends to forge ahead with products in the sublimation market while continuing to explore all aspects of sustainable goods.
“At some point, sustainability is just going to become normal in the supply chain,” says Bernat. “I think having a foothold in that space is relevant for us.”
The news comes as the organization continues to expand both regionally and globally. Since building a North American manufacturing facility in 2015, the company also opened doors to a new office in the Netherlands earlier this spring. The facility is a hub for the European subsidiary company, Vapor Apparel Europe BV.
For more information, visit www.vaporapparel.com.