Clothing Matters website
Location: 141 Diamond Ave. SE, Grand Rapids,MI 49506
Hours: Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
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For almost two decades Clothing Matters has been providing sustainably manufactured apparel to the public.
Marta Swain, owner of Clothing Matters, says everything about the store is environmentally conscious and over the last 19 years it has laid a foundation for conscious commerce. The eco-apparel store has received the 2013 101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies award, 2010 Townie award and the 2011 Green Champion award.
“The inspiration for Clothing Matters was reading the book Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken and learning that cotton was the most heavily treated crop in the world with carcinogenic chemicals and pesticides. I started researching apparel manufacturing and investing in 'clean' clothes that were manufactured with reduced pollution and promote social justice,” Swain says.
Clothing Matters offers apparel manufactured by over 100 local, regional, domestic and international designers. Swain says all of their partners are committed to practices that pay fair wages and provide a healthy working environment for their employees. Some designers include Mary King, Rose Phillips and Yana Dee.
A few of the sustainable materials found at the store include organic cotton, soy, recycled fibers, bamboo, hemp and silk. According to the Clothing Matters website, these materials are grown without harmful chemicals and pesticides and are also durable, adaptable and have low impact on the environment. Products include clothing, shoes and accessories for women, men and children.
The business also has a program called ‘Interplay!’ which offers workshops and consultations for organizations to learn how to incorporate sustainable principles into their businesses.
“Sustainability is important because we have one ecosystem. We are blessed with a beautiful planet that is worth preserving,” Swain says.
Mary Brooks, manager at Clothing Matters, says many people come in from long distances to shop at the store because they can’t find eco-friendly clothing where they live.
“What drew me to the business is what [Swain] is doing here, which is trying to educate people about their clothing, sustainability and how our purchases make a difference in the world. I love that we have alternative apparel so we can educate people on what other choices are available,” Brooks says.
More information about Clothing Matters and its products can be found on their website.