9 Reasons Why THTC is a Sustainable Clothing Producer

9 Reasons Why THTC is a Sustainable Clothing Producer

The Hemp Trading Company - THTC Clothing - has been in the game for over 22 years. 'Sustainability' usually implies something to do with survivability - something we've got in droves. But what makes us as green and eco-friendly as we say? Why do we think THTC is an excellent example of sustainable fashion? And why should the fashion industry be listening to us?


9: THTC Uses Sustainably-sourced, Natural Fibres

sustainable clothing supplier


THTC Clothing has always sourced from the people we see as the most honest and upstanding producers of natural textiles and organic fibres worldwide. While we made our name with organic hemp clothing, we also diversified into other natural materials such as organic cotton, salvage, Modal and Tencel.

We've had a few missteps along the way, and we're honest enough to admit it. Being sold rPET as a sustainable material was one. A producer we worked with many years back told us an extraordinary tale of fabrics made from recycled drinks bottles. It sounded great until we learned the process of creating rPET causes a considerable amount of microplastic pollution

We ensure that our materials are organic, naturally-sourced fibres. We work to ensure our water-based dyes aren't polluting bodies of water and the production process has real and manageable controls on industrial emissions. AT THTC, we're always learning and self-correcting. We're motivated by a desire to help - but also know we need to listen. If you know of any exciting material blends - like hemp and nettle - and know of any producers, get in touch!

8: THTC has won and been nominated for several awards in the sustainability space

Over 22 years, we've won many awards because of our active activism in the space and advocacy for ethical clothing. Most notable were:

  • The People in Environment Award (PEA) that our founder, Gav Lawson, picked up in 2007
  • 2008 Observer Ethical Awards - placed as a runner-up.
  • We were nominated for a ReFashion Award by Anti-Apathy.
  • For three years between 2005-2008, we won The Responsible 100's Striding Out 100 Award, given to the top 100 sustainable businesses in the UK. 
  • In 2017 and this year in 2022, we won the SME Small Business Award for Innovation in Ethical Fashion.
  • THTC was ranked the UK's Most Ethical Menswear Clothing Label for over four years by Ethical Consumer Magazine

Oh, and we've just been officially certified vegan by the Vegan Society. That's more than More on that to come soon. 

7: We're moving into the Circular Economy

Fast fashion and most fashion brands on the high street are killing the planet. The idea of the circular economy is something we need to be transitioning our society towards. The circular economy is a model of production and consumption which moves away from extracting new materials. Instead, we look at reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible, creating high-quality eco-fashion.

Currently, we're able to do this in partnership with our pals TeeMill. For anyone who's ordered an organic cotton t-shirt with us, you'll most probably have seen the 'end-of-life' bag, the packaging in which you send your t-shirt at the end of its useful life, back to the mill. They then recycle the fibres into a whole new yarn. THTC can participate in this collection scheme with our t-shirts printed with eco-inks - which is now a large proportion of our stock. In addition, their print-on-demand model ensures that very little material goes to landfills.

We also advise all customers to consider donating t-shirts they don't want to charity - given hemp's long life, our entire stock is very reusable. 

Learn more about TeeMill's awesome plans for the future of fashion, here

6: No Compromise on Supply and Production Chain Ethics 

Workers at THTC's hemp fabric production partner factory

The women who put together THTC Hemp t-shirts - paid living wages, good hours, and ace working conditions

The societal impact of our business decisions is one of our key concerns - and our main daily focus. The idea of sustainable clothing is incomplete if we ignore the people who make our clothes. 

We take great care in assuring a humanist supply chain. We ensure that all workers in our garment production chain are paid living wages or above in their home countries. We also prioritise work with cooperative and collectively-owned businesses. We meet personally with factory unions and workforce directors in their home countries as often as we can. 

We are one of the few independent clothing companies that do not stock or resell through Amazon and have recently supported the Creator Boycott of Etsy. 

We don't believe billionaires should take the majority of value created by workers. We are also appalled by the lack of humanity shown by Amazon's management towards their employees. THTC unreservedly supports the global labour movement and fights against sweatshop labour. We support all unions. Apart from Police Unions. 

5 - We are Anarcho-Communist / Syndicalist

Anarchism and Communism, as well as Syndicalism (after a fashion), are political schools of thought that place the environment and people at their core. All three are opposed to capitalism (the ownership and service of the economy by a few people) and support either collective or cooperative modes of ownership and economical production, that is, an economy that serves a collective interest and the environment. 

To learn more about how anarchist and communist thought is geared towards saving the world, read The Ecology of Freedom by Murray Bookchin, one of the world's greatest philosophers and ecologists. 

4 - THTC can survive Acts of God


You can't really be sustainable if you can't weather lousy luck. We have terrible luck. In 2013, one of our screen printers burned to the ground, taking our entire stock run and screens with it. Our business insurance sadly didn't cover losses on someone else's property. We ended up getting our community together for one last dance to help THTC survive the year - we ended up continuing for another decade.

We've also got form in being able to survive the heavens being thrown at us. In 2008, at Boomtown, a hurricane battered the festival. We returned from a wander around the festival to find the entire stand strewn across the hillside and the stock washing away. In 2016 and 2017, we got absolutely pulverised at Shambala and Boomtown again by downpours but managed to enlist the help of festival-goers to bail out the shop. 

Our office was also burglarised twice. Yet we're still here. So obviously, that counts for something. Right?

3 - Long-lasting Partnerships

Sustainability also involves your relationship to your community's economy - the other businesses that are part of your ecosystem. Ensuring a community of thriving businesses around us helps us succeed - and creates a community of people able to buy our stuff. 

Whether it's our printers, our fabric producers or the folks who post stuff for us - relationships are one of the things we invest a lot of time and effort into. Most of our stock is printed in the UK with eco-inks. We've worked with the same company for over a decade - Fifth Column.

TeeMill, who we've mentioned before, has been our organic cotton partner for several years - we're still overcoming problems together, which is an excellent sign of a flourishing partnership.

Being a small, agile business allows us to 'take risks' (translation - do proper edgy t-shirts) and react quickly to change (burn documents, get into a car with a briefcase full of bearer bonds and leave the country).

2 - We Upcycle!

THTC Upcycle Range from Remade - Modelled by Aruba Red

THTC Upcycle t, produced by Remade - modelled by Aruba Red

We're about to start working on our fourth upcycling collection. In line with our ambition to be a circular company, we've periodically run upcycle collections - turning dead stock into new and vibrant designs. Our previous collections were created by Good One, MyOnlyOne, and independent designer Natalie Khoo. 

Sinitta, famed talent producer, X-Factor & BGT coach - and longtime friend of THTC in a THTC Remade-Upcycle t


Our fourth collection is being created by a group of students at the University of West London, Ealing - and we're really excited about it.



1 - YOU: Our Community

You keep us on the straight and narrow. THTC would be nothing without our community, continually inspiring us with your work, checking us when we slip up and celebrating us when we do well. 

Being a leader in a space where every 'ethical' step means you make less money is hard. Paying workers decent wages, not selling on Amazon, and producing in the UK - puts us at a massive disadvantage to our competitors, who don't have the same capacity for human empathy as we do. They've got flashier websites, bigger marketing spends and a whole bunch of investors. 

We will always listen to you, our community. So if you see something that doesn't feel like it represents the reason you're with us - you make sure you shout about it. Sustainable businesses listen to their workers, their customers and the wider community. 

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