Los Angeles-based knitwear maker UStrive Manufacturing has become the first and only vertical clothing manufacturer in North America to be certified to both the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Textile Exchange’s Organic Content Standard (OCS).
UStrive is four companies vertically integrated into one: Tour Image (sales and design-development), Jin Clothing (private-label apparel manufacturer), Care-Tex Industries (full-service dye and finishing facility) and S&B Printing and Embroidery. It also partners with nearby Laguna Fabrics – the first US knitter to gain GOTS certification – for its organic fabrics.
Combined they enable brands to meet both Made in America and organic criteria throughout their entire supply chain from cut and sew to dyeing, finishing, screen printing, embroidering, packaging and storage – all within 12 miles.
The Global Organic Textile Standard includes both environmental and social provisions for post-harvest to retail shelf management, addressing all the processing stages (ginning, spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing and manufacturing) of products containing 70-100% organic fibre.
The Organic Content Standard verifies that 5-100% of the raw fibre in the product was grown to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program organic crop or livestock standards (in the US) no matter where in the world it was grown or raised, and allows blending of conventional and organic cotton as well as synthetic fibres.
“The GOTS certification process took over eight months to complete and included a complete retooling of our dyeing, printing and packaging methods in order to meet the standard’s stringent non-toxic chemical requirements,” says Scott Wilson, UStrive founder and partner.
“At the same time, we chose to have OCS certification because it allows us to offer a broader range of organic fibre-based fabrics for our customers to choose from.”
UStrive also pays its workers hourly instead of by piece, ensuring that work is carried out at a pace that ensures quality. This means it guarantees a consistent wage (versus a variable wage) around 25% higher wages per month than other similar knitwear contractors in Los Angeles.