Wear It Forward: Eco Clothing Company Weaves Together Awareness and Charity

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As consumers embrace greener lifestyles, their demand for eco-friendly products – running the gamut from cars to home decor – is increasing. Retailers are scrambling to find green products that meet their customers needs.

Launched Dallas-based Mad Leaf Clothing has jumped into the fray, with bold, fun, fashionable eco-friendly designs with a unique thread.

Their vision?  Raise awareness on the dangers of traditionally farmed cotton, known as the world’s “dirtiest” crop due to the heavy use of hazardous insecticides in its farming and manufacturing. Oh, and they’re doing it all with an altruistic and entrepreneurial twist.

Photo courtesy of Mad Leaf

Photo courtesy of Mad Leaf

“The Mad Leaf represents a bold attitude to make a positive change,” says co-founder and owner Brent Martin (pictured to left). They want to appeal to individuals who wouldn’t normally consider eco-options, along with educated environmentalists.

Mad Leaf sells shirts and hats for men and women, made from RPET or recycled polyethylene terephthalate – a strong, durable recyclable material that’s often used to make blankets, insulation, car parts and shoes – and organic cotton. Every t-shirt contains fiber from five recycled plastic bottles.

While their shirts are Made in America, Martin is working to find a way to make their hats here too.

“The vision for these products is to create an awareness for the world that people can identify with and engage with,” said Martin. It’s about educating people on sustainable options, he said.

Although the clothes are made from recycled plastic bottles, said Martin, they’re extremely soft and comfortable to wear. And, he added, while you wear them, you’re helping the environment!

Martin envisions an expanded product line that includes long sleeve shirts, v-necks, tanks for girls and hoodies.

Another important focus for Mad Leaf is working with charities to help with fundraising. After identifying a non-profit they want to work with, they create a one-off shirt for the campaign.

Their first major fundraising campaign is starting with Clothes4Souls, a (a division of Soles4Souls). Mad Leaf will sell that specially-designed shirt for 2 weeks and will donate $5 per shirt to the non-profit – for that shirt or any shirt they sell during that timeframe.

“Other companies are doing shirt campaigns,” he said, but they aren’t doing it with eco.”

Martin has three other non-profits lined up back to back for subsequent shirt campaign fundraisers. He plans to have these campaigns every month.

Mad Leaf, photo courtesy of Mad Leaf

Mad Leaf, photo courtesy of Mad Leaf

Mad Social 

The company uses social media heavily to spread the word about the start-up venture. A social media win? They were recently featured at the recent Dallas GreenFest.

In the not too distant future, Martin plans to launch their Mad Leaf Legion – a real movement with customer engagement. This will have community involvement, encourage recycling in the community and do things that are environmentally friendly.

Martin feels that the common thread with customers is a desire to show the world they care about protecting our ecosystem.

Mad Leaf is trying to build, grow and provide people with really cool apparel, said Martin. It represents a bold attitude to make a positive change. Cool eco-friendly fashion and a growing movement for environmental awareness.

“We want our customers to have fun and make a positive impact on the environment in the process,” he said.

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Debra Atlas

As an environmental journalist, blogger, professional speaker and radio personality, Debra Atlas lights the way to let consumers discover exciting, useful green products that won’t make their checkbooks implode. A member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, she is a frequent contributor to environmentally focused publications and conferences.