Updated: 10:05 a.m.
Shop Timberland’s new apparel for spring, and you’ll find shoes, bags and t-shirts that use fabric from a Pittsburgh company.
Thread creates what the company calls “ground to good” fabric, by taking plastic bottles collected in Haiti and Honduras and turning it into fabric. Recycling not only is an environmentally sustainable way to make clothing, but it also makes neighborhoods cleaner and creates jobs, according to Thread.
After more than a year in the making, the Timberland X Thread line launched Thursday.
“Timberland was the first, on-mass scale, global brand to really run with our stuff,” Kelsey Halling, Thread’s director of impact and sales, told The Incline.
She said Thread, which was founded in 2011 and is based in East Liberty, has partnered with other companies on a smaller scale, like Moop in Pittsburgh and on a small collection of “Rock the Vote” t-shirts for Kenneth Cole. But with this latest partnership, Thread’s fabric can be bought all over the world, said Halling, 29 of Bloomfield.
Timberland is a recognizable brand name both in the U.S. and in Haiti, meaning the workers who collect plastic were able to see the end product of their work in a brand they know, she said. There’s a lot of talk about connecting consumers with the source of their stuff, but there’s just as much value in showing the people doing the first steps what the end product is, Halling said.
“It changes the way they think about their day-to-day job.”
The future of Thread
Now that the spring line is live, Halling said, Thread wants to keep working with Timberland, as well has have more partnerships with brands of all sizes.
“We’re talking with some other big name brands which hopefully we’ll be able to announce soon,” she said, adding that the company also plans to add a third country by the end of the year, where they would employ people to collect plastic, this time, in Asia. They haven’t decided where yet, she said.
Thread launched in 2011, and at one point, staffers talked about having their own line of clothes, Halling said. While that’s not out of the picture, the company staff realized they could nave “much more impact” if they sold fabric to multiple brands, she said.
Timberland X Thread
The Timberland line includes men’s shoes as well as backpacks, a duffel bag and t-shirts. Shop here.
Thread worked with Timberland on fabric selection and to tell the company’s story, but the products and design (plus the decision to make just men’s shoes) were all up to Timberland, Halling said. She added that women can also wear the shoes, and she bought a pair for herself.
Providing jobs for people in Haiti and Honduras — that is, Thread’s story — makes these products stand out, Halling said.
“We hope that by continuing to partner with brands people already love, you can see Thread’s logo, and you don’t have to wonder or worry, you can just know that there is good and responsibility built into this product,” Halling said.