Keeping Our Oceans Colorful: Where Sustainable Fashion Fits In
“As you start to integrate sustainability into your narrative, it becomes more and more prevalent and something that starts to build organically from the ground up.
I can assure you that even by small and simple changes,
you are going to be surprised with the impact you can make.”
— Dominic Rosacci, Founder Allmade Apparel + Superior Ink
This past World Oceans Day, we celebrated our oceans in style with Superior Ink, to release the limited edition “Keep Our Oceans Colorful” t-shirt. Donating a portion of every sale, our global community helped raised just short of $4K in support of Blue Sphere Foundation — an organization dedicated to halting the destruction of threatened marine species and habitats.
Dive deeper with us as we discuss sustainable fashion and how our personal choices impact the ocean with Dominic Rosacci, founder of Superior Ink and Allmade Apparel:
We first met Dom at a screening of Chasing Coral as part of our Chasing Brews series. We were so inspired by his ethos of sustainability and social entrepreneurship, we knew we wanted to find a way to partner. Superior Ink, located in Colorado, is Denver’s first and only “certifiably green” custom screen printing and design shop and is a founding partner of Allmade Apparel — a company helping change the framework of how apparel is manufactured. They source sustainably derived materials and provide fair wages and safe working conditions to their makers in Haiti, where communities rely on a healthy ocean everyday.
Dom, tell us a little about your history with Allmade Apparel and Superior Ink.
I have been in the apparel business since I was about 16. From an early age I was taught about work ethic. I skipped most of my party and social years because I kept my head down and worked hard to build on a dream. My focus then was on a brand called Neovolt. It was my first company and a direct reflection of my love for skateboarding and snowboarding. After a few years of making my own products, this would eventually take form into a new creation called Superior Ink. Superior was a platform for other brands to build their voice. Apparel decoration and sourcing was a great tool for building a brand, and rather than doing it exclusively for myself, I could now provide a way for other companies to showcase and spread their voice.
As I grew up, my personal values and philosophy shifted, as did the business. I started learning about all the downsides to apparel manufacturing both with the environment and the people behind the creation. Recognizing the need for change, I teamed up with Ryan Moor of Ryonet and eight other screen printing companies to start developing a blank apparel brand that would change how apparel was created. In an effort to #makeitbetter, we launched Allmade Apparel in 2016.
This would be the first step in creating positive change not just in our organization, but for our industry as a whole. By offering a premium eco fashion blank apparel line, we could now be vertically integrated in the apparel manufacturing and decoration process to bring sustainable options to our customers from the ground up.
Why is sustainability important to you? How is this reflected in your operations and company culture?
Sustainability is a serious call to action for our generation. Being part of the change beyond just chatter is crucial. Not only is it important for us to implement sustainable practices into our organization, but it brings purpose and passion into what we already love. The coolest part is that we are inspired every day by our customers, vendors and staff to continue to think forward with innovation and intentional practices that start with our personal values and philosophy. When one person makes an effort toward positive change, beautiful things can happen. But when a business drives for change, movements happen!
”Sustainability is a serious call to action for our generation.
Being part of the change beyond just chatter is crucial.”
— Dominic Rosacci, Founder Allmade Apparel + Superior Ink
For t-shirt production, you’re partnered with the Global Orphan Project (GOP) in Haiti. How do you work together? Why is this such an integral part of your mission?
Allmade is most known for the environmental ease and respect to the planet, but one of our favorite parts about the brand is how we put people first. This comes from the values that Global Orphan Project brings. In fact, the factory that we produce our shirts in is called L.I.F.E, which is an acronym for “love is forever.” The CEO, Joe Knitting, is an advocate for orphan prevention and puts people first. As he explains, the shareholders of the company are the kids, the orphans. They see the direct result of the company’s success because of the pay structure built around keeping families together.
We work off a system that guarantees the employees in Haiti will receive living wages to help orphan prevention through job creation. We believe that people need a hand up, not a hand out. By changing how we operate, we hope to take a small step to educate our consumers about who and what comes at the cost of commodity items.
Tell us more about your T-Shirt Calculator. That seems pretty cool.
We can talk about sustainability until we are blue in the face, but without data it’s hard for people to understand just how much impact they make simply by choosing to source and make things better. The T-Shirt Calculator gives some extra encouragement and provides a barometer to track your efforts and motivate us all to keep making a difference. By being a part of the Allmade community and ordering story-driven shirts, you can make a positive impact both with people and the environment.
What are the opportunities you see in the sustainable fashion / screen printing industry to make a deeper environmental impact for our planet?
I think that it’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed with all of the reasons WHY we need to change. Sometimes, it’s hard to be motivated on specific controllers because we are so focused on the big picture. I have found that the best way to make the greatest impact is to focus on making improvements to the things within your domain of competence. Start small. Make small changes and set goals that are attainable. If we set a bunch of high level goals that take a lot of implementation, strategy and time it’s a high probability that the percentage of stuff that actually gets accomplished is much smaller than if you were to start with smaller bites of good change.
For our industry specifically, it all starts with conversation within your organization. Make a list of things you feel you can improve. It can be as simple as making sure you are recycling any and everything you can. Have conversations with your vendors about using sustainable and eco-friendly products wherever possible. Talk to your internal team to make sure that everyone is on the same page with wanting to make good change and why. If it becomes a team effort vs. an individual philosophy, you will have a much higher success rate.
As you start to integrate sustainability into your narrative, it becomes more and more prevalent and something that starts to build organically from the ground up. I can assure you that even by small and simple changes, you are going to be surprised with the impact you can make.
What inspired you to join forces with Chasing Coral and do you have plans for other collaborations with other organizations in the future?
The partnership with Chasing Coral has been amazing. It’s something that built its own momentum simply by 2 entities that share in common values. This is where just thinking about sustainability on a constant basis can lead to great things. In working with a local brewery on a new eco product line, we were introduced to Chasing Coral for a local Chasing Brews event to talk on integrating best practices into a business. From there we learned a bunch about our oceans and how important conscious businesses are to our ecosystem.
We certainly want to continue to partner with brands and clients to bring awareness to how important it is to inspire positive change to any industry. We strongly feel that educating future generations is so important. The things we do now can echo down for future generations to not just follow but perfect and build on. With these relationships, we are able to make ripples which will hopefully make waves towards a better tomorrow. We have some cool alliances and are excited to jump on new collaborations with Chasing Coral and other companies hungry in the fight for change!