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Mainline Basics Interview

We talk to the founder of Mainline Basics

Our favourite organic tee line out of California

What is the philosophy behind Mainline Basics, and what do you consider to be its guiding principals? 


Mainline’s philosophy is to manufacture a “main line” of apparel basics in the most ethical and sustainable way possible. While this can have many interpretations, our two core principals are to source domestically made raw materials and labor.


What does this support exactly? 


-Fair wages and humane working conditions.

-US job creation and preserving what remains of our manufacturing sector (farmers, artisans, family-owned mills, etc.).

-A lower carbon footprint since materials don’t have to travel across the globe.

The fabric used to create mainline basics is 100% organic cotton, why did you choose this material and how do you ensure quality control?


Mainline supports organic farming in general. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of not only the harmful effects that herbicides, pesticides and other synthetic petrochemicals can have on our health, but also our planet. Though we don’t consume cotton like we do organic produce, it is still a plant that is grown in rotation with other consumable crops and one of the most toxic in terms of total pesticide use. While US-grown organic cotton only represents less than 1% of all domestic cotton production, we felt that it was important to support the farms and farmers that were actually trying to make a difference. We work exclusively with the fine folks at the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative to source 100% certified organic cotton under the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). Each bale is tracked from the field that produced it, to the family-owned mills that knit it into our signature lightweight jersey and french terry fabrics. For more information on why we work with the TOCMC, please visit: http://www.texasorganic.com/aboutus/toptenreasons2.htm.



To learn more about each of the farms and farmers that we work with, please visit them here:

http://www.texasorganic.com/producers/producers2.htm http://www.texasorganic.com/images/producers/120822%20Member%20Map.pdf

The brand prides itself on sourcing transparency, revealing your commitment to local production. Can you talk us through the journey of your products, from the field to the wardrobe?


Mainline Basics begin production in Texas, where the organic cotton fibers are grown and ginned. Bales are then marked and shipped to North Carolina, where they are spun into yarn, knit into fabric and then laundered at some of the last few textile mills that remain in the United States. Excluding the time it takes to grow and spin the cotton, the entire process takes approximately 8 weeks. We then ship the fabrics to our production facility in San Francisco, California, where we design, cut and sew it into garments which can take at least another 2-3 weeks. This is definitely not fast-fashion, friends! Our process literally takes 3 whole months from start to finish every single season.

Do Mainline Basics engage in any environmental initiatives to offset the emissions incurred during production processes?


Other than sourcing organic and sustainable materials locally, we also offset CO2 emissions released during the shipping process by using the UPS Carbon Neutral Program. This means that every time we send a package to our customers or retail partners, a portion of the proceeds go toward purchasing carbon offsets which support projects that give back to the environment. These include: landfill gas destruction, methane destruction, reforestation efforts and wastewater-to-energy plants.

The Mainline Basics factory