Archive for August 2009 | Monthly archive page

As more and more people are exposed to the facts about cotton farming, like the fact that it’s the most pesticide- and herbicide-intensive crop on the planet, we see more and more alternative clothing fibers cropping up. But King Cotton – the fabrication of our lives – clings tightly to its stranglehold on the international textile industry.

When we launched the original HempShak in 1994, we could see that it was going to be an uphill battle against monopolies and misinformation. In those 15 years, the hemp industry has grown incrementally, despite the fiber’s long litany of advantages. The crop remains impeded by a century of propaganda and draconian prohibition.

But the field of alternative fibers is spreading. Today we enjoy a wide array of organic cotton products and a burgeoning wardrobe of superlatively renewable, surprisingly affordable and incredibly comfortable bamboo. Still, it’s not easy for these cottage industries to butt heads with cotton.

Now, there’s finally an industry with enough muscle to challenge king cotton. Got milk? That’s right, now they’re making clothing from fiber spun from milk. Yes, probably the only sector of the agriculture industry that can rival cotton for its environmental devastation: dairy.

Unlike hemp and bamboo, milk is deeply entrenched in the fabric of our society. Consider the overwhelmingly effective and persuasive “Got Milk” campaign. Yet the genuine health hazards of milk consumption and the environmental (not to mention humanitarian) ramifications posed by dairy farming are enough to tie your intestines in a square knot (metaphorically speaking, of course). July’s issue of Good Housekeeping features a milk-fiber t-shirt for $110. It will be interesting to see where this all leads.

We thought we were being pretty innovative when we launched the House of Bamboo back in early 2006.

Then we found out about the team at Bamboo Living in Haiku, Hawaii. They’ve taken the house-of-bamboo idea a step further, and they’re actually building homes of bamboo!

In addition to being built with a readily renewable resource – each bamboo house saves about an acre of trees – Bamboo Living Homes also meet or exceed all state and federal safety standards, are engineered to withstand earthquakes and hurricanes, and provide the highest level indoor air quality.

Bamboo Living offers both custom and pre-fab homes of bamboo, and they even work with lenders who can help you finance your eco dream-home.

Because sustainability is more than just a fashion statement — it’s also a lifestyle choice — we’re pleased to introduce the latest in our stimulating line of Bambu Batu t-shirts, printed locally on 70% bamboo + 30% organic cotton.

To be worn proudly as you graze the stands of your favorite farmer’s market. And if you live here in SLO County, you can attend a farmer’s market virtually every day of the week. Our favorites are in front of Scolaris (Arroyo Grande) Wednesday mornings and Ramona Park (Grover Beach) on Sunday afternoons. Of course, all the tourists flock to Higuera Street on Thursday nights for food and fun.

Fresh, local, organic… for all the right reasons.

So this bloke walks into Bambu Batu last week wearing a bright blue Google t-shirt. And I think to myself, maybe I can sell this guy a nice new bamboo shirt so he doesn’t have to wear this promotional tee that he probably got for free at some geek convention in silicon valley.

He tells me he works for Google, and that comes as no surprise. Then he tells me it’s actually a bamboo t-shirt. Color me incredulous!

Yes, I was skeptical, so I, uh, googled it. Sure enough, in line with their commitment to sustainability, the Google squad is actually sporting bamboo comfort.

If you’re looking for a web page or an elusive factoid, just Google it! But if you’re looking for anything made from bamboo, just Bambu Batu it!