At age 22, Beth Doane founded Andira International, a company that focused on importing and distributing luxury European brands to markets in the United States. But despite her success, the experience changed her perception of the apparel industry, she explained in a recent interview with National Geographic.
“There is an entirely dark side of the apparel industry that the consumer does not see. For example, most of our apparel and accessories are made in countries where workers rights are not honored and where millions of garment workers are exposed to dangerous levels of chemical toxins and carcinogens every day,” Doane said.
As a lifelong proponent of green living and a rainforest enthusiast, Doane created Rain Tees to give back to the environment, and the communities whose lives are closely connected to it. For every t-shirt sold, a tree is planted by the label’s charity partner, Trees for the Future, in areas where they are needed most. Since 1988, Trees for the Future has planted almost 65 million trees in Central America, Africa, and Asia — trees that not only improve quality of life for nearby residents but remove over 1 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year.
“At the rate our population is expanding,” she said, “and the rate rapidly developing countries are expanding their level of product consumption and mass production, it becomes nearly impossible to ensure safe preservation of our natural resources for the future. In general, when we look at manufacturing worldwide, we find that environmental standards are not enforced or minimally enforced to the point where we are polluting our air, water and land at a devastating rate.”
Rain Tees shirts are manufactured in the United States with eco-friendly fabrics, and feature original artwork by children living in endangered rainforests around the world. Each child whose artwork is chosen is sponsored to attend school in their home country by the company, which is also working to develop art programs for children in 38 countries by partnering with non-profits and donating school supplies.
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