When I got a call from Maria Rodale, author of Organic Manifesto, about taking our activewear designs in performance fabrics, and experimenting with recreating them in Organic Cotton, I was intrigued. Anyone in the sustainable space knows the name RODALE INSTITUTE is synonymous with all things organic, since J.I Rodale started the Organic and Farming magazine in 1942. The Rodale family and complex is right nearby me in Emmaus,Pennsylvania and so like Bethlehem Steel, Rodale has a huge influence in my area.
The problem was, that when I searched for an organic cotton that would still perform the way my current fabrics did, ie, with the same opacity, softness, stretch, and recovery, I couldn’t find anything. I went to fabric show after fabric show- called all my suppliers and contacts and finally decided to take matters into my own hands.
I didn’t want to import organic cotton from China as many other brands were doing. It didn’t make sense to got to such lengths to get organic yarn, have it knit in China and then have it sent by ship and suffer whatever sprays and insecticides were applied at the docks. I wanted to make it here. In the USA. On the Eastern seaboard, because that was the smallest carbon footprint I could imagine.
People laughed at me when I said I want to create a Lululemon like fabric in Organic Cotton, but I really believed in the concept and so I started by informing myself about how to produce my own fabric.
I found an amazing textile chemist, Ned, willing to work with me down to every last detail from of choosing the denier of the actual cotton yarn , ratio of spandex to cotton, starting and finishing weights, piece dye versus garment dye, torque, shrinkage allowance, heat transfers, thread choices, stitches per inch, and the list goes on and on. Together we created our own special recipe of organic ringspun cotton and spandex, creating a superior quality organic cotton that works equally well for active and lifestyle clothing.
SteelCore pays attention to the ‘not so small’ details like opacity, construction and fit. Our organic blend comes in three weights, and all are 4-way stretch. The body warms the fabric against your skin and like something living, it molds to your shape in a way unlike anything synthetic can. This fabric will out perform any other organic cotton and never leave you with baggy knees at the end of the day. We knit our fabric in mills located in the USA (yes they do still exist, and we want to keep them here), and of course, all our design and production also happens right here at home.
“Fiber to Finish,” it’s all Made in America. That’s important to us.
- Lightweight: 92% Cotton – 8% Spandex 297 gsm (10.5 oz) tops, pedal pushers, loungewear
- Midweight : 90% Cotton – 10% Spandex 354 gsm (12.5 oz) leotards, unitards, capris,leggings
- Heavyweight: 87% Cotton – 13% Spandex 413 gsm (14.6 oz) foldoverwaist yoga pant
machine wash cool – tumble dry low
fabric softener YES – bleach NO