Don't Miss Out

Subscribe to OCA's News & Alerts.

Care What You Wear

Oldest US Organic Apparel Company Celebrates its 20th Year

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Cloths For a Change page.

YPSILANTI, MI - Maggie's Organics is celebrating its 20th Birthday! Since 1992, Maggie's Organics has been providing socks, tights and apparel to consumers of all ages that care about the earth's resources and workers' rights. From their original "Phish Food" 100% organic cotton T-Shirts to their all time best-selling made-in-the-USA Tie Dye Crew socks, Maggie's Organics is a true pioneer - the oldest US-based apparel company offering organic fiber products.

In 1992, Bena Burda, a veteran in the organic foods industry, learned from a farmer about the plethora of pesticides and chemicals used to grow conventional cotton. As a young entrepreneur, she was determined to offer a more sustainable clothing alternative . Burda hoped that consumers shopping for organic food would make the crossover to an interest in organic fibers. "The original socks we produced were really just a platform for telling burgeoning organic consumers the real story of clothing," Ms. Burda said. "Through the process we learned together, and it just kept growing".

As demand for her basic socks and apparel items grew, Burda felt like she was helping sustain resources by using certified organic fibers. But when she began learning first-hand the true labor conditions of workers employed in the apparel industry: low pay, poor working conditions, and complete disenfranchisement, her feelings changed. "I began to ask how we could call ourselves a sustainable enterprise when we could not sustain the lives of the workers who made our products".

Maggie's Organics added social criteria to their eco-mission, and have since helped establish three 100% worker-owned cooperatives to provide yarn and garments. In the co-op structure, each worker has a voice and a vote, and share in the company profits. Burda and her team have worked tirelessly to develop supply chains that level the playing field for all workers involved in the apparel production process. Today Maggie's provides financing for over 2000 farmers in Central America who grow the cotton used in all of Maggie's socks and apparel. Throughout their 20 year history, every pair of Maggie's Organics socks has been made in the USA!