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Made in North Carolina - From Dirt to Shirt

 
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Browsing through our clothes over the past couple of years, you’ve probably run across a new label that reads “Mast Store Private Label Shirts”. With the help of the fine folks at TS Designs, we’ve been able to create a unique line that is made in North Carolina - from dirt to shirt.

mast-private-label-2.jpgThe new quote tees are made with cotton grown, ginned, spun, knit, finished, cut, sewn, printed and dyed all within the state's borders. This collaboration of North Carolina farmers and manufacturers is the fulfillment of not only their environmental “local first” ideal, but also the necessity of reviving the crippled textile industry in our state.

North Carolina is the United States' fourth largest producer of cotton, however 50% of that cotton is shipped overseas to be manufactured into finished products. Afterward, much of it is shipped back to the States to be sold to consumers.

"[The idea that growing] cotton here in the United States and then exporting it to far-ranging regions of the world, in the long run, just didn't make sense," Sam Moore, an adviser to TS Designs, told CNN Newsroom in May of last year.

"Our shirts go from dirt to shirt in less than 700 miles. That's actually including roads and not as the bird flies."

Their ingenious solution to this problem? TS Designs, based in Burlington, NC, collaborated with textile manufacturers in the state to create Cotton of the Carolinas. Their main objectives are to support local economies by utilizing the resources of North Carolina, including its workers, to lower the transportation footprint, and to offer complete transparency in the supply chain.

Eric Michel, of TS Designs, told CNN: "Our shirts go from dirt to shirt in less than 700 miles. That's actually including roads and not as the bird flies. If you go to the Cotton of the Carolinas website, you'll be able to trace the exact route that T-shirt took from [beginning to end]. It has pictures and contact info [for] the people in charge of these organizations. You can contact them and learn about anything on the T-shirt."

This intimate interweaving of local production is big news for the ever-changing face of our state’s textile industry. In fact, the supply chain involving TS Designs supports more than 700 local jobs! Mast General Store is proud to play a part in their vision by selling three new Private Label Shirts (one example shown above). These preshrunk shirts are soft, breathable, and made from 100% local cotton that’s garment-dyed with low-impact dyes.  TS Designs uses only biodegradable detergents with no optical brighteners or chlorine bleach, so you know these shirts are safe and comfortable to wear for all skin types.

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At $19.99, these shirts are not only fashionable, comfortable, and locally-made, but budget-friendly to boot!  Once you take your very own Mast Store Private Label shirt home, don’t forget to visit cottonofthecarolinas.com to track your shirt.

Take a peek at this CNN Newsroom video featuring TS Designs and how “homegrown cotton keeps jobs alive in the Carolinas”: