Green tees

For dedicated hockey fans and environmental enthusiasts alike, there is now one article of clothing made to satisfy all.A recently debuted eco-friendly clothing line, Project571, is committed to selling collegiate apparel that is ethically sound for the manufacturer, the consumer and the earth, according to the project’s press release.Founders Mike Wheeler and Nathan Dean discovered that they were virtually the first people to have this sort of initiative in the eco-friendly clothing business, Wheeler said. “No other collegiate apparel line had more than a few organic cotton options,” he said.In October 2008, the business got off the ground and began producing and selling clothing for Big 10 schools such as Michigan State while Project571 launched its UVM apparel line this past spring, Dean said.Now UVM students can represent the University, support their favorite sports team and do something extra for the environment. While most are just now hearing about Project571, the public reception of the idea has been positive.  “The demographic here will definitely respond well,” junior Kristen Bergman said. “Sustainability and fair trade really matter in Vermont.”Wheeler said that he and Dean are not looking to save the environment. “After all, it is just a T-shirt,” he said.The company also guarantees that all of the materials used to produce the clothing are not harmful to the environment.Additionally, the clothing is printed using digital screen-printing, which uses non-toxic water-based inks and much fewer resources than traditional screen-printing, Wheeler said.Not only is the duo interested in doing their part to help the planet, but they have taken into consideration the issues of social responsibility and labor conditions for the individuals who manufacture the clothing.”Cheap apparel has been associated with sweat shops and workers that are paid close to nothing,” Wheeler said.  Instead, Wheeler and Dean said that they have signed onto a fair labor association and all of their clothing is made in fair working conditions.For now, all of Project571 clothing is sold strictly online, but Wheeler and Dean are looking to expand in the future and begin selling their items in stores around the country, hopefully including UVM’s Bookstore.Junior Mickey Hart believes that Project571 will be successful because it offers actual products that people can buy to show their support of the earth.”I think the company will be popular because the environment is now more than just an issue of ethics,” he said.  “It has become an issue of markets.”