Brands You Should Know

Alternative Apparel

A look at the basics brand's sustainable production methods, Peruvian pimas, and French Terry cottons.

Alternative Apparel started life in Atlanta, Georgia, in the mid-90s, as a basics brand with a difference — founder Greg Alterman had a clear mission in mind: To create printable T-shirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts using ethically sourced cottons and sustainable manufacturing methods. He became a pioneer in a business renowned for its lack of ethics; sweatshops were rampant, and cotton production one of the least environmentally friendly industries on the planet. From the start, Alternative attempted to control the process to ensure the greenest production. Where other companies use harmful dyes, Alternative utilizes low impact dyes which reduce water usage by up to 20 to 60 gallons per product.

Alternative was an early company to see the potential of Peru as a source for high quality fabrics. The South American nation has a history of cotton production dating back 8000 years, but as urbanization took hold, many of the traditional cotton growers were abandoning their historical trade and moving to the cities. With the help of Alternative  — and the work of other American brands, like RRL — Peru has had a resurgence in popularity as a destination for some of the world’s best tee shirting, French terry cloths, and pima cottons.

Alternative works with producers on every side of the business, from the farmers to the funding bodies; transportation to yarn spinning. And in a truly innovative feat of engineering, they manage to create six different cloths from one Peruvian yarn — lightweight French Terry, organic jersey, organic thermal, poor boy rib, heavyweight French terry, and nautical striped jersey. Genius.

After 15 years of creating printable basics for other companies, Alternative made the move to also selling directly to the consumer. Fans of the brand immediately embraced the signature vintage-look tees, super soft hoodies, and sweatpants.

And you will too.

Shop the Alternative sale on Gilt, but before you do, check out the video highlighting the brand’s work in Peru, below.

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