Jordan and Nicole Haddad, brother/sister duo of Philly based slow fashion brand, Lobo Mau, met Dave Cook and Heidi Custer, co-owners of the eco-friendly textile mill, Tuscarora Mills, about one year ago during one of All Together Now PA’s monthly Clothing & Textile Coalition meetings. This introduction, initiated by coalition leader, Rachel Higgins, was exactly what Jordan and Nicole had been searching for – mills that could manufacture their textiles locally in PA.
We had wanted to work with local mills for a long time, but didn’t have the relationships until joining All Together Now’s Clothing & Textile Coalition.”-Jordan Haddad, Lobo Mau Co-owner and CEO
“I contacted Dave and Heidi after one of our coalition meetings during a time when none of our suppliers were answering their phones,” says Jordan, Lobo Mau CEO and Co-owner. ”Due to supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, it was virtually impossible to source materials, even within the US, but luckily we were able to procure deadstock cotton from Tuscarora Mills’ which we used to make masks.”
“Sourcing materials locally has always been a dream of ours.” Jordan continues, “We had wanted to work with local mills for a long time, but didn’t have the relationships until joining All Together Now’s Clothing & Textile Coalition.”
This new relationship between the two Pennsylvania based businesses eventually led to the production of Lobo Mau’s Spring 2022 collection, which launched on Saturday, March 12, 2022 and features sustainable home decor, a first for the fashion brand.
“Every year we try to up our game in sustainability. Our new goal is to become more circular. I wanted to design guilt-free home decor” says Nicole, Designer and Co-Owner.
Their new collection, manufactured entirely in Pennsylvania, includes up-cycled furniture made with hemp/organic cotton from Tuscarora Mills and upholstered by Jen Tiberi as well as other home items such as tufted recycled wool rugs hand made by Land of Plenty, zero waste pillows stuffed with shredded Lobo Mau textile (a case study with University of Delaware’s Design Researcher Kelly Cobb) handmade ceramic lamps crafted by Centerpeak, and new original women’s, men’s, and plus size clothing styles made from organic USA cotton, also sourced from Tuscarora Mills.
“Overconsumption and waste is a major problem, and I didn’t want to be another contributor,” says Jordan. “By expanding into home decor, we are able to close the loop by down-cycling our production remnants; using this shred to stuff pillows, as well as up-cycle things that already existed in the world – like furniture, deadstock fabric, and recycled wool.”
This important connection between values-aligned PA small businesses is just one example of the amazing work Clothing & Textile Coalition leader, Rachel Higgins, has been tirelessly facilitating. In February, after many months of research, Rachel launched the first part of the clothing and textile supply chain map on our website, a project partially funded by Fibershed, a nationwide nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop regional fiber systems that build soil & protect the health of our biosphere. The map is a free resource for businesses in the industry who would like to easily find other small farmers and businesses to source their materials from in and around PA.
Additionally, in collaboration with Keystone Development Center, the coalition is investigating the potential to form co-ops or other ways in which we can support fiber farmers in the region.
When asked why she is so focused on connecting local farmers and businesses in PA, Higgins had an easy answer: “There are a lot of people with incredible skills in our area who are not being paid what they deserve. It’s important we support local entrepreneurs and help each other to succeed. Local supply chains allow transparency in how workers are treated and if they are paid living wages.”
Judy Wicks, Founder of All Together Now PA, piggybacks Higgin’s sentiment, adding, “Building local supply chains that produce our basic needs close to home moves power and wealth from outside corporations to our own communities, increasing regional self-reliance and resiliency.”
Click here for more information on our Clothing&Textile Coalition.
Want to get involved? Check out our events calendar to attend future in person events.
Upcoming Clothing&Textile Coalition Events:
- April 21st– Sustainable Fashion Week x ATN-PA Discussion Panel at Building Bok
- April 24th– Sustainable Fashion Week X ATN-PA Clothing Swap at The Discovery Center
- April 25th- Hemp Fiber to Fabric Zoom Meeting
- May 19th– ATN-PA X Walnut Club Clothing Swap at FabScrap/Bok Bar