I had the awesome opportunity to interview Greg Alterman, Chief Creative Officer & Owner of Alternative Apparel. He is down-to-earth, approachable, and seems to have surrounded himself with a like minded team/staff. They were very professional, yet friendly. More importantly, they were on top of their game! Kudos!
This is a two part interview. I had a lot of questions for him, and boy, he was ready! Enjoy some pictures from Alternative Apparel’s Summer 2010 lookbook (with more to come in the Part II interview). Cool, stylish, comfortable pieces for affordable prices. To shop the lookbook, go here.
Tell us a little about yourself. Things that are not available online
Well, I recently built a new home and decided to incorporate green building practices where possible. It has panels, a solar-heated pool and a solar lighting system in the backyard. I’m also researching high-efficiency water systems—it’s the small things like that which can really add up.
Believe it or not, I began by selling t-shirts out of the trunk of my car when I was a college student—I’ve always been entrepreneurial in spirit. In 1995 I launched my own line of hats under the name Alternative Headwear, but my true passion was designing the perfect tee, so in 1998 I expanded from headwear to clothing and launched Alternative Apparel.
We manufacture our products all around the world, both locally and abroad. We try to reduce our carbon footprint with one of our U.S. vendors whenever possible, but we also have to take into account which countries can produce the fabrics that we need, as many Alternative fabrics are geographic specific.
Part I; How did the eco line come about?
We introduced our eco-friendly Alternative Earth line in 2007 in an effort to help sustain our natural environment. We wanted to encourage our customers to help make a difference, and with apparel, it’s simple: we can all make a difference with what we wear. Our Alternative Earth products have the same signature vintage softness and innovative style that Alternative is known for, but are manufactured with organic cotton, recycled polyester and natural rayon polymers and are also created with low-impact, non-toxic dye and biodegradable fabric softeners. We also donate a portion of sales from the line to a variety of environmental organizations and charities.
Part II; How does Alternative Apparel remain socially responsible as an organization?
We take social responsibility seriously at Alternative. As an integral part of our corporate culture, we place a great deal of importance on the quality of people behind those products. To ensure that all of our manufacturing partners produce superior product, and also operate under proper working conditions and quality of life for their employees, we have adopted ethical standards, guidelines and principles for use with our vendors to ensure health and safety standards, fair wages and benefits and environmental protection, as well as prevent forced/child labor and harassment, abuse and discrimination. In 2009, we also launched our ReThink campaign in which we partner with eco-minded businesses, celebrities, activists and nonprofits to address a variety of global issues including animal rights, health and wellness, children and education, poverty and human rights, environmentalism and sustainability.
What causes or issues are important to you as an organization (or as an individual)?
Being a compassionate corporate citizen is a core value at Alternative. Over the years, we have worked hard to develop strong relationships with leading environmental and social nonprofit organizations, such as Wildlife Trust, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Gulf Restoration Network. Alternative is currently involved in a campaign benefitting the national environmental nonprofit Global Green USA. As part of the campaign, we added an eco-friendly “Think Earth” t-shirt to our Alternative Earth collection, for which 100% of net proceeds benefit Global Green’s climate change solutions and green building programs.
We also wanted to make it a point to give back to our local community, so we launched an Employee Volunteer Program earlier this year through which corporate employees donate their time to a variety of charities each quarter in Atlanta and Los Angeles. Most recently, our Atlanta employees gave their time and energy to two nonprofit organizations, Grant Park Conservancy and Trees Atlanta, and planted trees around the city on Arbor Day. We also do our part to support a variety of worthy causes through our event sponsorship program. Some events that Alternative has participating in during the last year include the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Benefit for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the Millennium Foundation’s MASSIVEGOOD campaign, Flood Washington Fest to benefit Gulf Restoration Network and Sarakasi Trust’s Sawa Sawa Festival to promote arts and culture in East Africa.
To be continued….