UVM purchases approximately 14,000 promotional t-shirts each academic year, in addition to thousands of other UVM branded clothing items. These purchases are currently based on cost and shirt design. To move UVM toward sustainable clothing purchases, this page outlines sustainable criteria to consider when purchasing UVM branded clothing. 

Definition of Sustainability

Sustainability is a way of operating that focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future. Sustainability is measured along three principles: the economy, society, and the environment. Sustainable apparel is made in a way that does no further damage to the environment or the communities responsible for manufacturing that apparel. This could include organic or recycled materials, local sourcing, or health, safety, and wage protections for workers.

Local vendors that carry UVM’s recommended manufacturers' products (as of 8/25/22)

*Starred products are recommended. Secondary choices have some sustainable aspects.



Products Used

UVM Bookstore802-656-0989brendan.andrews@uvm.edu

The UVM Bookstore offers all-in-one shopping, including:

  • Sourcing any clothing line, including our recommended manufacturers, & managing supply chain issues
  • Handling artwork, licensing, & needed waivers
  • Delivering to campus
  • Journaling the cost to your department & paying the invoice directly, so no PO will be needed
Deerfield Design802-496-4224info@deerfielddesigns.com
  • *Royal Apparel Organics w/ price-sensitive "recycled jersey tee" option
  • *Ecoconscious
Image Outfitters
  • *Allmade
Kevin Smith Sports802-524-3312 ext 22eddie@kevinsmithsports.com
  • *Allmade
  • Alphabroder – lots of color options but lower sustainability features
Select Design518.774.6310eshwajlyk@selectdesign.com
  • *Allmade
  • Port & Co – strong on fair labor standards
  • *Royal Apparel
  • Tutlex 202 – ringspun cotton
  • Hanes Eco Smart 5170, 5% recycled poly from plastic bottles


Most sustainable manufacturers recommended by UVM

Listed in order of recommendation, starting with the best option:

SupplierProductSustainable Features
  • Sustainable fabric options & certified processes
  • Soft t-shirt available in 15 colors
  • B-Corporation
  • Supplier Disclosure Information
  • Labor Practice Disclosure
  • Organic cotton fabric & certified processes
  • Available in up to 18 colors
  • Supplier Disclosure Information
  • Labor Practice Disclosure
Royal Apparel
  • Organic cotton fabric
  • Recycled jersey tee is price-sensitive option
  • Many Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified products


Sustainable fabric choices

The fabric used in the composition of the clothing impacts the inherent resource consumption of manufacturing the clothing item. The following table highlights which fabrics are the most sustainable and why; listed in order of most to least sustainable.

FabricSustainable Features
Recycled cotton
  • Made from previously used cotton
  • The re-use saves significant amounts of water
Organic cotton
  • Made without harmful fertilizers
  • Recycled Organic Cotton is the most sustainable
  • Important to look for additional certifications (next section)
Organic hemp
  • Fast growing plant which needs few resources
  • Good for soil health
Tencel ©(Lyocell)
  • A type of rayon manufactured with more ethical practices
  • Plant-based
Recycled polyester (rPET)
  • Made of recycled plastic bottles – i.e., diverts plastic from landfills
Ringspun cotton
  • Made to be more durable than traditional cotton, thus there is a longer lifespan


Fabrics to avoid

FabricSustainability Issues
Uncertified cotton
  • Water-intensive
  • Chemically intensive
  • Labor intensive
Uncertified wool
  • Desertification & animal rights abuse implications
Uncertified leather
  • Chemical intensive
  • Cattle are a significant contributor to greenhouse gases
  • Deforestation
  • Made from wood pulp
  • Chemical/energy/water intense process
  • Deforestation impacts
  • Heavily chemically intensive process to convert bamboo into retail fibers
  • Petroleum (oil) based fabric