Croatan Institute & Solid State Clothing Announce New Collaboration

May 4, 2022

Croatan Institute, TS Designs, and Solid State Clothing are excited to announce a new collaboration featuring a naturally-dyed North Carolina Black Walnut T-Shirt sourced from the 10,000 Pounds of Cotton Project, an initiative created to transfer power to U.S. cotton farmers and conscious consumers. A portion of the proceeds of each sale of this special t-shirt will support Croatan Institute’s mission to build social equity and ecological resilience by leveraging finance to create pathways to a just economy.

This t-shirt is also one of numerous benefits for members of Croatan Institute’s new Canopy Community, a growing group of highly engaged supporters who are helping the Institute pursue the priorities from our Strategic Plan 2021-2023. With this collaboration, we are also delighted to welcome TS Designs to our Canopy Community. Learn more about opportunities associated with joining the Canopy Community here.

Under today’s current industrial agricultural system, cotton growers face misaligned financial incentives that trap them into conventional commodity markets. The commodity system expects farmers to bear most of the risks including increasingly extreme weather events, climate-change induced disruptions, and global market fluctuations.

Solid State’s 10,000 Pounds of Cotton Project was created to counter the industrial system. TS Designs and Solid State Clothing committed to buying 10,000 pounds of cotton grown with no-till practices at a fair price directly from third-generation North Carolina farmer Andrew Burleson. The shirts were manufactured entirely in North and South Carolina within a 250-mile radius of Solid State Clothing’s home in Burlington, NC. A unique QR code label on each shirt lets you track its development — from dirt to shirt — by providing information about each business involved in the process including several members of our partners at the Carolina Textile District.

The result of this collaboration is the North Carolina Black Walnut T-Shirt made from Solid State Clothing’s 2020 cotton vintage. It’s a shirt with a look and feel unique to its origin, a T-shirt with terroir.  

The beautiful soft brown of the t-shirt comes from locally foraged black walnuts, the fruit of a tree native to the Eastern United States. Solid State Clothing collected hundreds of pounds of walnuts that fell from large, old trees from the same farm where the cotton was sourced. The crop was supplemented with walnuts from Solid State Clothing CEO Eric Henry’s farm. Then, local cooperatively owned brewery Burlington Beer Works cooked up the walnuts to create a dye and the shirts were dyed with it a mile down the road at TS Designs’ dyehouse.

Croatan Institute, an independent nonprofit research and action institute, envisions an equitable world where finance supports flourishing communities, vibrant places, and resilient economies. That’s why the Institute has partnered with TS Designs and Solid State Clothing on this project supporting regenerative, local fiber economies that build soil wealth.

Purchase your North Carolina Black Walnut T-Shirt today.