When you check the tag on your t-shirt, it’s common to read Made in China or Made in Indonesia or maybe even Made in the USA. What’s not particularly common, though, is to read a name. But look on the inside of any shirt from Known Supply, and you’ll see names like Esther Barzola, Liz Aquino, or Vilma Bautista.
Why? Because they made the garment you’re holding.
This is the mission of Known Supply — for you to know exactly where your shirts come from.
“If we can get people to understand that there’s a real person behind the product, we can change the way they think about purchasing,” says Travis Hartanov, co-founder of Known Supply.
Known Supply was started by two lifelong friends, Travis Hartanov and Kohl Crecelius. The two got started in the fashion and apparel industry roughly 12 years ago when they started a brand called Krochet Kids, a similar concept where they employed impoverished women in Peru and Uganda to produce crocheted goods like beanies, clothing, etc.
As Krochet Kids grew and they began working with more partners, Travis and Kohl began to see how huge the gap was for socially conscious, ethically-made apparel.
“10 years into Krochet Kids, we had the itch to kind of say, ‘what’s next?’ And there’s this gap in the market for ethically made apparel, and we thought we could fill it” says Travis.
With an idea and a mission, Travis and Kohl set off to change the apparel industry for the better.
For Travis and Kohl, the mission of Known Supply was always clear: Humanizing the apparel industry.
How do they do this? By empowering both the people who make the apparel, and the people who purchase it.
In an age where so many things are automated, it’s easy to forget that, largely, apparel is still very much a manual process. There are large facilities with sophisticated machinery, but much of the real work is still done by hand
That said, there are a lot of clothing manufacturers who either pay poor wages to workers in countries overseas, or contract out factories to produce their goods and turn a blind eye towards the working conditions.
Knowing that workers in the industry are often treated poorly, the Known Supply team works hard to pay great wages and teach employable, in-demand skills, with the hope of their employees eventually being able to start their own businesses.
If one of the main goals of the company is to empower customers to make more informed better purchasing decisions, then there’s one truth that Known Supply wants to make sure you know: Who made it matters.
One small but impactful way they do this is by adding a tag with the signature of the person who made your shirt to every single garment.
“People can buy a shirt and read a snippet about who made my shirt and realize that they’re very similar to me. They’re trying to support a family and, you know, put food on the table just like I am in America,” says Travis.
If you go to Known Supply’s site, you can put a face to the name by reading about the person who made your shirt, and even leaving them a thank you note for doing so.
It’s that human connection that the team at Known Supply hopes will inspire buyers to change the way they think about purchasing.
“If customers understand who’s behind their apparel and start demanding better quality tees, that’s what it takes to increase the standards for everybody in the game,” says Travis.
Just as important as who made the shirts is how good the shirts are. And we can say for certain that these shirts are awesome.
Traditionally, most of Known Supply’s collection was made with Pima cotton, but they’re actually in the process of going 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. On top of that, all of their products are Fair Trade Certified, too.
“Apparel has as big of an environmental impact as it does a social one,” says Travis. “So we really want to couple both of those components together with the apparel we produce.”
These materials aren’t only good for the environment, as they make a darn good t-shirt, too. The high-quality fabrics make their shirts soft, durable, and structured. Plus, they’re pre-washed to prevent any shrinking.
We’re also big fans of Known Supply’s Women’s Raglan Crew. Featuring a more subtle hem, raglan sleeves, and a flow-y silhouette, it’s an incredibly stylish take on a more standard tee.
We're thrilled to make Known Supply an option available for you to print on here at Real Thread. Go check out the Known Supply offerings on our product page, and be an active part of this mission to change the apparel industry for the better.
Have more questions, or need help getting a custom shirt project started? Feel free to reach out. Our team can’t wait to talk to you.