The fashion industry is slowly incorporating more sustainable materials in their products as consumers seek to use their clothing choices to lower their carbon footprints. As is true with the advent of any new idea, however, the creation of eco-friendly apparel has not come without its snags, including fabric that is uncomfortable and designs that are not as attractive as consumers would like. However, with the release of the OG Pineapple low-top sneakers, Organic Garments (OG) is working to change the industry by showing that eco-friendly can actually be stylish. Josh Thiede, the Founder and CEO of Organic Garments, agreed to talk to us about his company’s new plant-based sneakers, including how they can help people and the planet.
“The shift to sustainable sneakers that are fun and comfortable to wear means this is an exciting time for consumers who love the Earth and want change,” Thiede says. “They have been looking for businesses that are eco-friendly and that offer premium products for a fair price. We have been working over the past four years to make a plant-based sneaker that our customers can wear day and night and that is lightweight and comfortable. Our OG Pineapple low-top sneakers are the result, and we could not be more excited to launch them.”
Thiede reveals that the key to achieving the sneakers’ signature look lies in its materials as well as its design. “First and foremost, we knew that the sneakers had to be durable, comfortable, and natural,” he says. “That’s why we chose hemp and pineapple leaf fibers. Hemp is a very strong, water-resistant, all-natural textile that holds its shape, and it is resistant to mildew and ultraviolet light.”
The pineapple leaf fabric, Thiede continues, is a natural, patented vegan material that is produced from the by-product of the pineapple harvest. Its production requires no extra land, fertilizer or pesticides, and it has the appearance of leather.
He adds that the outsoles are made of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), a synthetic material that has the characteristics of plastic and rubber. “Unlike rubber, however, TPE can be remolded,” says Thiede. “This is especially important because our goals include starting a recycling program that will use this technology and further reduce waste.”
Thiede reflects that while he and his team carefully selected the materials used by Organic Garments, they paid just as much attention to the design of the sneakers. “Let’s face it, no one wants to wear sneakers that are not attractive,” he says. “That’s why we designed the perfect sneaker on paper – including its color, stitching and feel – and then found a way to use hemp and pineapple leaf fibers to make that design a reality.”
Embroidered on the side panel of each sneaker is the company’s signature: the OG Pineapple logo. Thiede says that the company’s professional shoe crafters also give special care to the stitching so that the wearer can feel confident as they walk on a beach, down a city street, or through the woods. “When customers plant their feet in our sneakers, they can feel the difference.”
Each pair of eco-friendly sneakers is personal to Thiede, who owes his passion for plants and the Earth to his grandparents. “My grandfather in particular taught me so much about taking care of the planet and reusing everything around me,” he remembers. “He instilled in me that same love for the environment, and Organic Garments is an extension of him and his belief that anything can, and should be, repurposed.”
The road to launching the company’s first pair of plant-based sneakers did not come without its issues. “We prioritized finding a factory whose leaders held our values, ethics and vision,” Thiede recalls. “Working with the fabric itself brought some challenges, as did COVID and the soaring cost of materials and shipping. We believed in our product, however, so we kept working until we were ready to launch our sneakers.”
Currently, Organic Garments only sells its shoes in the United States and Canada, but Thiede would like to expand to other markets interested in sustainable sneakers. “We want our customers to depend on us for their footwear needs and know that we appreciate their support.”
Thiede sees a wide-open future for Organic Garments. “The world is changing rapidly, and people are examining the impact they are having on the planet,” he says. “We are at the beginning of a new industry, one that fully embraces sustainable living. Five years from now, after we have launched our high-top sneakers and other low-tops, I see us adding other sustainable apparel to our product lineup and becoming the premier sustainable apparel company in the United States and abroad.”
It all starts, Thiede says, with plant-based sneakers that leave few, if any, footprints behind on Earth for people today and future generations.
Organic Garments, founded by Josh Thiede, is the creator of the OG Pineapple sneaker for men and women. The sneaker is the culmination of the company’s search for a way to build a better plant-based sneaker that could be worn anywhere and that would be good for people and for the planet.
For more information about the pineapple leaves/hemp-based sneakers that will make you want to plant your feet in them, please see https://organicgarments.com/.