LOHAS Apparel, a new eco-textile clothing and accessory company based in Denver, strives to promote a lifestyle of health and sustainability, and its designs offer a modern and sleek take on eco-friendly products. "We take pride in our Colorado-made products and the reduction of our carbon footprint," says Anna Smith, head of operations for LOHAS Apparel, who recently took the time to tell us more about the inspiration behind her company.
Westword: What was the inspiration for your collection?
Anna Smith: Our first collection stems from the last four years of our developmental process: the struggle and the amount of research and effort necessary, not to mention funding. The first collection takes time to create simply because of the supply chain, but now that it's in place we are ready to blast off.
When did LOHAS Apparel begin?
After graduating from the University of Colorado Boulder, I wanted to do something truly different from the norm for a finance degree. After long hours of research and countless meetings with my career counselor, Mary Banks, there was a company to match the lifestyle I was attempting to create. The company was http://www.coloradohempproject.com/isaac-nichelson, the first eco-textile clothing brand to make a true impact. I was initially recruited through a YouTube video I created as a way to gain attention; it was my interview pitch. Shortly thereafter, I was working in Santa Monica for a highly revered brand.
Unfortunately, every lifestyle brand has a life cycle, and LiViTY was on its way out. I worked long hours and was paid, well, not much at all as I soon learned I was being exploited. The trade-off is that I was able to work and rub elbows with a true pioneer in the eco-fashion industry, Isaac Nichelson, who currently is chief sustainability and marketing officer of the Colorado Hemp Project. After departing LiViTY headquarters, I set out to create my own brand and lifestyle. LOHAS Apparel was established in 2010.
Who is the primary designer?
Andrew Newell covers our industry experience of design and product development. He also fosters relationships with many of the top sustainability companies in the U.S.
How has Boulder influenced your work?
Boulder has taught us that quality, though time-consuming, truly pays off. Also, how health and sustainability has a direct relationship to everyone's life in some facet. Boulder influenced us to believe that sometimes it is not what the majority of society believes that is correct, but what nature holds true. Some people said that there is no way we can generate only eco-textiles and up-cycled materials. Today we honor every principle we held from the beginning: slow and steady wins the race.
Helping the community seems to be a priority for your company; how do you go about doing so?
We have a direct relationship with Wigs For Kids, a non-profit aimed at creating a better life for children who are less fortunate. We have a perpetual relationship in the sense that we donate our "natural threads," or hair, to this company that generates thousands of wigs for the kids. Also we are plugged into different feeding-the-homeless programs throughout Oahu and Denver. Essentially, we help source and feed those who need to eat, no qualifications necessary.
What is the price range of the merchandise?
Our range of price is anywhere from $25 to $150. This price insures quality and functionality, as well a limited lifetime warranty.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
We would like our customers to know that we do not copy other brands, as we create all our own measurements; we don't just order T-shirts and print on them -- we truly design every aspect of the T-shirt. We are not designers, we are re-designers. We did not create the bag, the T-shirt or the dog watch, but we re-created it in a way that is unique to our brand identity.
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LOHAS Apparel's new line includes a 100 percent hemp survival backpack that comes in three colors; three styles of hemp and organic cotton Tees; a 100 percent wood watch for men; a hemp denim men's jacket and a 100 percent hemp dog leash. Buy them on lohasapparel.com or at exclusive wholesale member locations.