When we started Choona, our mission was to create the same impact within our process as with the product itself. We dreamed of disrupting the outleisure (outdoor athleisure) industry. At first, the vision was to create durable, last-till-you-die garments for the modern outdoorsman. But we quickly learned that this industry is a broken beast, filled with bloated shareholders and starving workers. We wanted each purchase not just to fill our pockets back up, but also to help fill the bellies of kids who need real nourishment. So, as you are fishing in your new hoodie, a child in Leon, Nicaragua gets five meals. As we continue to grow, we will mature and expand our giveback model, this is what lights us up. From our original sketch to your delivered shipment, we are purpose over profit.

Why Manufacture in the USA?

Yeah, we love it here. But this decision was not just because we wanted to fly our flag and rev our truck. Made in the USA isn’t always the golden ticket, believe it or not, there’s a bit of corruption here, too! We wanted to have a greater pride in that flag, by building an American company with higher ethical standards. We wanted to be involved in manufacturing, wanted to know the hands that sewed our aggressively soft fabrics. In the current global supply chain, we found that with climates, tariffs, visibility of products, and lead times, it was difficult to find suppliers that we believed in, much less that we wanted to support. The factories we work with are all committed to paying their workers fairly and competitively, keeping clean and safe working conditions, and using sustainable materials. In the states, these standards might seem obvious. We have minimum wages along with bills and laws to protect our workers, but that isn’t the case in developing countries. Most companies that manufacture in China, Sri Lanka, India, and Vietnam, among others, pay their workers little to nothing, keeping them in poverty, and dependent on dangerous work environments. This is the fast fashion industry.

Fast Fashion: Fast fashion is a design, manufacturing, and marketing method focused on rapidly producing high volumes of clothing. The combination of low-quality materials, refusal to pay workers fair wages, and insanely high volumes allow new shipments of $5 tee’s to hit your local retail stores daily.

Just take a second and think of how many garments you own that cost you less than $20. Factor in design, development, labor, shipping, taxes, and retail markets. There is one point in this supply chain that gets stiffed… the workers. Someone’s paying for that, it’s just not you or the company you are buying from. The reason that this matters is not just to have a deeper value for sustainable clothing, but a deeper value for life.

The Good News

We all want to be a part of something, to be good stewards, good resources, and to as cheesy as it sounds, be the change we want to see in the world. Companies like Choona are prioritizing both high quality products and a higher purpose. Every purchase you make is a vote with your wallet, and we wanted you to know what we stand for: people, purpose, and sustainability. We are building technical apparel that reduces waste, values a higher quality of life for workers, and we can’t overstate this- looks really good on you.

So we hope you feel good in your clothes, wherever they take you, but you can feel good about them, too. We sure do.

Kurt Tobias
May 06, 2022 — Kurt Tobias