Catherine Mullins from Rare Tee Clothing is helping people to wear their hearts on their sleeve by combining fashion and threatened species conservation!
Catherine was gracious enough to chat with Kindness by Design about style, threatened species and living green.
Q. Can you tell us a little about how Rare Tee Clothing was conceived?
I have been asked this question several times since starting the t-shirts, and it is always a favorite to answer. Rare Tee was created out of a want and need for an ethical fashion company. A need for a company who cares about how the garment is made and the message it conveys as much as the profits that might be made. While working in the fashion industry, I quickly realized ethical companies (fashion) who care about the earth, animals, and even people are few and far between. Rare Tee was created as a way to give to those who are actively helping animals in need and to educate the general public on the plight of endangered and threatened species through our graphic art.
|Giant Panda Racer Back Tank – This bamboo munching beauty has become a well-known symbol for wildlife conservation. Pandas have the digestive system of a carnivore, but they have adapted to a vegetarian diet! Learn more about this lovable species from WWF|
Q. What are the keys factors that make Rare Tee Clothing an ecologically responsible choice for shoppers?
There are several key factors that make Rare Tee an eco responsible choice for shoppers. We manufacture all our products in Los Angeles only. Production is done within a 15 mile radius, cutting down transportation emissions. All of our tags, business cards, and packaging are made from 100% post consumer products. Most of the jewelry is made using recycled or vintage materials, such as scrabble tiles and recycled silver charms. We try to be eco conscience in every part of our business, even down to the paper we print on.
|Wood Jasper Bracelet|
Q. Which wildlife charities is Rare Tee Clothing currently working with?
Rare Tee is currently donating to Jungle Friends, Mercy for Animals, and Wildlife Waystation. Jungle Friends is a primate sanctuary located in Florida. They offer a permanent, safe haven for monkeys from the U.S. who have been abused, confiscate by authorities, retired from research, or who have been abandon by thoughtless owners. Jungle Friends also speaks to audiences about the plight of primates in captivity, and that wild animals should never be kept as pets. They educate the public on the importance of keeping a wild animal in its natural habitat.
|Philippine Tarsier Tee – This species lives in the lowland and coastal forests in the Philippines and is related to lemurs, bush babies, and lorises|
Mercy for Animals is a national organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farm animals through ad campaigns and undercover investigations. As a vegan company we feel it is important to support all animals, and those who rescue them.
Wildlife Waystation is a holding rehabilitation, medical, and problem solving refuge for native, wild, and exotic animals. This 24 hour facility is devoted to caring for and returning injured, sick, or abandon native wildlife to its natural habitat. Located in the Los Angeles National Forest , Wildlife Waystation has helped a variety of animals such as lions, tigers, primates, bears, opossums, foxes, deer, and birds. Their overall goal is to preserve wildlife and cease its abuse and mistreatment.
Q. What endangered species are you most passionate about?
There isn’t a particular species I’m more passionate about than the other, I love them all. We do like to feature the “under dogs” in our designs; species that might not get the media or publicity as some others do. For example, reptiles, bats, and insects. If it’s endangered we want people to know about it, even if they aren’t cute or cuddly.
|Panther Chameleon Tee – This gorgeous reptile is endemic to the forests of Madagascar. Astonishingly their tongues are two times the length of their bodies!|
Q. Who are your favourite ethical designers?
Ecoskin is a favorite, beautiful color choices and wonderful knits. Popomomo is another favorite, they have amazing designs and great eco friendly fabrics. My friend Jennifer Miller from Mission Savvy introduced me to some great collections, and features a lot of them in her eco boutique.
Q. In your opinion, what is the most pressing environmental concern for the 21st century?
This question is a tough one. With a growing human population I think using sustainable, clean, and renewable energy sources is very important. Burning fossil fuels creates greenhouse gas emissions alongside another pressing issue…Deforestation. Removing large areas of forest for farming and or urban areas is devastating to the earth, so there is a desperate need for sustainable farming practices. All this threatens hundreds of species of animals and plants that help maintain a balance in our ecosystem. There are many environmental concerns for the 21st century, and all as equally as important as the other. Everything is linked together, and one issue will tie into the next and so on and so on.
|Sea Turtle Earrings – Learn more about these ancient mariners at WWF|
Q. What’s on the horizon for Rare Tee Clothing?
We have some exciting things going on in the future. We are introducing a new line of tees. The new shirts will have a new fit and will be made of 100% organic cotton. Again, all of our manufacturing will be done within a 15 mile radius, even our fabric miller is right around the corner! We will be working on incorporating new apparel pieces into our line. We also will be working more directly with small and local animal organizations.
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|Hawaiian Monk Seal Tank – This species is known locally as Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua which translates to “the dog that runs in the rough (waters)”|