Fashion & Beauty

Published on January 7th, 2012 | by Karen Lee


Stay Vocal: The Ultimate Eco-Friendly T-Shirt Company

Stay Vocal is not just an ordinary t-shirt company. All the t-shirts the company sells are made from “rescued” t-shirts that were going to be destroyed or thrifted t-shirts and not manufactured from raw, brand new, materials.

STAY VOCAL is a Green America certified ReUse apparel company. Even their packaging is from existing materials. They use back of would be recycled paper to print and ship in used packaging (mainly cereal boxes) with labels printed on scrap paper. Even the business cards are printed on used t-shirts. (How appropriate!)

Let me introduce you Alex Eaves, the founder of Stay Vocal.

1. For such a young person, you sure did a lot of things. How did your personal life – experiences, school, friends, hobby, etc., impact on your decision to think about reusing?

Well, reusing has been a part of my life ever since I was a little kid. It all started out with matchbox cars. My dad would get slightly damaged ones that we’d turn into a junkyard scene and I would reuse toilet paper and paper towel rolls for tunnels.

As time went on and I did different things with my life, reusing seemed to come right along. When I started skateboarding, I turned an old door into a ramp and old desks and refrigerators into obstacles. When I started doing band promotions and wanted to make a picket sign for a concert, I taped posters onto an old window screen and used a broomstick for the handle. But it was really when I started selling merchandise for bands that my eyes opened wide to the importance of reusing. Not only did I see the mass production of merchandise, but I also saw the mass destruction too. I learned the disturbing facts about what happens to misprinted shirts and shirts that don’t sell in general: in most cases they are either shredded into rags or burnt. Seeing all of that first hand is what made me transition my formerly skateboard and apparel brand STAY VOCAL into a strictly reuse apparel brand.

2. How did your friends and family react to your reusing habits? Were you viewed as a greenie, a hippie, a cheapskate, etc. or were your friends cool about your beliefs?

HAHA.  I think I have probably been called all of those things at one point or another. I am definitely looked at as a reuse extremist by most people I know, but hey, somebody has to be, right? I would say overall my family and friends have been extremely supportive (both verbally and financially) of what I do. My mom was even the official “Mailorder Mom” for STAY VOCAL until this past summer.

I think a perfect example of people’s reactions would be this past fall when I finally decided to upgrade my cell phone that I had for 5 years (which most everyone of course thought was crazy.) While the phone I wanted was made of mostly recycled materials, I wanted to get a pre-owned one, even though I could just walk into a store and get one for free with my plan. After about three or four weeks of back and forth with my provider, I was able to get a free, pre-owned version of the phone I wanted. Most of my friends and family thought I was being too hard on myself and could have opted for the new one without feeling bad, but at the same time commended me for staying true to what I believe in and of course my patience!

3. How do you inspire your friends and your generation?

There was a time when I used to try and change people by complaining about what they were doing, but that obviously was not the right choice. For me, it’s all about leading by example and just showing how easy it is to make conscious decisions every day in my life. I use social networking a lot to showcase this and it definitely works. I recently found out that after reading a couple of my facebook posts, a friend of mine has completely stopped using disposable cups for her coffee. It felt pretty great to know I inspired that.

4. What other actions do you incorporate into your life regarding the environment other than “reusing”? 

From the time I wake up to when I go to bed, I think about how my decisions will affect the planet. It sounds like a lot, but so much is repetitive. Here’s just a short list of some things that I do:

  • I shower every other day and when I do, I’m quick and don’t leave the water running while I lather up.
  • If it’s yellow, I let it mellow.
  • To get around, my bike is option 1, the subway is option 2 and my car is the last resort.
  • I partake in a vegan (and mostly organic) diet; the best diet for the planet. The amount of water, oil, land and food that is wasted by the meat and dairy industry is horrendous.
  • I buy as much of my food in bulk as possible and of course bring my own reusable containers to put it in.
  • I avoid turning on the heat in my apartment and choose layering instead
  • I am pro adoption of both people and animals. Overpopulation is a real and definite threat to the planet. We did just surpass 7 billion people worldwide after all.

5. What message do you have for the younger generation? The older generation?

For the younger generation, I would say: Wake Up! There’s only one planet and you can’t recycle it. Without the planet, you would have nothing else: no people, no animals, no plants, not even your precious smart phones. Every single person makes an impact, so make yours a positive one.

For the older generation, I would say: You guys grew up reusing. Why’d you have to go and think that disposable made sense? Ahhh well, no use dwelling on the past, but forget what you learned and teach us what you once knew.

6. To sum up, why do you feel that it’s so important to reuse?
Because you can’t recycle the planet.

How true! We only have one planet and as I once read in a fortune cookie, we treat our planet like we have a spare! 

Thank you Alex for your great insight and sharing your wisdom!

Stay Vocal will offer $5 off from your purchase from today until Friday January 13th. Enter the code “greenliving” in the Coupon Code field when you check out to receive the discount.

Get the Green Living Ideas book in softcover or PDF for as low as $2.99!

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About the Author

Karen lives a simple, frugal, green life and shares her eco tips and news on ecokaren and is a co-founder of Green Sisterhood, a network of community of green women bloggers, making change. When she's not managing Green Sisterhood or blogging on ecokaren, she is a chauffeur to two greenagers, wife to an accidental recycler, master chef to hungry locavores, seamstress, knitter, and dumpster diver, not necessarily in that order.

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