The eco-entrepreneurial tipping point for Cristofer Smith came in 2004 after his beloved younger sister, Jill, passed from ovarian cancer. Jill was a health and fitness aficionado who followed an organic food diet and there was no family history. It didn’t make any sense to Cris so he asked Jill’s doctor what could have caused her cancer. The doctor named environmental toxins as the most likely causative factor.
A successful entrepreneur in the activewear industry, for 16 years, Cris had been using the standard petrochemical-based fabrics in his apparel manufacturing. Since the skin is our largest organ and is directly exposed to contact with chemicals in clothing, water and air, what comes in contact with your body is important. The quest for non-toxic alternatives led Cris to examine every aspect of his manufacturing processes and product life cycle. He dove headfirst into an intense eighteen-month journey of research, development and innovation to create a high-performance organic bamboo fabric. In 2008, his latest company, Green Apple Active, was born, dedicated to completely eco-friendly non-toxic manufacturing processes and fabrics.
Innovation Plus Performance Throughout Product Lifecycle
On a continual path of improvement, this eco-fashion innovator refuses to compromise on final product or manufacturing processes. This commitment has led Cris Smith to develop a patented bamboo knit fabric for his high performance active wear that is soft, breathable, moisture-wicking, quick drying and anti-microbial with thermal cooling properties. Every step of the product lifecycle is eco-friendly: from the nano-technology that turns organic bamboo into a micro-fiber knit, to the non-toxic water-based dyes and printing, from the soy-ink recycled compostable tags attached with bamboo string to the corn starch plastic packaging for shipping, through to its final biodegradable end.
Cris is on a bamboo crusade. Bamboo requires no pesticides or fertilizer and little water to thrive in a variety of climate zones, is amazingly fast growing (with some species growing several feet in a day), prevents soil erosion and does a great job of sequestering carbon dioxide. As a renewable resource for construction, it’s unbeatable for strength and durability.
Cristofer Smith’s non-toxic sustainable initiatives are fueled by his keen sense of responsibility to future generations, and also by his mission to offer the most comfortable, best performing organic yoga and activewear to the current generation of athletes, yoga practitioners and fitness enthusiasts.
Advice For Consumers
Cris advises consumers to read apparel labels carefully and look for certifications and ratings on manufacturer’s websites. What makes a piece of clothing eco-friendly? Look out for “greenwashing.” Are they making claims when using only 2%-10% organic fiber or are the clothes truly green and clean with over 90% of the fabric made of organic materials? How are they dying and printing the fabric, with toxic oil-based dyes and inks? Demand transparency about certifications and manufacturing processes throughout every stage of the product lifecycle. Especially look for the GOTS-certified brands (Global Organic Textile Standards).