It’s no secret that women love going shopping. We gather around our laptop screens or stalk the entrance of our favorite clothing store just to get a glimpse at what’s new, what’s trending and what would look absolutely fabulous on our skin and in our closet. Shopping is our thing - has been for generations and it’s not looking like we’ll find another addiction that’s as fashionable.
Although shoppers enjoy being in great company with some of the most stylish brands, they are starting to take notice of something else that’s more important than style when choosing their garments. Environmentally conscious clothing is one of the latest trends to hit the world of fashion and savvy shoppers are paying attention.
Now before you freak out, joining the eco-clothing movement DOES NOT mean you wear potato sacks or that you have to trade in style for sustainability. It also doesn’t mean you have to give up half of your paycheck just so you can sport an organic cotton t-shirt. There is a happy and chic medium for the stylish consumer who wants to be socially responsible and support environmental efforts without breaking the bank. That medium is BeGood Clothing.
BeGood is an environmentally-friendly clothing line of super-soft basics and accessories that uses organic practices in EVERY stage of production. BeGood’s dedication to environmental consciousness has birthed a better product for not only the consumer, but for the planet. Recently, we caught up with BeGood co-founder Dean Ramadan at their pop-up shop in Venice, CA to talk making a difference while keeping it stylish.
Jasmin Martin: Nowadays it seems everything is shifting towards “going green”. Why do you think BeGood stands out amongst other eco-friendly clothing brands?
Dean Ramadan: First off, let me say how thrilled I am that it seems everything is shifting towards going green. Businesses have taken major steps forward in the past couple years, and slowly but surely, the green business is starting to boom. We started BeGood with the idea of making the first direct-to-consumer eco-friendly clothing line. This means that we don’t wholesale our line out to anyone, and we sell directly to you. This allows us to be the most affordable eco-option on the market. We also are turning the idea of eco-friendly clothing on it’s head, and saying, “why can’t you go green and still look good?” Too many people associate wearing eco-friendly with wearing burlap or rough hemp. You can be stylish and still wear clothes that don’t damage the planet!
JM: Did you always know you wanted to work in fashion or did a passion for social responsibility lead you into fashion? Your company philosophy is “change your clothes, change the world.” What does that mean for you?
DR: I did not know I always wanted to work in fashion, but I have always had a passion for helping others and supporting socially responsible brands. Patagonia was a major influence on BeGood, with how they’ve had such great success while pioneering so many green initiatives (like 1% For the Planet). Change your clothes, change the world means simply all it takes to make a difference, to make a tangible impact for good on this planet, is to buy an organic cotton t-shirt. Simple as that. By purchasing one organic cotton t-shirt, you are reducing the amount of pesticide and insecticide use by ⅓ a pound. Then, when you add in that your purchase is giving back to a charitable cause (donating 12 gallons of purified drinking water to Evidence Action), you can feel even better about yourself.
JM: Our favorite thing about BeGood is that not only are you promoting social responsibility through sustainable clothing, but you practice social responsibility with your charity work. Tell us a little about some of your non-profit work.
DR: Non-profit work is very important to BeGood as a company, and to its founders, myself and Mark Spera. When we started our store in 2012, Mark and I would still find time to volunteer twice a week. Once at Project Open Hand, which delivers groceries and meals to people in the Bay Area suffering from HIV/AIDS or Breast Cancer. The other volunteer work was at the Golden Gate Parks Department ensuring our cities parks are looking clean and beautiful. Giving back to our community is very important. We also believe strongly in a global economy, which is why we chose to partner with Evidence Action for our giveback. The fact that there are still millions of people on this planet who don’t have access to clean drinking water is pretty horrifying. We wanted to do a small part and make our customers aware of what was going on in the world, and to support Evidence Action to continue their incredible work.
JM: As a women’s magazine, we’re constantly discussing the differences between men and women in the workforce. Being male business owners in the fashion industry, do you feel like you’re treated differently than female business owners?
DR: I haven’t experienced first hand myself being treated differently than female business owners, but I definitely agree that I should not be. Myself and my co-founder, Mark, are actually the only males in our company. We have a number of neighbors on Union Street in San Francisco, where our store is located, that are female business owners, and I know they are treated with the respect they deserve and are doing a tremendous job.
JM: What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken professionally and how has it paid off?
DR: The biggest risk I have taken professionally was quitting my job, moving across the country to a city that I hadn’t spent more than 5 days in, to open a retail store on an iconic San Francisco street selling eco-friendly clothing to customers, the majority of whom have never shopped green before. It has now paid off with three years of profitable business, our own clothing line that has advanced far-past where I could ever have imagined, an e-commerce store, thousands upon thousands of customers, and a staff of the hardest working and most fun people in San Francisco.
JM: What’s next for BeGood? Are you looking into branching out into other areas? Maybe a children’s line or home goods…? We’d love to see that!
DR: BeGood is always looking to improve and expand our line. We have our spring selections coming out in the next few weeks, which we are excited to show everyone. As we continue to have success with the clothing, we are also branching out to more accessories, both lifestyle and clothing. We recently launched three new scarves, as well as a throw blanket that has done unbelievably well. We are trying to become the most authentic sustainable lifestyle brand.
I’m all about the eco-chic movement. I love that BeGood makes it easy and affordable for me to look good and support the planet in super soft, tees.
For more information on how you can join the eco-chic movement with BeGood Clothing, check them out at begoodclothes.com.