RCSC Faculty on Tucson Clothing Store Going National

Tucson’s Fed by Threads wants to become the Target of organic clothing, its owners say, servicing a growing segment of mainstream customers interested in fashion made in America out of sustainable materials.

Initial plans call for five stores in the next two years, with two locations — in Seattle and San Diego — already scheduled to open by September 2017. Other targeted cities include Portland, Atlanta, Austin, Boulder and New York.

“This company has more potential than any I’ve ever worked for,” said co-owner Skya Nelson, who has decades of experience in the apparel industry and is a former creative director at Raytheon. “The market is poised and no one is out there competing like we want to compete.”

With growth comes change for the local retailer — putting in a new supply chain, point-of-sale systems and basically devising processes for everything. As it prepares to go from virtually a one-man operation into having a national presence, there have been some growing pains, Nelson said.

One of the goals of Fed by Threads is to bring more transparency into production and be able to talk about the supply chain that goes into creating every garment it carries, Appadurai said.

This is a move in the right direction, said Charlette Padilla, a professor of retailing and consumer sciences at the University of Arizona.

“I love the idea that they have a story behind their products,” she said. “What a wonderful thing to have if you buy something, to know the story.”

Unfortunately, with many of the clothes we buy now, that can be a horror story, she said.

“People are shocked when they realize how much of our resources we use when we make apparel. Water is the worst, because you use so much of it in the dying process and creating the fibers,” Padilla said.

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