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Donny_Lassiter_Cotton.jpg John Hart
Donny Lassiter inspects cotton that was planted no-till into a cover crop of wheat. Lassiter says he is honored to be part of the Wrangler Rooted Collection program.

These US farmers grow their cotton for a unique blue jean

Each jean includes a unique wash, trim and patch that features the state’s patch along with the cotton farmer’s signature.

Consumers can now know for sure the blue jeans they buy are made from U.S cotton. The Rooted Collection by Wrangler features state-specific jeans and t-shirts made from sustainable, traceable-to-the-farm cotton from five farms in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas.

Each jean and t-shirt in the collection is milled and cut and sewn in the United States. Each state’s jean includes a unique wash as well as a trim and patch that features the state’s patch along with the farmer’s name and signature.

The five farms participating in the program are Newby Family Farms of Athens, Ala., McLendon Acres of Leary, Ga., Lassiter Family Farms of Conway, N.C., Pugh Farms of Halls, Tenn., and Vance and Mandie Smith of Big Spring, Texas.

The farms supplying cotton to the Rooted Collection are the first growers in the Wrangler Science and Conservation program, which advocates for land stewardship and soil health best practices. Wrangler aims to source 100 percent of its cotton from farms using land stewardship practices by 2025.

Mark and Donny Lassiter say they are honored to be part of the program that supplies blue jeans made from cotton grown on their North Carolina farm. Donny says the new jeans wear nicely, comfortable and not as stiff as typical jeans.

The Lassiters worked with Roian Atwood, director of sustainability for Wrangler on the Rooted Collection project. Sustainable production practices are an integral part of the program.

The Lassiters met Atwood two years ago through the Stoneville E3 program where growers commit to grow cotton more efficiently and decrease the impact on the environment. Cotton produced in the program must meet the three Es: Socially equitable, economically viable and environmentally responsible.

“I got to know the Lassiters and was impressed with their systematic, holistic approach to farm management. It was compelling and aligned with what we are trying to do at Wrangler with soil health and land stewardship,” Atwood says.

Soil health and land stewardship with cover crops, conservation tillage and complex rotations are key to cotton grown for Wrangler under the Rooted Collection program. Atwood notes that Wrangler purchases about 80 percent of its cotton from U.S. growers and prefers them to use these land stewardship practices.

He adds that the Rooted Collection program is important because it allows Wrangler to develop a close working relationship with farmers who supply the cotton which goes into the blue jeans.

“We know what they do is not easy. Feeding and clothing the world with all the challenges they face today can feel insurmountable. The more transparency we can have with each other, the more positivity we can do in telling their story, the more connectivity we can have with the consumer about the things which are important to them is critical,” Atwood said.

Mount Vernon Mills in Trion, Ga., makes the denim fabric and the jeans are cut and sewn by Excel Manufacturing in El Paso, Texas. Spinning is done by Patrick Yarns in Kings Mountain, N.C., knitting is by Contempora Fabrics in Lumberton, N.C., Dyeing is by Carolina Cotton Works in Gaffney, S.C. Cut and sew is by Palmetto Apparel services in Andrew, S.C., and printing is by TS Designs in Burlington, N.C. 

The Wrangler Rooted Collection initially will be available through Wrangler.com and participating retailers. Jeans will retail for approximately $100 per piece, with t-shirts priced from $30 per piece.

The website is  https://www.wrangler.com/collections/wrangler-rooted.html

WranglerLassiter_Wrangler_Rooted_Collection.jpg

The North Carolina Jean includes a label signed by Donny Lassiter who grew the cotton for the jean on his Conway, N.C. farm.

TAGS: Conservation
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