GOEX Apparel reopens brick-and-mortar location prioritizing fair wages and sustainability
Undeterred by the past year’s ups and downs, clothing and graphic design company GOEX Apparel held a grand reopening Aug. 6 at 3161 Wyandotte St. in Midtown.
“We’re putting trash in T-shirts on a regular basis,” says GOEX Executive Director Jessica Ray. “We divert waste and turn it into clothes. Our buttons are all made out of recycled plastic—our zippers are recycled ocean plastic.”
The new brick-and-mortar location represents the company’s story, sustainability, and history of giving back to communities both here and abroad. GOEX uses revenue generated from T-shirts to pay fair, honest wages to the Kansas City and Haitian employees who make them.
“GOEX is wholly owned by the Global Orphan Project, which works domestically and internationally [according to] three pillars: orphan prevention, orphan care, and orphan transition,” says Ray. “We function in prevention and transition.”
The Global Orphan Project and GOEX created a two-year vocational training program in Haiti that teaches job skills to young people, many of whom decide to get into clothing manufacturing with GOEX as a way to support their families.
“It’s all about paying employees fair wages so they can care for their kids, build community, and invest in others around them,” says Ray.
She adds: “Our primary way of doing that at GOEX is through our fair wage factory in Haiti, where we employ about 75 people who sew all of our garments. They receive their wages, plus benefits, time off, health care, and social education.”
Those wages give power and agency to people who are often up against systems of economic hardship.
All the fabric is made in South Carolina and then cut and sewn in Haiti, which lowers the carbon footprint and creates more jobs. GOEX wants to set an example for other clothing makers and hopes fair wage jobs become the standard—not an anomaly.
For their part, sustainable components take more time to produce but also last longer and cut down on waste in landfills.
In 2019, the New York Times ran a story that shared data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “In 2015,” it reads, “the United States generated 11.9 million tons—or about 75 pounds per person—of textile waste, most of which ended up in landfills.”
“We use a lot of sustainable fabrics,” says Ray. “Our tri-blend is 50% recycled polyester. There are five water bottles in every shirt. We also use all U.S. fabrics, so our supply chain supports U.S. jobs. We have a great team here in Kansas City.”
The company’s garments come in all styles, sizes, and colors, and are made of sustainable fibers. Some options include tri-blend tees, tanks, and V-necks; premium cotton tees and tanks; and fleece crewnecks and pullovers. Kids can choose from tri-blend tees in 14 colors or gray fleece crewnecks.
“We love being part of Kansas City, and as Downtown becomes more vibrant, we’re excited to be part of what’s going on in Midtown,” says Ray. “We have a partnership with the Full Employment Council, so we regularly have young adults come through who do internships and work with our team.”
GOEX also screen prints every T-shirt in house. Customers can send over art files to be printed or choose from the company’s massive graphic catalog.
Did we mention that this weekend is a sales tax holiday? Time to head to Midtown and check out GOEX.
GOEX Apparel is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.