Several weeks ago I posted an article entitled, London Fashion Week: Doubly Green, in which I presented several eco-brands that debuted this year at estethica—London Fashion Week's green initiative.
One of the companies featured was Prophetik—an eco-friendly company based in Tennessee that manifests art, love, poetry, and internal freedom and supports numerous charities around the world.
After requesting an interview several weeks ago, designer and owner Jeff Garner paid me a call. We must have chatted for an hour about Jeff’s sustainable journey, which he depicted with a free-spirited passion that one rarely encounters today.
As a musician and poet, Jeff’s career took off in the creative world of music management at Stiletto Entertainment, as he jet set with pop star icons like Paul McCartney and Barry Manilow who impacted him deeply, firing his own “passion”—an informal training that prepared him for green fashion!
Having led a naturalistic upbringing on a farm in the Deep South, Jeff was fully aware of the detrimental impact of the fashion industry on the environment. At first, however, Jeff was hindered from taking action due to feelings of unworthiness; that is, until he was mentored by Calvin Klein, who encouraged him simply to chart his course according to his heart-felt vision.
With the burning desire to inject a positive philosophy into the fashion world, Jeff began communing with like-minded individuals, whom he consulted about sustainability. Soon, his wheels touched down on an alternative t-shirt company, which, in the course of nine years, Jeff has converted into a full-blown eco-collection!
At the time, garment factories in Tennessee had long been closed, leaving a trail of laid-off sewers that were scattered throughout the “sticks”—impassioned elderly folk who still shared a strong work ethic and the old ways of the Deep South. Down on a farm, Jeff and his team began stitching renaissance pieces of conversational garments that harbor no hidden agenda, no gimmicks, and no grey areas.
Jeff diligently employs GOTS-certified dyed fabrics, organic pigments, vintage or wooden/bamboo buttons, and even baking soda to soften garments. All these processes limit his choices in the materials and colors that he may choose and demand considerably more time. “There are no short cuts,” urges Jeff—and he would have it no other way!
Like a Norman Rockwell of sorts, Jeff draws his inspiration from ordinary life and nature, such as with his s/s 2009 collection, which paints a picture of a horse in the English countryside being set free from its rider.
Jeff launched Sustainable Kids to teach the next generation how to live responsibly in an age of consumerism. When children purchase a new Prophetik garment, they receive a box with a postage stamp so that they may ship an old garment to impoverished children in Haiti. Moreover, with the purchase of every garment, $1.50 is donated to the building fund of a children’s village in Haiti.
Prophetik is retailed in 77 stores across 5 countries.