Webinar Recap: How a Promo Supplier Makes Sustainability Possible in Manufacturing

On August 5, Next Level Apparel premiered their latest webinar on sustainable manufacturing. Weren’t able to attend? No problem – we’re sharing all the key takeaways here and a link to the recording so you can check out everything you missed.

Carly Gerstman, Director of Sustainability and Social Responsibility at Next Level Apparel, was our host, kicking things off by sharing a bit of her background and industry experience. Gerstman joined Next Level in July 2019 with the goal of bringing strategy and organization to Next Level’s social responsibility efforts (think: fair labor practices, sustainability) – which happened to be the topic of the day’s webinar.

Gerstman began by explaining how Next Level heard – and answered – the call for eco innovation, particularly in the apparel industry. As a leading wholesale blanks supplier, Next Level understands their responsibility to achieve operational excellence while also innovating to lead the charge for a greener future. Gerstman explained how Next Level truly tries to “walk the talk” by ensuring sustainable practices and ethical workplace standards while also mitigating a negative impact on the environment – all while producing the same high-quality, comfortable apparel distributors, end-buyers and end-users have all come to know and love.

The call for eco positive innovation

Next, Gerstman shared some of the steps Next Level has taken already to achieve their sustainable and socially responsible goals:

  • Using REPREVE polyester made from plastic water bottles in their ECO product line
  • Moving operations to a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design)-platinum certified warehouse
  • Shifting to a direct ship model, reducing the need for domestic travel of product
  • Reducing fabric waste through practices such as using scraps to make face masks

Gerstman then played a video that further dives into Next Level’s partnership with Unifi, one of the largest producers of polyester fabrics and textiles and the producer of REPREVE polyester, which is used in Next Level’s ECO styles. This video gives an inside look at the collaboration between the two companies and the many ways both organizations are able to get closer to their goals by working together.

It’s that shared commitment to cutting-edge products and practices that led to Next Level’s use of REPREVE polyester, which Gerstman spoke more about following the video. By combining REPREVE sustainable fibers with Next Level’s recycled and organic cotton, the ECO products are able to achieve that Next Level signature softness while also being great for sensitive skin and making steps toward a healthier planet.

Gerstman then shared another video giving a true behind-the-scenes look at what goes into creating REPREVE fibers – starting from plastic bottles and ending with the finished product. Trust us – you’ll want to see this video for yourself, especially if you’re unfamiliar with how exactly sustainable fabrics are made.


Finally, it was time to talk products. Gerstman then shared all the ins and outs of Next Level’s ECO styles themselves:

Lastly, Gerstman shared handy resources for distributors to aid them in selling these ECO products and educating clients on why it’s worth it to invest in sustainability, including:

Watch the full webinar for yourself to learn even more about Next Level’s sustainability journey and to present these earth-friendly styles to your clients today.