New SDSU Bookstore products ‘Sweat-Free’

by Danny Penera

Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor
Antonio Zaragoza / Photo Editor

A group of students at San Diego State is ensuring that ethically made clothes will be on sale at the SDSU Bookstore this fall.

“Bring ‘Sweat-Free’ Clothes to the SDSU Bookstore” is a movement by students who have encouraged the SDSU Bookstore to sell clothes made by Alta Gracia, a company that guarantees its clothes are not made in sweatshop conditions.

The clothes are expected to arrive in the Fall. There will be four items for sale: a pullover hoodie, a long-sleeve shirt and two types of short-sleeve shirts.

The bookstore will have about $15,000 worth of merchandise to start, which is nearly 570 pieces of clothing.

According to one of the movement’s members, Ashley Wardle, Alta Gracia products sell for nearly 80 cents more than comparable clothing items made by other brands.

“It’s not like we’re asking students to spend $10 or $15 more per sweater, it’s 80 cents,” Wardle said.

The movement was started at the beginning of February and consists of about eight students. They first met with the directors of the SDSU Bookstore in early March and by the end of the month, the SDSU Bookstore had agreed to carry the products made by Alta Gracia.

Alta Gracia pays its workers in the Dominican Republic a living wage more than three times the Dominican Republic’s minimum wage.

“It is very admirable that Alta Gracia is paying its workers a living wage,” Director of Aztec Shops Campus Stores Todd Summer said. “It is great that we can support that, and we are very excited to do so.”

The SDSU Bookstore’s primary brands are Nike, Champion and JanSport.

“Many of our other brands and products have benefits such as being made in the U.S.A. or being environmentally friendly,” Summer said. “Each brand has its own story and it will be up to the SDSU consumers which brands and stories resonate with them and, ultimately, are carried at the store in the longer term.”

According to Summer, SDSU’s decision to carry Alta Gracia products will not affect SDSU’s support for other brands.

Whether or not the bookstore continues to carry Alta Gracia products will depend on customer support.

“Our goal is to have those things (clothes) sold out in the first two weeks of school so that we can show the university that this is a cause students care about,” Wardle said.

Wardle said that she and others working for the movement are trying to increase awareness for this clothing line by circulating petitions. The movement’s most recent petition gathered more than 600 signatures from students and faculty.

“I think it’s really empowering for students to see that it only takes this much work and that students really do have a voice, and that when you have something that you are passionate about and willing to fight for, you really can make a change,” Wardle said.

Students who are interested in becoming involved with the movement can search Facebook for “Bring ‘Sweat-Free’ Clothes to the SDSU Bookstore” to contact the group.