An alternative to the many fast fashion brands in the world, One Golden Thread crafts feel-good fashion for the conscious collective. Their mission is to connect humanity by a golden thread to nature, an elemental reminder that caring for the planet begins by caring first for self with love. They source the world’s most ethically-luxurious “super-natural” fibers to create their One Golden Thread fabric, and their regenerative model replenishes nature, planting a tree for every item sold.
I sat down with Jeff Scult, the Founder and Chief Creative Officer to talk about his incredibly inspirational journey that started as a personal quest to create and reimagine the world’s most perfect tee back in 2017.
As a first time clothing designer at the age of 51 with no formal design training yet a life-long reverence for craft and nuance, Jeff wasn’t harbored with any restrictive or standard “ways of doing things.” He designed for the ‘sacred masculin’, to elongate and flatter the torso, longer bicep hugging sleeves, clean lines for flow yet raw edges, just like life. He designed for those who are tall, and for all who stand tall. And of course, a symbolic golden thread weaving through every shirt. “It was what I dreamed of, my favorite tee, and it continues as an honor in my life to see that one by one, others agree,” he noted.
From there, the genie was out of the bottle, and his previously suppressed artistic life was unleashed to create a globally-inspired collection, mused by cultures that had touched his 39-country life travel journey. Tree Pants for life in flow inspired by the Indian Jodhpur, the Milanos Pant with an Italian “Sprezzatura fashion without a care” flare, The Kairos Duster celebrating Japanese street wear resonance, and Nature Wraps as his uptake on the omni-versatile Balinese Sarong.
One Golden Thread seeks to inspire conscious consumption. Owning less things you love more, investing in intentional articles that become a part of you, for life over seasons. A reverse from the fashion industry’s broken model of a race to the bottom of price, a littering of disposable synthetic clothing toxifying our soil and plasticizing our Ocean. They are committed to one’s cozy, second skins where both humans and the planet win. Every five star review, humbling and honoring, they ring the bell. “It’s all a bit obsessive. In the most golden way possible. Our customer’s fervency affirms we are on an uprising golden path together,” Jeff added.
I asked Jeff why he started this journey to find a more regenerative approach to clothing. For him, this is not new. Clothing is just tragically late to the party, ripe for a pivot. Two decades ago, the food regenerative revolution pointed the way, reframing what we put in our bodysuits. Clothing is the final frontier, time to redefine what we put we our bodysuits. A return to the original luxury – nature. “We as humans seem to have forgotten that our skin is our largest organ, as most clothing closes our receptors from somatic feeling,” he explained.
If humanity learned anything from the Pandemic, it was the importance of connection. One Golden Thread was already in aligned action on their mission to connect the natural world, with one’s inner world, by bringing the codes from our bodies back to the surface through somatic “super-nature” clothing. In particular, to serve the under-served, the dearth of ethically-stylish options for conscious men. A big surprise was that over half of One Golden Thread buyers are females, as their designs drape in a gender agnostic manner.
The de facto benevolent business beacon has been “Sustainability.” He quickly realized Sustainability was not their North Star. This term, “Sustainability”, Scult maintains, is ambiguous to define, propagated by so many into a greenwashed dirty term of business art. “Hiding behind it can be an illusionary stamp of goodwill, as it is neither modelable nor measurable,” Scult explains.
So what is Regeneration for One Golden Thread? Being innovative by nature through ethically-sourced materials, modeling give-back-impact which replenishes natural resources at a greater rate than it takes to create.
How is Regeneration measurable? In their case, from one Beech Tree, they craft (at least) 108 items of clothing. For every item purchased, they plant a new tree through their reforestation partner One Tree Planted. Thus, their measurable environmental impact is 1:108x. Their impact also transcends to plastic-free packaging and mailers, and incredibly low returns (10x less than the ecomm industry average) which contributes to minimizing their carbon footprint.
I asked Jeff about their key values in their philosophy around One Golden Thread. “Central to our philosophy is that we are all golden inside and it is the gold inside us, our true nature, that is the thread that will unite us. Our ethos is set by Interbeing, the Order that establishes the principles of the 108, everything ultimately connecting. We believe the greatest lie is the illusion of separation, not between humans, between nature and us as one. By adopting interconnectedness, humanity will respect itself as being part of nature, and thus we will instinctively create a new muscle memory to just be “better humans” as our nature,” he explained.
At One Golden Thread they stand for nuance in craft, commitment to quality, ethics in creation, modeled in Regeneration. But as Jeff pointed out, they are not perfect. It’s about the pursuit of purpose and the legacy of positive impact. They are not here to save the planet. The truth is that the planet will survive. It is simply humans’ personal sovereign choice to decide: How good do we want it? But how bad can we stand it? Because, the current trend is not our friend. One Golden Thread allows people to do good in the world by doing nothing more than wearing what they love.
We also discussed the ways that One Golden Thread gives back and go beyond the product itself. The company is structured as a Public Benefit Company, so social good is at their core, and a give back impact is central to their model.
Environmental Reforestation is universally acknowledged as the most important act humanity can do to address the climate crisis with myriad benefits including carbon sequestration, plus trees provide habitat for 80% of wildlife species. Most recently, they are proud to be a contributor to the Amazon reforestation project whose charter is to heal the lungs of the Earth. On behalf of their member community, they are donating 22,000 Trees to be planted in 2022.
In addition to nurturing nature, they donate to community initiatives that touch their charter of self and shared love. In 2021, they contributed 2% of topline revenue to two causes; Color of Change, devoted to building a bridge for social equality; and Alzheimer’s Association, a disease that affects us all. His connection to this latter cause is deeply personal. March 10, 2020, two days before Covid was declared a Pandemic, Jeff’s Mother peacefully transitioned after a long goodbye from Alzheimer’s.
“Business is sacred, a collective force for social good. And, it begins within each of us, choosing to tap into our inner nature to expand ourselves as part of the solution. We seek to make it an easefull on-ramp for self-enroll: To do good in the world by doing nothing more than wearing what you love,” Jeff commented.
I asked Jeff how they plan to expand in the future. Their goal is to become the world’s favorite benevolent brand. Their Series A Round is planned for Fall 2022, inviting like-hearted impact investors aligned to their totem of People > Planet > Profits to transcend an extractive, polluting industry into one that regenerates and inspires.
Funding will support expanding inventory to fulfill growth demand, building on their A-list team, and expanding their collection with additional elevated elementals (eg. thoughtful basics), adding in feminine-focused designs, home goods, accessories & more.
“We exist to celebrate planetary wellbeing, taking our cues from our greatest advisor, Mother Nature, and our most valued asset, our loyalist and growing member customer base, learning & lifting, to weave humans together with the natural world, as One Golden Thread,” he said. “In humility and honor, we listen, learn, and lift. And that, to me, feels like benevolent business as a badass mirror, for living life golden.”