Students explore T-shirt sustainability in Crop to Campus documentary

Mamie Trigg of Austin, Texas, was one of three North Carolina State University students to participate in the "Crop to Campus" documentary exploring the making of a responsible T-shirt (Photo: Business Wire).

North Carolina headquartered HanesBrands is releasing a seven-part minidocumentary commissioned to let millennials and Generation-Z youth explore how the iconic T-shirt fits with their views on responsible fashion.

The Crop to Campus documentary, created by award-winning filmmaker Rod Murphy of Asheville, North Carolina, follows three North Carolina State University now-graduated seniors from the Wilson College of Textiles as they review every step of T-shirt manufacturing.

The documentary’s first episode is available on and introduces the students who follow the supply chain of the T-shirt from farm field to end consumer. Subsequent episodes will drop every Tuesday for the next six weeks, concluding with the availability of the full 20-minute minidocumentary.

Watch Episode 1 of Crop to Campus…

The students – Mamie Trigg of Austin, Texas, Katy Powers of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Sydney Parker of Raleigh, North Carolina – take the journey by visiting, discussing and interacting with farmers, employees and communities integral to making a Hanes ComfortWash T-shirt.

Murphy, the filmmaker, followed the students last year to cotton fields and yarn spinning in the southeast United States, to HanesBrands-owned fabric knitting, cutting and sewing in El Salvador, and finally back to campus in Raleigh where the venerable T-shirt serves as a critical part of the wardrobe of college students.

Sydney Parker of Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo: Business Wire).

“This was a great project primarily because of the openness of everyone involved,” said Murphy, who has won 14 awards for his first four documentary feature films. “No topics were off the table. As seniors, the students came into this project at a crossroads where they are passionate about textiles and apparel but deeply concerned about fashion’s impact on the future of the planet.”

HanesBrands commissioned the documentary to assess how well its corporate social responsibility resonate with the expectations of millennials and Generation-Z youth.

“HanesBrands, unlike most manufacturers in the apparel industry, owns the majority of its supply chain, which gives us distinct advantages in not only cost, scale and flexibility but also control of how that manufacturing is conducted,” said Chris Fox, HanesBrands’ vice president of corporate social responsibility. “We exert great influence to ensure environmentally and socially responsible production.”

Katy Powers of Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo: Business Wire).

“From responsibly grown and harvested cotton to low-waste yarn-spinning operations to investing in biomass, hydro and geothermal energy, we’ve made a commitment to identify opportunities to improve our ecological footprint and social impact at every stage of the supply chain. We also have an actively engaged employee base around the globe that is committed to constantly improving our processes and the communities in which we operate. This film offers both these students and the rest of the world an inside look at one of our company’s strongest assets.”

The documentary episode release dates and topics are:

September 8: Crop to Campus: The Journey Begins

September 15: U.S. Grown Cotton

September 22: Yarn Spinning in the U.S.A.

September 29: El Salvador Production: Stitch by Stitch

October 6: Community: It’s About the People

October 13: Back to Campus: Tee Party

October 20: Takeaways: How important is responsible manufacturing?

Crop to Campus also will be screened in its entirety on Thursday, 8 October, with a virtual event in conjunction with the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem.

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