If you want to get a feel for the history of the highly segregated Homewood neighborhood in Pittsburgh, read the great John Edgar Wideman — he’s the sage of the Homewood experience. But if you want to get a feel for some of the ways Homewood is moving, changing, and shaking, consider a visit to the Homewood offices of Thread International, the sustainability-focused design company that has just introduced what they’re calling a Better Backpack. Here’s the story: Thread began a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $45,000 to create a Better Backpack made with recycled materials. That modest goal was exceeded — by explosive proportions. With days still to go the Better Backpack campaign had surpassed $456,000 in funding.
Thread, which has worked with Timberland in the past on sustainable projects, is a committed conscientious actor. The company, a certified B-Corp, says it is “committed to scaling dignified employment opportunities at every step of the supply chain, which is why we have also invested in cut & sew production in our hometown of Pittsburgh.” Oh and then there’s the style. Thread knows you can’t lead with just your conscience — you have to back it up by making something people want. And they’ve nailed it. (Just look at the Kickstarter pledges for proof.) “Kickstarter sales of our products will recycle over 73,000 bottles,” Thread says. That’s not enough to starve the Pacific Garbage Patch, but it’s a heckuva start. Better Backpacks come in two sizes and three colors. Order at the Better Backpack Kickstarter. Wow!