Tomi OTee Shirt Review


Tomi OTee Apparel

Grade: A

Teacher’s Comments: Nice clothing from an apparel company making a difference.

Tomi OTee is a different kind of apparel company. Not content to produce comfortable, stylish golf shirts, Tomi OTee also tries to be a good citizen of the world with nods to sustainability and charity.

The company also has a patent on its shirts.

First, the shirts. The samples sent to me were two short sleeve and a long sleeve White Label Golf Polo. All are are stitched from organic cotton and are incredibly soft and comfortable. The fit is a bit tighter—more athletic, if you will—than most of my other golf shirts. If you’re a flatbelly, you will feel right at home in these. Others may want to order a size larger than usual.

The distinguishing feature of the Tomi OTee is a “tee quiver” on the sleeve. Founder Thomas Ferre says that this was a part of his goal to produce a shirt “where you could wear it and people would say: he’s a golfer. You wear a baseball jersey to play baseball. Rugby players wear rugby shirts. So I designed this feature and called it a Golfer’s Quiver.”

Feree, whose background is in engineering, not fashion, says that the inspiration came from sticking his hand with the sharp end of tees. “Every time I put my hand into my pocket to get a tee, there was a prayer that went out that I didn’t get poked or get a hole in my glove.”

“Golfers are very sensitive about what they wear or use and how it might affect their swing. We designed it so you don’t feel the tees at all.”

He’s right. Even fully loaded, I didn’t notice the tees in their “quiver.” And even if you don’t use the tee quiver, I think that the little tab of offsetting color offers a dash to the shirts. Without a tee, they just look like a stylistic element.

Tomi OTee is more than an apparel company, though. Ferre says that “what drives us is a vision we had to create a sustainable company.”

To that end, the fabric of the Tomi OTee shirts is eco-friendly, organic cotton. No pesticides are used. Further, he says, “we don’t process the cotton. And we don’t mercerize it, which is a chemical treatment. We want to work with natural fibers.”

An interesting fact that I learned from Ferre: Cotton, which represents just two percent of the world’s crops, uses twenty percent of the pesticides.

Ferre says that “eco-friendly should be a fundamental value of golf because of all the sports, golf is the closest to nature.

Another element of Tomi OTee’s effort to have a positive impact is that beginning in 2013, the shirt’s manufacturing will be in the United States. The cotton and fabric still will come from India, though.

“We had a lot of debates about where you get the cotton from,” Ferre said. “In the end, we decided to keep the labor intensive jobs in the US, and the cotton growing and milling overseas. Cotton milling is not a labor intensive production. A textile mill is like a paper plant, where you have one guy managing a million pound facility.”

Another element of the company’s unusual efforts is its commitment to recycling.

“We wondered: How do I contribute back to regenerating sustainable fibers,” Ferre said. “We were not happy with using recycled polyester, so we started a recycling effort across the tri-state effort. Our goal is to have recycling bins at golf courses and country clubs which will take old textiles and shoes. We are tied in with a top US recycling company, and are going to manage the effort to return these old golf products for reuse or recycling.”

Currently, just eight percent of textiles are recycled in the US.

“Our goal,” Ferre said, ” is to donate all of the profits from the recycling effort back to the First Tee.”

Recommended. For all of the reasons listed above.

You can see the current line of apparel in the catalog below.

Collection 2013

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