Rich Ray opened his Willy Street boutique in November 1997. He hoped to translate his passion for the environment into a viable business enterprise.
"We live in a consumer society," he says. "I realized after some time that I couldn't stop people's consumption, but I could try and change what was being consumed." And so he sells many items made entirely of hemp, or blends of hemp and organic cotton, or other planet-friendly weaves. Better still, his fabrics are processed with a minimum of chemicals.
But if you're new to the eco-clothing movement, or afraid you're too fashion-conscious to be environmentally friendly, relax (perhaps by taking a bath with hemp oil soap - $3.95). The apparel sold at Hempen Goods can be worn by everyone from businessman to baby.
If you're a woman into yoga or simply looking for weekend gear, Of the Earth makes the perfect foldover waist pant ($54) out of organic cotton and soybean. Add a silky-soft bamboo top by Sweetgrass ($56) with a darling cowl neck, and you'll have a cozy winter ensemble.
Men can impress colleagues with conscientiousness and style by buttoning up a Prana shirt ($60) in burnt orange or slate. Edgier types might try a recycled bicycle inner tube belt ($24) by Splaff or a cheap yet durable hemp wallet ($16-$25)
Clogs by Merrell are available for both men and women ($70), as are trendy, Converse-inspired sneakers by No Sweat ($46-$60). And don't forget to grab a clay-dyed "Play in the Dirt" onesie ($18) on the way out for your favorite tyke.
Hempen Goods 911 Williamson St., 287-0140 11 am-7 pm daily