Alta Gracia, a certified Living Wage apparel company, announced the company’s recent acquisition by Atlanta-based investment group AG Triada, along with lead investor TripleStone Partners. Alta Gracia designs and manufactures athletic lifestyle products licensed for collegiate and professional sports. Founded in 2010, Alta Gracia has been an industry standout due to their commitment to social responsibility and a living wage for all.
Often confused with the Fair Trade movement, “Living Wage” is a lesser-known certification in apparel manufacturing specifically aimed at helping factory workers in developing countries set standards for their working conditions. Alta Gracia, founded in the Dominican Republic as a subsidiary of Knights Apparel in 2010, is certified Living Wage by the Worker Rights Consortium, an international organization fighting against workplace exploitation. They are the only apparel company in the developing world to carry that certification.
“It’s difficult to find a company that’s pioneering anything in the crowded apparel market, let alone the college affinity segment,” explains Chris Morocco, a longtime consumer products marketer and the company’s new CEO. “Alta Gracia opted to change the manufacturing paradigm in the quality of life of its workers, offering dignified, unionized work and a living wage that’s over 300 percent higher than the legal minimum.”
Today, major customers—Barnes & Noble, Follett, Fanatics and the Dallas Cowboys along with universities such as NYU, UCLA, Cal-Berkeley, Duke and more—have gravitated toward socially progressive companies, which not only resonate with the millennial market but align with their business and social values.
Joining Morocco is Chief Operating Officer Rebecca Holderread. Holderread’s 30-plus years of experience in manufacturing, service and technology industries across Fortune 500 and early-stage-growth companies will provide Alta Gracia with the leadership necessary to build a life-changing global brand. Holderread believes that the Alta Gracia brand “has all the right pieces in place to be a leading apparel company. Our long-term success will come down to our ability to execute and deliver on our brand promise of creating clothes that allow customers to feel the difference and make a difference.”
Alta Gracia has assembled a team with extensive experience in building both college licensing and signature apparel brands, and plans to leverage Morocco’s experience in social media and e-commerce to build a lifestyle brand. Alta Gracia’s advisory board features the original co-founders Donnie Hodge and Joe Bozich, as well as apparel and style icon Sid Mashburn, who launched his own nationally renowned label several years ago, and seasoned designer Lee Norwood, former SVP of Design at Ralph Lauren.
Morocco states, “We see a huge opportunity to expand within and beyond college bookstores to other retail channels, including online, to become a brand that captures the hearts and souls of socially minded, fashion-forward students and alumni who want to feel and look good in the brands they wear … all while also ensuring that the workers who make the Alta Gracia product are treated with dignity and respect.”