Nestled in Casco Bay on Maine’s southern coast, Arrowhead Clothing Company has made a name for themselves by turning out some of the most simple yet beautiful clothes and accessories. With a classic sensibility and an eco-friendly outlook, each handcrafted garment is made-to-order, from natural hemp and organic cotton to linen and wool. But unlike so many lines that sacrifice style for sustainability, these are pieces that will quickly become closet staples for any and all shoppers and will never go out of style.

We sat down with Suzanne MacFadyen, the line’s founder and designer, to learn more about how she’s making it in the biz. Plus, check out how you can win your very own striped clutch from Arrowhead Clothing Company!

TCM: Every item in Arrowhead’s collection looks perfectly, geometrically put together. When did you first learn to sew?

Suzanne MacFadyen: “My fascination in dressmaking and tailoring started at a young age. I started sewing in junior high with tailored shorts from a Vogue pattern. In those days the patterns were extremely technical. By high school, I was making YSL and Lanvin using Vogue patterns. I have to admit, I never did my homework. I’d come home from school and start sewing!”

TCM: And when did you start designing professionally?

SM: “I went to work for India Imports of Rhode Island in 1970 in the packing department. I wanted to be in the design department, but didn’t let on. In those days, during the hippie movement, this was the coolest place to work. Brown and RISD students worked there and India was the place to be. I stared making clothes from block-printed bedspreads. The owner, Jagdish Sashdev, noticed my clothes, I was hired as a designer and few years later I was in India. That experience has had a huge impact on my appreciation for truly handmade products.”

TCM: Why is it important to you that the fabric you use is sustainable?

SM: “I remember going into a local fabric store in Barrington, Rhode Island when I was in high school. My eyes would get irritated from the formaldehyde in the fabrics. They no longer use formaldehyde, but the use of chemicals left an impression. Later, I discovered an older, established fabric store in Providence owned by two older gentlemen, Heller and Michaelson, with great woolens, tweeds and lots of buttons. After that I never went back to that Barrington store.”

TCM: And your fabrics you use now?

SM: “I think the fabrics I use are beautiful. I use cotton, hemp and wool. There is a lovely hand and natural sheen to them. Plus, vegetable dyes are superior in color to synthetics. Pure indigo dye can’t be beat.”

TCM: Where do you find design inspiration?

SM: “My past. The stages of fashion I lived through (mod, hippie, minimal) come into my collections and somehow manage to look cohesive. And then there are times I wake up and have ideas I can’t wait to get started on. I wonder if I was working while sleeping! I am also inspired with the idea of Old World craftsmanship: work rooms and old industrial sewing machines.

I think the look of my line is appealing in a familiar and relaxed way. It’s not flashy or trendy, just kind of friendly. And the construction always really blows people away.”

All-Natural Giveaway!

We’re giving away one of Arrowhead Clothing Company’s organic striped indigo pouches (pictured) to one lucky reader. Leave your comments below to win: Tell us your favorite tips and tricks for keeping your laundry green!

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From our friends


  1. Line dry outside whenever possible! I don’t wash things often if not necessary. Sometimes a good hour in the sun will do.

    colleen | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  2. Try not to wash as often! I realized I can wear things several times without washing. Save on energy and water with a little spritz of your favorite scent.

    Megan | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  3. I use a green detergent, line dry as much as possible and hand wash what I can as well! Looooove the clothes and pouch! I am definitely checking out the line 🙂

    jenny | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  4. Old school way! Hand wash and line dry. I was force into this when my washer broke but turns out that hand washing is better for my clothes and the world anyways!

    Christine | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  5. I use eco-friendly laundry soap and the clothes line. My clothes seem to last longer too.

    Christina Lewis | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  6. I wear things multiple times and air dry all my clothes. This line is amazing!

    Ciara | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  7. I love the nautical style of this clothing line, it makes me want to sail the high seas! To keep my laundry green I use white vinegar instead of bleach, it keeps my whites bright and eliminates the need for toxic fabric softener. Sometimes I use a cloth with lavender essential oil in the dryer. I try not use the washer or dryer too much, and I always use Eco-friendly products!

    Melissa | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  8. Line drying because it’s green and it makes the clothes smell unbelievable!

    Emily | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  9. Yet another reason why I love reading The Chalkboard! I strive to do as few loads as possible (which usually means, wearing the same outfits several times). I might use the dryer for a bit, and then let everything air dry. Definitely going to try using lavender next time now!

    Anais | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  10. I make my own laundry soap, an use white vinegar to soften my clothes and keep everything smelling fresh. I love knowing that all the ingredients I use on a daily basis are safe for me and the environment! And cheap too 🙂

    Erin | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  11. I line dry whenever possible, use eco-friendly products, and also will wear things several times to avoid washing. I love the idea of the lavender essential oil when using the dryer!

    Sheila | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  12. Definitely try to limit my amount of dirty laundry by re-wearing, but when I do do my laundry, I use an eco-friendly detergent. If I’m washing towels, I will dry for half the time and then hang them up damp to air dry. Love this line and will be checking them out!

    louise | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  13. Avoid dry cleaning! Those chemicals are not good for your clothes or you. If you can, wash your dry cleaning in the shower with a mild soap, press dry between two towels, and shape/lay flat.

  14. I air dry everything, I re-wear clothing when possible. I only dry clean at green friendly places. Eco-friendly detergent of course.

    Adrea | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  15. Bought a fabulous folding wooden drying rack from Gaiam. Use Mrs. Myers laundry products (love the geranium and basil fragrances!).

    The pouch is darling! Love the stripes!!

    Carla | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  16. I use eco friendly detergent and fabric softeners.

    Kristin | 08.22.2012 | Reply
  17. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, my memories of “green” laundry practices goes way back to my childhood. I remember, as a very young child going into the dark cold basement with my girlfriend to check out her grandmothers huge tub of soap she had just made. She used lavender to make it smell so pretty. From there I use to watch her hand wash her clothes in a large tub and then ring them out through two very tight rollers to squeeze out all of the excess water and from there we would help her carry the heavy basket of clean wet clothes & sheets up the cement stairs to the backyard where she would hang them high on a clothes line that seemed to go for miles. (always seems bigger when you are a kid) It was our job to hand her the wooden clothes pegs. Those were good memories. I can’t tell you how sweet the clothes smelled when they were dry. And although I don’t have time these days, like grandma did, to spend all day washing , I still try to hand wash many of my clothes and hang them out to dry on a sunny summer day. And of course always use organic soap.
    PS. Keep up the great work on your website. Always look forward to it.

    Ellen Weiss | 08.23.2012 | Reply
  18. I hang my clean laundry to dry in the sun in my backyard. It dries fast and smells like summer day!

    Leyla | 08.23.2012 | Reply
  19. baking soda, vinegar and salt 🙂
    There are alot of great “green” products out there….

    Seana | 08.23.2012 | Reply
  20. Thank you for all your wonderful responses – laundry day will never be the same! Congrats to our winner, Melissa!

    The Chalkboard | 08.29.2012 | Reply
  21. When my Lululemon workout pants get extra stinky from hot yoga and the like, I like to soak them in warm water with a dash of apple cider vinegar and baking soda. It always does the trick!

    Molly | 10.05.2012 | Reply
  22. We make our own soap. Smells sooooooo good and it doesn’t cost much at all!

    katie | 01.30.2013 | Reply
  23. I use eco-friendly products to clean my clothes. I also hand wash and hang certain items, always.

    Lisa Kilinc | 02.10.2013 | Reply
  24. I use soap nuts…and I line dry. Line dried linen hung correctly needs barely if any pressing.

    Rosa | 02.12.2013 | Reply
  25. I always use baking soda instead of bleach.
    And I also hand wash my underwear when I take a shower and dry on a hanger in my patio.
    That way i can save energy and I can smell my favorite hand made soap from my underwear!^^

    Eun Oh | 04.08.2013 | Reply
  26. Buy clothing made of recyclable material or from companies that are Eco-conscious. Make sure clothing doesn’t need to be ironed after cleaning (we hate ironing at our house!) Wear clothing multiple times before washing. Use cold water to wash. Hand wash when possible; when not, use shortest cycle possible. Use biodegradable detergents.

    audrey | 04.08.2013 | Reply
  27. All natural detergent makes clothes last longer.

    Robin | 04.17.2013 | Reply
  28. i hand wash undergarments and line dry. try to air dry and use all natural soaps, peppermint, and baking soda or white vinegar.

  29. Wear clothes longer and line dry when possible. Re-Use old clothes for rags and other purposes – nearly 1/3 of all clothing ends up in landfills.

    Also, as a stylist I do my best to encourage clients to purchase green fabrics. Clothing items that are made with organic or recycled materials and natural dyes make a huge difference in the long run, be a smart consumer and vote with your dollars!

    Zita | 05.13.2013 | Reply
  30. I use half of what the recomended measurement is for clothes soap. my clothes dont get dirty like little boys so they just need to smell clean and that usually does it. This makes the soap go further and clothes are always fresh and clean. I find most people put too much soap in their wash so the next time you wash some one elses clothes dont use soap and you will see that the water will have a little bit of soap in the water from the clothes. it will have little bubbles.

  31. Making my own laundry soap has cut down on the waste of plastic containers not to mention the amazing $ savings also. We’ve been line drying the laundry for 2 years now and it is wonderful! I’ve been tempted to try laundry nuts, I think I’ll give them a try as soon as my soap batch need refilling.

    MichelleC | 06.15.2013 | Reply
  32. Growing up we never had a dryer and my mother almost always washed the delicates in the sink with castile soap. Both my parents actually did the washing and drying until my sister and I were given this job as our “chore”. After washing the clothes were hung on homemade lines strung across the laundry room. I never thought I would find myself, as an adult, now doing pretty much the same, nor did I think I would admit it. Tuck those big inefficient dryers away! Looking forward to taking a look at the Arrowhead line. WE LOVe MAINE .
    and would love to be toting a cute indigo striped pouch.

    kimberly | 07.01.2013 | Reply
    • Love the tip, Kimberly! This giveaway is unfortunately closed, but be on the lookout for future giveaways – they pop up all the time here on TCM!

      The Chalkboard | 07.01.2013 | Reply
  33. please can i have it?

    Lily | 08.02.2013 | Reply
  34. i use organic and green laundry detergent (i love mrs. meyers and vaska, which is a local brand for me). i hand wash when ever i can and always air dry. i love this because its sustainable and energy efficient and also love the smell of air dried clothing. this line is beautiful, keep up the amazing work!

    nkechi njaka | 08.21.2013 | Reply
  35. Washing promptly after getting a stain!

    William | 09.27.2013 | Reply
  36. The Michaelson in Heller and Michaelson was my great uncle. I remember going to that store when I was a little boy back in the early ’60’s. I hadn’t really thought about the place in years, so thanks for bringing back some memories.

    Jeff | 04.20.2016 | Reply

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