The company’s founders are Daniel and Marylou Sanders. They have successfully worked together on several previous ventures.
The Sanders’ first project together was Sardine Productions, which was a graphic design and screen printing company (1980-1983). Accounts were primarily concentrated in the music industry: artists and entities including; Carly Simon, Kool and the Gang, Twisted Sister, The Blasters, Peter Allen and Rolling Stone magazine.
In 1983 they formed M.L. Marsh Designs, which featured better contemporary sportswear. The company primarily focused on high end, novelty knits sold to better specialty and department stores. In 1985, Marylou received a prestigious “Tommy” award in the printed dress category. M.L. Marsh maintained its offices in New York City from 1984-1988 and later moved to Hackensack, New Jersey.
Ecosport, Inc. was co-founded in 1991 by the Sanders’ and Edward Mandeau. Ecosport was the first company to mass produce garments from organically grown cotton. The company enjoyed immediate success as it was a major catalyst in spawning the ecologically responsible fashion industry. In addition to launching its own brand, the company helped to develop organic cotton programs for companies such as; Nike, Ralph Lauren, Danskin, Patagonia, Esprit, and Levi’s. Ecosport became known as an industry pioneer and for innovative fiber blends combining organic cotton with hemp, flax, tencel, recycled cotton and ecospun (recycled soda bottles). In 1994 and in1995 Daniel was named as a finalist in the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award competition. In 1996, he served as president of the National Organic Cotton Association (NOCA), and currently serves on the board of directors of the Sustainable Cotton Project (SCP).
The company relocated to Asheville, North Carolina in 1999 as a strategic move to be closer to the mills. The following year, controlling interest in the company was sold to Gaiam Inc., a publicly traded company and a market leader in health and wellness products.