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There are two broad categories of materials that clothing can be made from; natural and synthetic. Synthetic fabrics such as Polyester and Nylon are produced from petroleum - with an estimated 343 million barrels of oil used per year to produce synthetic materials. The product of non-renewable petrochemicals, created in a process that is energy intensive and highly polluting, these materials have flooded fashion since the 70’s and propelled the growth of disposable fashion because they are so cheap.
This development has come at huge expense to our planet: not only does the pollution involved in creating them contribute to global warming, but without large scale collection and recycling infrastructure most of it ends up in landfills, from where it continues to make its way into nature and oceans with it endangering our biodiversity. Thanks, but no thanks.
Recycled PET and Recycled Nylon, however, are synthetic materials that are derived from waste plastic. While still a man-made material that will not biodegrade, these recycled alternatives are developed from plastics that already exist in the world, helping to turn waste into something useful. As an added bonus, producing recycled materials requires less energy than virgin fibers - if deployed in the right way - while at the same time rescuing waste from landfills and oceans as it is collected or reclaimed in clean up projects.
We selectively work with recycled synthetic materials, where they contribute to garment longevity, durability, as well as support performance in our more technical pieces. Our swim shorts are developed from 70% SeaqualTM and 30% recycled PET. While our zip-jacket and zip-vest are cut from a fabric made from 100% recycled nylon and insulated with PrimaLoft® Silver insulation from recycled PET bottles.
…is post-consumer recycled polyester yarn developed by a Spanish mill, it contains 10% upcycled marine plastic and 90% post-consumer PET-bottles from land sources. We use Seaqual for the body fabric of our Swim Shorts.
…is an insulating polyester alternative to down. Made of 100% recycled post-consumer PET bottles, The insulating material is water resistant, breathable, lightweight and outperforms the heat-to-weight-ratio of down. Our Zip Jacket and Zip Vest are fitted with this insulating material.
In recent years it has become possible to make plastic components from 100% recycled plastic. Where we can find no alternative to plastic we opt to work with 100% recycled PET for small components such as sewing threads, zipper tape as well as the drawstring in our Swim Shorts.
Our recycled nylon is made by gathering post industrial waste fiber and weaving mill scraps that are then re-spun. With unparalleled strength-to-weight performance, nylon is a super lightweight but durable fabric, which we use for the body fabric of the Zip-Vest and the Zip-Jacket.
That said, these materials are by no means a perfect solution, even recycled plastic alternatives have their shortcomings. All plastic materials shed microfibers, with microscopic plastic particles polluting the environment and waterways when they are laundered. To avoid contributing to microplastic pollution, we suggest using a guppy bag when doing your laundry, to help capture some of those particles.