The FINANCIAL -- From bio-based shells to wood-fiber jeans, outdoor industry brands continue to prioritize sustainable manufacturing and product design. And it’s all on display at this year’s Outdoor Retailer Snow Show 2019.
As outdoor recreation becomes increasingly mainstream, so too do sustainability initiatives that aim to preserve our wild spaces. For example, we reported on the outdoor education programs at Utah State University, Western State Colorado University, and the University of Oregon. These degrees require sustainability-specific courses as prerequisites.
And last year, the industry released its first-ever sustainability report. That benchmark, published by the Outdoor Industry Association, is based on a decade of data and will help brands prioritize future eco-related investment.
This week, we’ll hear the word “sustainable” a lot and see products that fall somewhere on the eco-friendly spectrum. Here are five new products for 2019 that push forward industry standards and will be at the Outdoor Retailer Snow Show.
Patagonia Ascensionist Jacket
Using recycled materials to create technical apparel has its own hurdles. This year, Patagonia will be the first company in the outdoor industry to manufacture all of its shells — 62 jackets total— with 100 percent recycled materials.
Among the line, the Ascensionist Jacket is intended for light, fast movement in the mountains. It’s Patagonia’s lightest-weight Gore-Tex product to date. The three-layer jacket weighs 13 ounces and uses a 30-denier nylon face fabric that took two years to develop.
Furthermore, the entire lineup of jackets, coined the Responsible Shell Collection, will be sewn in Fair Trade Certified Factories.
“Creating a [new] standard takes time, commitment, and collaboration between brands and factories to accomplish. Since 2014, we have been working towards making each of our finished good factories Fair Trade Certified … The good news is, once a factory is Fair Trade Certified, any company can have their products certified as well by paying a premium to the factory" - said Corey Simpson, Patagonia’s PR and communications coordinator.
Shoppers can find the Ascensionist Jacket in August online, at Patagonia retail stores, and wholesale stores nationwide.
Jasper Wool Eco Chukka
“To make the world’s most sustainable shoe, SOLE and United By Blue had to collect, engineer and create natural, sustainable materials that simply weren’t available on the market,” said Zachary Osness, VP of global sales and merchandising for SOLE.
Introducing the Jasper Wool Eco Chukka, a collaborative design that tells a sustainability story in all facets.
SOLE created the chukka’s midsole with ReCORK — made entirely from post-consumer recycled wine cork. Meanwhile, the insulation uses BisonShield: a breathable, hypoallergenic material made from the hollow-fiber hair of bison and recycled polyester. That alone took United By Blue five years to create.
Finally, the shoe’s upper comprises 80 percent merino wool, the outsole is made out of rice, and the insole comes from BLOOM Foam Algae.
Picture Harvest Jacket
Picture Organic Clothing is an eco-based brand dedicated to producing gear made from a minimum of 50 percent recycled or bio-based materials.
This fall, Picture will debut the Harvest Jacket along with the brand’s first partially bio-based membrane: Pebax Renew.
“We know that [bio-based] technology is just as durable and waterproof-breathable as the petroleum-based membranes on the market,” explained Jeremy Rochette, Picture’s co-founder and head of design.
Pebax Renew originates as oil derived from castor seeds. The new membrane replaces petroleum-made synthetic fibers. In fact, Maro LaBlance of Campfire Collective told us that castor oil predated petroleum for use in textiles, going back to the 1950s.
Picture advertises the Harvest as a lightweight jacket with a solid 20K/20K waterproof-breathable rating for skiers and riders. And the knit-constructed side panels will help dump heat during high activity.
Folks can find the jacket in September 2019.
Jack Wolfskin Big White Jacket
Jack Wolfskin will expand its Texapore Ecosphere recycled collection — the world’s first 100 percent recycled apparel line — at OR. The Big White Jacket features an outer fabric, waterproof membrane, lining, and insulation that are all made from recycled materials.
The Big White Jacket is also 100 percent PFC-free. In fact, the jacket’s zippers, pull-tabs, and labels are the only components that are not recycled … yet. Jack Wolfskin said it’s already working on recycled alternatives for those as well.
reDEW Frost Jeans
With tops and feet covered, all that remains are the legs. Enter reDEW Frost Jeans: the first jeans to be developed with handmade, renewable fibers. The denim fabric actually comes from sustainably grown wood.
“They look, feel, and wear exactly like your favorite denim jeans, but without the environmental impacts of cotton,” the brand told us. In fact, reDEW advertises that each pair saves more than 7,000 liters (1,850 gallons) of water compared to the process of creating a classic pair of jeans.