I'm not sure I love calling us part of the "fashion" industry, but I guess we are. Our gear is meant to be fun, functional, and I suppose as fashionable as you can get when it comes to hiking t-shirts. It's not that I don't like fashion, it's the entire "fast fashion" industry that leaves me feeling less than good. I'm not going to link any specific articles here, but there are plenty that go into the environmental impact of the fashion industry. The worst offenders are the cheap, trendy, fast fashion brands that are meant to last a season and get tossed out. You know those brands you see pop up in your social media ads that are only around for month and the clothes you get look nothing like the pics? Yeah, that's fast fashion and it's absolutely killing our planet.
The other thing I personally don't love about the fashion industry in general is the constant need for more. We have closets overflowing with crap we bought on sale that we don't wear trying to keep up with trends that last a month. The amount of resources wasted creating these items, purchasing these items, then getting rid of these items is mind boggling. SO, where exactly does that leave us (and me personally) as a lifestyle brand that sells fashion?
It leaves us in a really tough spot of balancing sustainability with the reality of our budget. The simple fact is we do not have the financial resources to be a fully sustainable, eco-friendly company, HOWEVER it doesn't mean we can't strive for that and do everything in our power to go that direction. We have committed from day 1 that we will NEVER put profit over people or planet. This means we spend A LOT of time researching where our products are manufactured and we don't have huge margins on our pricing. We haven't always gotten this right but we make improvements every time. Some info about our current clothing manufacturer (screen printing is done locally in Grand Rapids, MI):
-All dying and cutting takes place in the USA
-Their dying machines use 3 gallons of water per pound of fabric vs the average 21
-The heat needed for the dye machines is created through a green energy exchange
-They utilize solar energy to power the sewing and cutting facilities
-Their manufacturing facilities are virtually zero waste, recycling excess fabric into things like stuffing for a sofa
Is it perfect? No. Is it the best we can do in this moment, yes. We are committed to bringing you high quality gear that lasts longer than a season and that you love. Could we make a lot more money if we bought cheap t-shirts? Absolutely. We'd be able to lower our prices so we'd sell more and we'd be making more off each shirt but would be able to sleep well at night? Nope. (Plus, you know you can tell the difference in the feel of a cheap shirt vs. something of quality.)
Some other things we are working on as a brand to lesson our environmental impact, using recycled materials for packaging, financially supporting environmental groups that align with our mission, reviewing all of our processes and making intentional, conscious decisions and plans of how we can lesson our footprint in each step of the process.
Do we want you to buy all of our gear? Hell yes! But only if you will wear it and love it. If it's simply another shirt to throw in the pile, please don't. We know we can still be a fun, fashion brand without being a part of a global problem, but we can only do that with your help.