When looking for the perfect activewear piece, there is a lot to think about. Is it moisture wicking? Is it comfortable? Can it be worn on many different adventures and seasons? Is it high quality and long lasting? And finally, is it sustainable? Sustainability has quickly come to the forefront and now more than ever is a major factor people consider when making buying decisions. At Skirack, we take all these questions into consideration when carefully curating our collections each season. We work closely with our trusted brands and dive a little deeper into what sustainability means, asking: who made it, how is it made, where are the materials sourced, what is it made up of, and is it repairable?
"Sustainability" has become a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot. Sustainability includes not only environmental practices, but social and economic ones as well. Environmentally, we view sustainable practices as creative efforts to avoid the depletion of natural resources such as land and water, thus reducing our harmful impact on the earth. Economically, we see sustainability as creating products that are high quality, durable, fixable, timeless in style and longer lasting - so you get more for your money, buy less and in turn less waste is put into a landfill. Socially, we look at who actually makes a product and how they are paid and treated.
Let’s learn more about a few of the brands that we love, the practices that we choose to support and what they actively do to create durable activewear that is good for the earth and good for you.
Patagonia leads the outdoor industry with its technical layers. Still, they lead by example by being socially and environmentally conscious. For example, Patagonia is prioritizing the use of recycled content, with the eventual goal of 100% of their products. Currently, 68% of their line is made with recycled materials, as compared to 15% of the clothing industry’s recycling rate. Examples include Black Hole Bags, Better Sweaters, all of their shell jackets and more. By using recycled materials, it not only reduces impacts on the land and water, but it also reduces dependency on raw materials and reduces carbon emissions. Check out Patagonia Burlington's blog post: "Why Recycled?" to learn more about Patagonia’s mission to use recycled materials.
As of writing this, 82% of Patagonia's collection is Fair Trade Certified sewn. Even though Patagonia does not own any of the factories where they produce their products, using Fair Trade practices they control the wages workers receive and provide tangible benefits to help improve their lives. The money goes directly to the workers who can choose how they want to spend it from community projects like health-care programs or child-care centers to cash bonuses. Click here to see how Patagonia is making change.
The North Face
What we appreciate the most about products from The North Face is their dedication to creating long-lasting, durable, and thoughtful products.
The North Face has set an ambitious goal of 100% responsibly-sourced apparel fabrics by 2025: to ensure all products are made with recycled, regenerative, or responsibly-sourced renewable fabrics (fabrics derived from materials that will replenish over the course of a lifetime).
They’re on track to hit our goal with all our apparel in 2025, and all footwear and equipment by 2030. Click here to learn more on The North Face's responsibility webpage.
Arc'teryx practices sustainability not only through thoughtfully creating products that are designed for the long run, but also by having a strong emphasis on taking immediate climate action.
Arc'teryx's focuses on:
- Product, materials, technology
- Climate action
- Responsible Manufacturing
- Community Partnerships
"We believe the case is clear: acting and investing now to reduce impacts in the future is the right path for our business and the planet." Click here to learn more about Arc'teryx's sustainability efforts.
prAna understands they are far from the perfect system, creating high-quality, durable and versatile sustainable clothing for men and women. They know a higher standard exists in the fashion and apparel industry and strive for that ideal. prAna focuses on progress and continues to improve with each year. In addition to using organic cotton, Fair Trade Certified, recycled wool and responsible down, they are increasing the amount of bluesign® certified fabrics and materials. 22% of the 2021 styles are bluesign® certified with a goal of 100% by 2024.
From the farm to the factory to our closets, we all have an opportunity to reduce our impact on the environment. Start asking questions about your clothes in the same way you ask about the food you eat, and you can help fundamentally change the way clothing is made. Click to learn more about prAna's sustainability efforts.
Smartwool's products all have ethically sourced Merino wool, a natural fiber grown by Merino sheep. Merino wool is an excellent fiber for all things outdoor related, whether it be summer or winter, for many reasons. Compared to regular wool, Merino wool is naturally odor-resistant, moisture-wicking, temperature regulating, natural, renewable, and soft.
Simply put, wool is incredible, and Smartwool takes it to the next level by ethically sourcing it. Smartwool's ZQ-Certified Merino Wool has an ethical sourcing policy consisting of passionate and accredited growers. They commit to an exceptionally high standard of animal welfare, responsible use of land and water, and sustainable farming practices. What does this all mean? The next to skin wool that you know and love is soft, but it's also making a positive impact by setting new norms in the outdoor industry. Click here to learn more about Smartwool's sustainable wool and souring practices.
Our mission is to inspire our community to pursue a lifetime of outdoor activity and environmental stewardship. One of the many ways we can support our mission is by curating collections of sustainable and durable brands that we strongly believe in. Although we only touched on five brands today, come on in to our store to learn more about all of the other brands that we carry, and all that they're doing to make a difference. Whether you are gearing up for a beautiful walk by the lake or for a long race, we have options to help integrate sustainable items into your clothing and gear choices.
See you out there!
Former Skirack Run, Ski and Bike Specialist