When looking for the perfect activewear piece, there is a lot to think about. Is it moisture wicking? Is it comfortable? How does it fit? 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, and what is it made up of?
"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, 72% 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 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, 83% 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 using recycled materials, responsible down and are socially responsibly made. They have a partnership with Bluesign® Technologies to focus on water consumption and conservation, reducing harmful chemicals and air emissions, and strengthening worker health and safety. One of the biggest reasons why The North Face is a part of our collection each year is its focus on creating responsible and sustainable products. Their goal is to empower the community to get out there with long-lasting gear that will support them. The North Face is co-founder of The Conservation Alliance, whose mission is to engage businesses to fund and partner with organizations to protect wild places for their habitat and recreation values. The North Face has contributed more than $1 million to the organization’s grant fund. Click here to learn more on The North Face's responsibility webpage, which is divided into three categories: Product, Protect and Empower.
Arc'teryx practices sustainability not only through thoughtfully creating products that are designed for the long run, but also by having a strong focus on climate action. They have promised to focus on: using lower-impact products for maximum durability, commit to 100% renewable energy for owned operations by the end of 2020, and improve energy efficiency within their owned operations and supply chains. "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.
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.
You have heard about wool, and synthetic fibers being a staple in durable performance activewear, but how about bamboo? In an industry that consists of non-renewable resources, using bamboo as a sustainable and durable fiber plays a significant role in helping the environment. Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on the earth and is responsibly harvested and grown without pesticides. 90% of the energy used in making Tasc garments are from renewable sources and 99% of all wastewater from the factory is recovered, treated, and re-used. The majority of Tasc's activewear collection is long-lasting, durable, moisture-wicking, anti-odor, has UPF 50+, and has superior breathability. Click here to learn more about "The Power of Bamboo".
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