New eco-clothing brand Outerknown by surf legend Kelly Slater



Outerknown asks, do you know where your clothes comes from, and how it’s made? New eco-clothing brand Outerknown, developed by surf legend Kelly Slater aims to increase awareness of and reduce the environmental and social impact of clothes production.

Have you ever wondered how our outdoor clothes are produced? You may be surprised to learn that clothing production is very hard on the environment and it can create tremendous social issues. 

Global textile production

Production of textiles is an intensive industry, and the numbers are big.  Worldwide production of textiles releases more greenhouse gas emissions than international aviation and the shipping industries combined.  Production has more than doubled since 2000 but close to 90 per cent of it ends up in landfills in North America. Much of the people who produce and grow the fibres live and work in conditions considered inhumane by the standards of developed countries. 

Increased demand

On top of the high environmental impact it takes to produce clothes, demand continues to climb. Compared to 2000, a consumer in 2014 bought 60% more clothing than they would have 14 years ago, but only keep the clothes half as long.

Polyester production is very carbon intensive, while cotton is a thirsty crop, and requires lots of water to grow. One cotton shirt uses 2700 litres of water to produce so to put it in context, this is enough drinking water for a person for over two years! (Source: World Resources Institute). 

So, along with similarly-minded brands like Patagonia and Cotopaxi, Kelly Slater sets out to make things better.

Introducing Kelly Slater’s surf clothing line, Outerknown.

About the eco-clothing brand

Outerknown was launched in 2015 with partner John Moore. The sustainable, surf-inspired clothing line focuses on people and plane, to reduce the environmental impact of clothes production and improve the lives of workers who make them. They handpick socially compliant factories where workers are treated with respect, use organic fibres and textiles such as organic cotton, hemp, and recycled nylon from disposed fishing nets.

They also  make swim trunks from recycled water bottles, source responsible mills for cotton, use factories that recycle 99 per cent of their wastewater, and seek new innovations in eco-textile production.

The Outerknown philosophy. Image from the Outerknown website

The Outerknown philosophy. Image from the Outerknown website, available at: https://www.outerknown.com/pages/sustainability

 

S.E.A. Tees

The S.E.A. clothing line is a great example of the company’s initiative. These shirts are made using 90 per cent less water than traditional cotton t-shirts. That’s at 71 gallons per shirt, versus traditional manufacturing which uses 710 gallons. New S.E.A jeans are being introduced later this August (August 28). 

Manufacturing

Manufacturers are chosen carefully with those who share the companies values and abide by strict guidelines of the Fair Labor Association and Bluesign. 

Outerknown and “Econyl”

This fibre is made from recycled fishing nets and nylon surplus. It’s used to make nylon jackets and board shorts.

Kelly Slater sitting on reclaimed fishing nets at an intake centre in Slovenia. Outerknown

Kelly Slater sitting on reclaimed fishing nets at an intake centre in Slovenia. Image from: https://www.outerknown.com/blogs/journey/turning-waste-into-nylon.

It’s a philosophy

Kelly Slater left a lucrative 23 year contract with Quicksilver to start his clothing line. He left behind certainty and stability to start a company with a philosophy he strongly believes in: he takes a considerable risk with no guarantees.

About Kelly Slater

Even non-surfers have heard of Kelly Slater. The 46 year old has won at 55 events on the World Championship Tour. He earned 11 world titles, and is widely recognized as the greatest surfer of all time. 

The Outerknown brand is available at evo, and other retailers. Stay tuned for more as their product line is grows. We’re excited to see how this company grows in the future, and to see such socially and environmentally aware labels like this. It’s nice to see!

Read more

Other environmentally and socially conscious brands include Patagonia and Cotopaxi.

Outdoor Industry Association about Sustainable clothing production: https://outdoorindustry.org/sustainable-business/

Read more from the World Resources Institute http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/07/apparel-industrys-environmental-impact-6-graphics

Alicja

Alicja

Alicja is an economist, enjoys climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, cycling and gets out into the backcountry as much as possible. See all of Alicja's Blog Posts
Alicja
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