ISPO Munich 2017 had no shortage of technically advanced—and neon coloured, outdoor gear and clothing. But it was the brands with eco-friendly and sustainability embedded in their DNA that stood-out most.
Each year, over 2,600 international exhibitors in the outdoor, health and fitness, and adventure sports industry make their way to Munich to present their latest and greatest—at an overwhelmingly large event. Knowing the week (or this article) would not be long enough to spend time with every brand and list what they were bringing to the world for 2017, I was instinctively attracted to the brands sharing similar core values as us at The Outdoor Journal.
Experience, enjoy and above all protect the outdoors.
While some companies have seemed to hop on the “eco-bandwagon” for marketing purposes (not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, we’ll take their efforts either way), it was those that have these principles embedded everything they do that stuck out most during ISPO Munich 2017.
It comes as no surprise that Patagonia would be on this list. Known for decades as a heavyweight in the the outdoor industry as a company who’s pushed the boundaries on what a company should be and what it should stand for—especially by anyone who’s read Let My People Go Surfing, Patagonia has continued to question how they produce and how that affects the planet.
At this year’s ISPO, the Patagonia stand was not dedicated to their new ‘top of the line’ products and advances in design, but highlighted something that should go entirely against what a brand trying to sell, sell, sell, would do—get people to fix what they already own.
The idea: take care of the clothes you already have so you don’t have to buy more. They also emphasise the stories behind your favourite clothes and how important it is to keep those memories—along with the jacket that you made them with.
Patagonia CEO, Rose Marcario notes that this can be seen as a radical act, “fixing something we might otherwise throw away is almost inconceivable to many in the heyday of fast fashion and rapidly advancing technology, but the impact is enormous.” She said in a press release that “as individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer.”
This year, they’ll be touring around in busses, not only to colleges, to fix your clothes for free and educate people on the benefits as they go. Find out where they’re going here.
Born in Portugal in 2002, Berg Outdoor understands that as an outdoor brand, protecting nature needs to be one of their main interests. They are a member of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), raising funds to give directly to conservation projects. Their efforts to find the ideal balance between the high-quality products expected by their consumers and the need to contribute to the planet was clear in their latest ISPO award winning sneaker.
A functional, reinvented version of the original model made 100% from natural and recyclable materials, including artisanal Portuguese Burel wool and cork.
More about who Berg Outdoor is and what they do here.
For many years, this Swedish company has been trying to redefine what consumption should be for people. Not only do they rent shell garments and offer second-hand clothes for sale in their stores, thus enabling more people to use fewer products, but have focused their efforts on promoting a circular economy, where products are produced, used and disposed of in a circular system instead of a linear. They have devoted themselves to using as many recycled materials as possible (often from their worn-out products), and making their products easily repaired or recycled after use—no waste. They have even teamed up with Albaeco and the Stockholm Resilience Centre to initiate a holistic environmental evaluation: the first ever corporate Planetary Boundaries Assessment.
Two of their most recent, highlighted products coming out later this year:
A completely circular product. It’s made from recycled polyester and is fully recyclable. The jacket also features a wax-based, completely free of flourocarbon water repellent (a toxic substance often used as a coating or in the fabrics themselves which causes harm to both people and the environment). The coat is designed to be easily repairable, but is also intended to be a breakthrough in it’s wearer feeling free to move more than any other before it.
“When we created our most advanced hard shell we wanted to change the way it feels to wear a shell. To achieve a feeling of full freedom of movement, we had to rethink the foundations of the design process. Instead of a traditional 2-dimensional pattern construction, we decided to drape the garment from a single piece of fabric on a body replicating the movements of mountaineering and freeride skiing.” says Jesper Danielsson at Houdini Design Team.
This progressive insulation garment is fully recyclable—at the same level as a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle, and made with recycled polyester. Also using the same flourocarbon-free water repellant as the Rollercoaster, it is designed to keep you warm and dry whether you’re walking around the city or on a mountaineering expedition. It’s many buttons even enables the wearer to transform it into a blanket, elephant foot for your sleeping bag, a pillow and a baby sleeping bag.
Find out more about all the projects Houdini is involved in to protect our most valuable resource here.
Picture Organic Clothing
Started by three childhood friends from very different backgrounds, the goal was to build their dream outerwear company up from a base of being an environmental action outdoor brand—all product design and principles had to stem from that purpose. They are continuously challenging design practices which has earned them multiple product innovation awards at ISPO, their latest highlight being their most eco-friendly wetsuit.
Picture Eco Suits
Searching for an alternative to the rarely recyclable and polluting neoprene found in most wetsuits (other companies like Patagonia and Vissla making a big push towards this being set as the norm in wetsuits as well), they cut their carbon footprint in half by inventing NaturalPrene stretch technology—85% natural rubber from a Malaysian plantation and 15% synthetic chlorine-free rubber (made from plants), and adding micro particles to allow it to stretch up to 4 times its size. It boasts maximum comfort and ultra-fast drying. They have the suits available in a wide-range of styles and for both men and women.
For the story behind Picture Organic Clothing and everything else they’re up to, check out their website.
As they’ve done for more than 20 years, this Californian brand centres itself around clothing and gear made with intention—carefully designing every detail to both complement people’s active lifestyles while still considering the needs of tomorrow. Their very first products were even labelled with homemade tags made from recycled paper and the orders shipped in leftover fruit boxes from local grocery stores. As of one of the first major apparel companies to offer Fair Trade certified clothing, they have continued with their commitment in offering more bluesign® certified lines, introducing the use of traceable, responsible down (according to the independent Responsible Down Standard – RDS) and PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) into production. They have also done a lot of work to promote working with hemp in their own clothes and trying to give it a new, up-graded reputation in the industry.
Being called a “kind of wonder crop”, hemp doesn’t require any chemical pesticides, fertilisers or treatments during cultivation, harvest and processing. This makes it safer for the farmers that grow it as well as the land it’s grown on and makes it easier for people to answer the questions consumers are starting to care more about: where did this come from and what is its impact?
To find out more about PrAna’s commitment to sustainability and all the many ways they’re making a difference, head to their website.
Feature image courtesy of Berg Outdoor.