10 Sustainable innovation brands
Leading sustainable designer Anne Prahl, talks about what matters now
LTP had asked Anne Prahl to select ten leading sustainable brands in sport & outdoor industry, and you can find her answers below:
"Picking ten brands that lead on sustainable innovation is quite tricky these days, as there is such a wealth of exciting ideas out there. There are many other brands I would have liked to include but I hope this list demonstrates the diversity of approaches and solutions". says Anne"
Anne continues "As the textile and clothing industry is increasingly searching for effective ways to reduce its environmental footprint, sustainability is becoming a key element of the innovation process. I have been focused on a selection of brands and their contributions to sustainable innovation through design, material and technology development, as well as new business models.
One of the key aspects of the Adidas innovation process is the development of new materials and technologies, such as the Adidas Futurecraft Biofabric shoe, woven from synthetic spider silk and the DryDye technology, which dyes polyester fabrics by using compressed carbon dioxide to eliminate the use of water. Recently Adidas also announced it’s intention to make all products from recycled ocean plastics by 2024, building on the success of the partnership with Parley for the Oceans, which has already produced one million pairs of shoes made from recycled plastics.
German outerwear brand Pyua is known for its commitment to developing a closed-loop recycling system where the shell material, as well as all trims and components can be recycled at end-of-life. In their quest to push innovation, the brand recently chose Freudenberg Performance Materials’ new synthetic insulation comfortemp® fiberball, which is produced from 80% recycled fibres and 20% binder components without the use of chemicals. The result was the ‘Snug-Y 2.0 Men’s Hybrid Fleece Jacket’, which received the Gold Winner ISPO 2018 award.
On top of striving to develop innovative and low impact materials, coloration and finishes to create quality products, Patagonia educates consumers on the benefits of keeping product in use for longer. The American company’s Worn Wear program enables individuals to look after their Patagonia products with the help of care and repair guides, sell items second-hand when they no longer want them, or trade them in to receive credit towards a new or used product.
The focus on Swedish brand Fjällräven’s is on developing product that lasts for generations and this is evident in their approach to design, where classic styles are created to be easily repairable, utilising tough and durable materials. The company emphasise the environmental benefits of caring for and repairing products by providing customers with practical knowledge on how to prolong the life of their products or fix particular issues through interactive guides and videos.
Swedish Houdini team take much time to consider design, material and finishing choices and the brand was also one of the first to offer rental for their shell garments. This enables customers to try and test before they buy or simply have access to the right technical gear for specific outdoor activities. In addition Houdini are keen to extend the life of their products through reuse, as they enable customers to return unwanted garments to the store to be sold second-hand.
German Vaude prides itself on pushing innovation for environmentally considered and fairly produced outdoor products and recently launched their Green Shape Core Collection to share their future vision for sustainable outdoor gear. This unique collection utilises a diverse selection of bio-based, recycled and natural materials and is intended to offer a sense of wellbeing and comfort, as well as versatile styles that can be used for many different activities.
The German lifestyle brand is known for pushing the innovation agenda on natural fabrics, both through regional cultivation projects and collaborations with partners from further afield, such as Mongolia, China and Peru. Tapping into the growing consumer trend for plant-based diets and mindfulness, the company offer a large selection of vegan styles as part of their yoga and outdoor collections.
The brand considers sustainability a design ethos across all products and this approach is evident through Nike’s approach to pushing the use of technology. One of the most inspiring examples is the Nike Flyknit footwear technology, which produces engineered lightweight, high performance and highly attractive footwear, while dramatically cutting down on material waste. As the technology reduces waste by around 60% compared to traditional cut and sew methods, the company managed to reduce around 3.5 million pounds of waste between 2012 and Spring 2016.
Tierra’s design team in Sweden demonstrates positive solutions to environmental issues through design innovation and their 3D knitted Rista material, made from merino wool and hydrophobic Primaloft yarn, is a direct result of trying to find alternatives to synthetic fleeces, which shed harmful microfibers. Another exciting innovation is their Deterra® Jacket, the first 100 % bio-based technical outdoor jacket. The outer shell fabric is made from EVO by Fulgar yarn consisting of polyamide made from castor bean oil and the jacket further utilises Lavalan wool padding, corozo nut buttons and Tencel thread.
The American brand developed the OutDry Extreme Eco range, which includes a technical rain shell, insulated and down jackets. This collection has a unique aesthetic, as the only available colourway is white, due to the use of dye-free fabric, which saves over 49 litres of water per jacket. The shell fabric is made from 21 recycled plastic bottles and all trims are created from 100% recycled content.
"It is very nice to see that six out of ten brands mentioned in Anne's article already are customers at LTP," tells Chief of Sales, Žaneta Šeremetienė from LTP's innovation center in Kaunas. Zaneta continues; we are actually working with many other sustainable brands not mentioned by Anne. Brands like Peak Performance with top focus on Higg index, Filippa K just to mention a few of them.
Of course, there are many other brands working on inspiring new concepts and solutions, if you are one of them, please feel free to get in touch with Anne Prahl to share your latest innovations.
About Anne Prahl
Anne is a London-based, independent design professional specialising in sustainable design, research and innovation for the sportswear and fashion industry. You can find out more about her work via LINKEDIN or get in touch at: ANNE@ANNEPRAHLDESIGN.COM