Fast fashion is big business, but it’s also a big polluter, responsible for about 10% of global carbon emissions. Approximately 70% of the $3 trillion fashion industry is made from synthetic or petrochemical materials.
While some companies claim sustainable clothing lines, there is a very big difference in what that means. For some, reducing carbon emissions is related to production, while for others it is related to the clothing itself.
The plant-based clothing market is growing rapidly, as evidenced by companies such as Activ activewear, Kent lingerie and startup Unless, which bills itself as “the first streetwear brand to create products that biodegrade harmlessly at the end of life.” Unlike today’s clothes, which are mostly made from oil, these clothes can be composted. They are all 100% plant-based nutrients such as recycled cotton, hemp, plant-based leather and coconut fiber, the company says.
“We started the company because we are a bunch of fashion industry executives who are tired of the fashion culture of making, taking and throwing away,” said Eric Liedtke, CEO of Unless. “The planned obsolescence of fashion is mostly based on petrochemical or petroleum feedstock, which means it is cheap. But what you don’t know about it is that it creates synthetic materials that are eternal materials that will never disappear.”
Liedtke comes from Adidas, so it’s no surprise that Unless includes shoes, apparel, and accessories.
“Our product starts with an end goal. This story is very easy to tell to consumers because the clearest thing is what happens when I stop using it? It disappears harmlessly and becomes food for plants and worms. I am as important as the quality of the product you produce. This is a product multiplied by history,” Liedtke said.
If only she only has one pop-up retail store in her hometown of Portland, Oregon in addition to online sales. Liedtke hopes the company will grow with rapidly growing consumer demand for sustainable products and plans to partner with other brands as more companies look to tackle fashion waste. Except that cooperation with Mammut, a Swiss mountaineering company with a 160-year history, has recently begun.
“We did this on the eve of International Mountain Day and I am happy to report that the item sold out in 48 hours,” Liedtke said.
This collaboration could also help the company keep relatively high prices down: for example, the “Biodegradable Hoodie” costs $119 on the company’s website. Some buyers say it’s worth it.
“I would pay more for sustainable clothes, I think that’s kind of the same as my contribution to helping the planet and I think we should all do our part as much as we can,” said Drew Welchi, who made pop-up shopping. keep.
Unless backed by Connect Ventures, an investment partnership between Creative Artists Agency and NEA (New Enterprise Associates) that has raised $7.5 million to date.