Earth Day on April 22 offers brands an opportunity to profile sustainable products, progress and commitments.
Atmos teams with On Running
Japan-founded global streetwear and athletic gear retailer Atmos has teamed with Swiss running shoe brand On Running to create an updated take on its Cloudnova sneaker this month. The second collaborative effort between the companies, the Midnight features an indigo-dyed hemp upper in place of the usual polyester 3D-knitted mesh.
Known for low-water consumption and lesser need for pesticides, as well as moisture-wicking and antimicrobial performance qualities, hemp has become an attractive alternative to cotton or plastic-based textiles.
The Midnight Cloudnova features stitched symbols representing the flags of Japan and Switzerland where the brands are based. The shoe features On’s CloudTec cushioned sole and signature Speedboard—a molded plate that adds resilience and spring to each step. Retailing for $170 in men’s sizing, the shoe is available on AtmosUSA.com.
Midnight Studios saves water with Saitex
Los Angeles menswear label Midnight Studios, founded in 2014 by designer Shane Gonzales, launched its first denim collection Monday. Developed with sustainable denim manufacturing partner Saitex, which opened its first stateside factory during the pandemic, the garments’ production creates zero chemical discharge and utilizes 98 percent recycled water.
A certified B Corp based in Vietnam, Saitex developed its own proprietary water management infrastructure and technology reusing the water needed for washing and finishing. The factory also runs on solar energy, and converts waste sludge into bricks for affordable housing.
The limited line’s jeans and denim jackets feature simple silhouettes with subtle branding visible on chrome hardware and Western cut yolk panels. Launching in black, indigo and natural color ways, the capsule’s denim jacket retails for $600, and jeans for $500.
Quiksilver touts swimwear made with preferred materials
Australia-founded skate and surf brand Quiksilver’s spring Sustainable Collection debuted with swim and casual wear styles produced using natural dyes and recycled materials.
Camp shirts, bikinis, crop tops, shorts and sweats in the capsule are made using preferred textiles including recycled polyester, Econyl regenerated nylon, Renew recycled jersey and organic cotton, with details like recycled woven labels. Certain pieces are garment dyed using non-toxic pigments.
The line represents the latest drop from the company’s Made Better initiative, which launched in spring 2021 and centers on the development of more eco-friendly materials and processes for men’s and women’s apparel.
Quiksilver said it has recycled more than 245 million plastic bottles for use in its apparel. Replacing virgin polyester with a recycled input has saved more than 254 million tons of CO2 emissions.
Adidas reimagines the classics in ocean plastic
Adidas will launch eco-conscious, black and white versions of the Superstar, Nizza Hi, Stan Smith, ZX 8000, Forum Mid, Forum Low, and NMD_R1, as well as two women’s exclusives, the Forum Bold W and Nizza Platform W, on Earth Day.
Each silhouette is made with a yarn that contains at least 50 percent Parley ocean plastic collected from beaches, coastal communities and shorelines. The remainder of the fiber content is made from recycled polyester.
The shoes will be available on Adidas.com and roll out globally in the coming months.
Smartwool aims to take in 400,000 pairs of used socks
Performance gear and merino wool sock maker Smartwool relaunched its Second Cut Project with the aim of collecting 400,000 pairs of pre-owned socks to promote the circular economy.
A Smartwool survey says 46 percent of consumers don’t recycle apparel because they don’t know how to get involved, while 67 percent believe a completely worn-out item doesn’t have any value. Smartwool’s campaign aims to educate consumers about how recycling items they already own can reduce environmental impact. Not only are these products saved from a landfill fate, their reuse can cut carbon generated from the production of raw materials, save natural resources, and save energy.
First launched last April, the Second Cut Project took back 12,000 pounds of material from consumers and partnered with Material Return, a North Carolina textile recycling firm, to produce a dog bed that sells for $150.
Smartwool is continuing that partnership to use the textile waste from collected socks to create other circular products. Through April 24, consumers can return their pre-owned socks at the brand’s retail stores, or request a free mailer online.
The project will aid Smartwool in its mission to achieve full circularity by 2030, sustainability and social impact senior manager Alicia Chin said. “We are committed to finding innovative ways of manufacturing to limit our impact on the environment and the Second Cut Project allows consumers to aid in our progress by visiting our retail partners to recycle their socks,” she said.
The process has economic, as well as ecological, benefits, according to Molly Hemstreet, co-executive director of Material Return operator Industrial Commons. “Recycling utilizes a domestic source of materials and supports American jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries, which underlines how environmental habits can support both people and the planet,” she said. “We are focused on local solutions for industrial problems,” Hemstreet added, and the Second Cut Project represents “community-based problem-solving in action.”
Sperry launches All For Water, Water For All campaign
Sperry on Monday announced the expansion of its SeaCycled collection of footwear made with eco-friendly materials and processes. The offerings include styles made with recycled polyester derived from plastic bottles, repurposed leather waste and recycled rubber outsoles. The Wolverine World Wide brand said it aims for 50 percent of its new releases to be part of the consciously created collection by 2024. It has also committed to reducing water usage by 1 million gallons each year, and to minimize packaging waste by eliminating single-use plastic.
“Sperry’s customers want sustainable products but are willing to make zero compromises,” senior vice president of global product Sean McDowell said. “With these qualifications in mind, we have proudly designed several undyed styles that celebrate the materials while using less water and energy, and producing less waste.”
Sperry revamped its Authentic Original Boat Shoe, made with leather uppers and a hand-sewn construction, as well as the Captain’s Moc, an oxford with upper, linings and laces made from recycled polyester. The Soletide Racy low-profile sneaker was recreated with reclaimed leather uppers and a recycled rubber outsole. Prices range from $59-$95.
To raise awareness, Sperry teamed with the PangeaSeed Foundation, an international nonprofit empowering artists to create work promoting ocean conservation. Four creatives were chosen to develop animations illustrating the science behind Sperry’s SeaCycled line.
The brand also reprised a relationship with the Waterkeeper Alliance to raise awareness for grassroots, community-based efforts to clean up waterways, as well as to host educational seminars for Sperry employees and shoppers.
“Protecting and sustainably managing water, our most essential natural resource, is a responsibility that is shared by everyone,” said Marc Yaggi, Waterkeeper Alliance CEO. “Our partnership with Sperry will highlight the importance of engagement at all levels, the impact of our actions, and how incremental change can lead to long-term solutions and tangible results.”
Caleres provides ESG progress update
Footwear firm Caleres released its first update on ESG goals set during 2021. The Vionic, Vince, Franco Sarto and Dr. Scholl’s owner said it is ahead of schedule in working toward most of the social and environmental targets it aims to achieve by 2025.
“Since we debuted our 2025 ESG Targets last year, they have guided how we approach our work across the company and our associates have embraced the responsibility we have to make a difference,” Caleres chairman and CEO Diane Sullivan said in a statement.
Caleres has switched to 75-percent recycled content for its shoeboxes, on track to reach 100 percent before its stated deadline. The company makes 52 percent of its shoes with environmentally preferred materials, including those that are more than 20 percent certified organic, and more than 50 percent comprised of recycled content like RPET and other synthetics and blends. Last year, 37 percent of the fabrics purchased met these standards, up from 28 percent in 2020.
By 2025, Caleres said all of its leathers would either be gold or silver-certified by the Leather Working Group, or at least 20 percent comprised of Global Recycled Standard (GRS) material. In 2021, 74 percent of its leather met these standards. The company also aims for at least 5 percent recycled content in synthetic footwear materials, and has achieved 8 percent of that goal so far.
To limit waste-intensive sampling, Caleres aims to use 3D modeling for 50 percent of its footwear designs. It has already avoided creating more than 1,100 unnecessary samples by switching to digital design since 2019, avoiding 15 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Caleres recycles its 3D-printed prototypes.
Caleres said that more than 96 percent of its global factories comply with stronger labor standards set last year, including fair wages and safe working conditions. Each supplier is evaluated using the Elevate Responsible Sourcing Assessment on criteria including wages, benefits, business transparency and hiring practices.
In its home market, the company has reduced Scope 1 energy usage from distribution centers and retail stores by 14 percent, with the goal of achieving a 25-percent reduction by 2025. It reclaimed, recycled or refurbished 90,000 pairs of shoes in 2021 to meet its annual goal.