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How Outerknown and Royal Robbins Advance Circularity

Brands known for their outdoor or active lifestyle styles and appeal are making new strides in the use of sustainable materials as they strive to develop circular business models.


Sustainable lifestyle brand Outerknown has launched “Second Spin”–a new circular collection of men’s and women’s knits made from high-quality recycled cotton from textile waste.

Each piece of the collection is digitized, powered by EON’s Product Cloud Platform and CircularID Protocol, Outerknown said. An embedded QR code in each garment reveals its composition and provenance, as well as how to care for it to extend its lifecycle.

By digitizing each garment in the collection, Outerknown noted that it is laying the digital foundation for circular business model transformation, opening up circular pathways for the entire collection with identification of products and materials across the garment’s entire lifecycle.

As part of its work to achieve circularity by 2030, Outerknown has been actively converting its product lines to adopt circular models by increasingly leveraging regenerative and recycled materials, designing out waste and pollution, and ensuring products have viable end-of-life channels.

The Second Spin collection, composed of men’s and women’s T-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants, is Outerknown’s most recent advancement in reimagining its line of knits, following the announcement of its New Denim Project collection in February. Second Spin pieces are produced through a vertical, one-street supply chain in Morocco at Hallotex, which pioneered the technology to create high-quality recycled cotton fibers from textile waste.

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Pieces from the Second Spin collection are made of 14 percent to 40 percent recycled cotton or Lenzing’s Tencel Refibra fiber, with the rest composed of organic cotton.

“We want to keep our products out of the landfill and in circulation, forever,” Megan Stoneburner, Outerknown’s director of sustainability and sourcing, said. “This collection is another step in the right direction as we move toward our goal of becoming fully circular by 2030. We are excited to partner with a vertical supply chain partner to create these high-quality recycled garments, while also helping transform the way the industry interacts with and tracks products to enable a circular economy.”

Outerknown is sold at and at select premium retailers worldwide.

Royal Robbins

Outdoor lifestyle apparel brand Royal Robbins announced sustainability initiatives for 2021, including revealing that its best-selling adventure shirts are now made from 100 percent recycled materials.

Royal Robbins said it was a major effort to convert 10 shirts across the men’s and women’s Expedition lines to this recycled fabric.

Brands known for their outdoor or active lifestyle styles and appeal are making new strides in the use of sustainable materials.
A Royal Robbins Global Expedition shirt.

By using recycled polyester for the Expedition ripstop line versus virgin polyester for solid colors, energy use is reduced 51.19 percent and CO2 emissions are reduced 58.6 percent, the company noted. Each shirt upcycles about nine plastic bottles, keeping them out of landfills and oceans.

The next focus area was curating a collection of Royal Robbins’ lowest impact styles to make it easier for customers to make sustainable choices, including new socks. These 66 styles make up 46 percent of the Spring 2021 line and are made primarily from natural fibers, such as preferred cotton, recycled content or responsibly sourced forest materials. Preferred Cotton is cotton that is ecologically or socially progressive, or both, because it has more sustainable properties in comparison to other conventional options, according to Textile Exchange.

By choosing preferred cotton, Royal Robbins said it is reducing water use, while also improving soil quality. The company is converting about 75 percent of its cotton to preferred and 50 percent of its polyester to recycled this year. In 2021 and beyond, Royal Robbins is focused on increasing its use of these low-impact materials that help conserve natural resources and reduce waste, chemicals and CO2 emissions.

Royal Robbins’ collection of men’s and women’s products can be found in outdoor and specialty retail partners throughout the U.S. and abroad.