Winter's Upon Us...Dec 15, 2021
By Louise Henwood
Here we are in December, post-Black Friday/Cyber Monday consumerism and a few weeks from Christmas. This time of year also marks shorter days, longer nights, and for some a good excuse to stay cozied up at home. But for others this time of year means one thing and one thing only - snow sport season!
If you are one of those people and you are hitting the slopes this winter, it’s important to make sure you have the proper gear to protect you from the elements. In this article we feature some awesome brands who not only take technical, functional winter performance wear seriously but take the environment into consideration too.
It’s no easy feat to create high performing extreme weather clothing that not only keeps you warm and dry, wicks away sweat through breathable technology yet uses sustainable material and does right by the environment.
Below we look at brands who are doing just that through the use of innovative fabrics, recycled materials and natural fibers split by category.
Base & Mid layers
British brand Finisterre was born in 2003 with a design ethos of pairing functionality with sustainability and has remained committed to its product, the environment and people ever since. Heck - their website headline is "Sustainability as standard, since 2003." Every business and product decision they make is informed by their impact on the environment whilst striving to innovate at every opportunity.
They create everything from Jackets to Swimwear for both men and women, but their Merino and Bamboo base layers are our personal favorites - check out the men’s Bora Long Sleeve Bamboo Base Layer and women’s Zephyr Merino Wool Roll Neck Base Layer.
Founded and led by women since 1993, Houdini, the Swedish brand is on a quest to reimagine the future of circular sportswear. 100% of all the fabrics used in their Spring ‘21 were recycled, recyclable, renewable, biodegradable or Bluesign certified and their goal is to achieve 100% circularity in 2022. That’s pretty damn impressive.
Our favorite mid layers are the women’s Alto Crew which uses merino wool and Tencel® as an all natural alternative to synthetic fleece and the men’s Power Houdi. Plus they offer a kid’s collection for the mini me in your life - how cute is the Baby Adventure Houdi?!
With almost half a century of sustainable business on its Resume, Patagonia has carved its name as one of the leading sustainable sports brands. They create functional, repairable and long-lasting products which are designed to last not only years, but generations - which makes their items a fantastic second-hand buy too. A pillar for sustainability in apparel, Patagonia pledges 1% of sales to preservation and restoration of the natural environment.
Patagonia’s fleece has seen quite the resurgence in recent years and makes for the perfect layering piece between your base and shell layers. We particularly love the Women's Shelled Retro-X® Fleece Pullover in Salt Grey Heather and the Men's Classic Retro-X® Fleece Jacket in Kansas Sky: Classic Tan.
Founded in 1989 Arc'teryx is the Vancouver, BC high performance outdoor equipment company which is known for leading innovations in climbing, skiing and alpine technologies.
The Arc’teryx product philosophy is the backbone of their approach to sustainability and so they create products that are made to last. This paired with their lifetime care, repair and product guarantee this is their way of minimizing their impact on the environment. At their Vancouver manufacturing facility in 2017, they repaired and returned over 13,000 products to their owners for further use. What an amazing initiative.
Their Outerwear offering spans over 120 options in shell and insulated jackets, but the ‘pièce de résistance’ has to be the Alpha SV Jacket (available for both men and women) which is their most durable GORE-TEX PRO shell designed for severe (SV) alpine conditions - this piece was designed with every outdoor scenario in mind!
Stuck on which jacket you need? Check out their awesome Jacket Finder tool to help narrow down your options.
When it comes to snow sports accessories, Mons Royale is our winner. They use ethically grown mulesing-free, natural, biodegradable and sustainable Merino wool ensuring the perfect balance of sustainability and technical performance. Plus the designs are pretty great too! We particularly love the unisex logo’d Pom Pom Beanie and the Signature Merino Crew Sock.
Another thing we love about Mons Royale is their logistics model - 99% of all products are transported by ocean which on average has 20 times less CO2 impact than air freight.
When it comes to equipment, Salomon might be an obvious choice for skis and snowboards from a ‘known to consumer’ standpoint. But their practice of understanding environmental impact, reducing CO2 emissions, reducing the use of non-renewable resources, eliminating toxicity and developing a process by which products are environmentally friendly throughout the life-cycle makes them a top choice from a sustainability perspective too.
Have you seen their Sustainability Stories YouTube video channel!? Some great shorts in there.
When you invest in a great pair of skis or a top of the range snowboard, it is important to maintain your investment with a great wax. Beaverwax uses environmentally friendly ingredients in its innovative wax which are all made and poured in Canada.
That's it for now...
Was that helpful? Did we forget to mention your favorite snow sports brand? DM us over at @theunderswell or at [email protected] and show them/us some love!
Louise is a contributor to The Underswell when she's able to break away from her Product Strategy Consulting duties :) She's at linkedin.com/in/louisehenwood/ .
Top 35 Things to Know if you're learning about Sustainability in the Apparel Industry. Have you downloaded the guide yet?
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