This is the UN-TOLD STORY of...
Marathon season is just around the corner. Again. Start lines will be toed. Again. Phantom injuries will return. Again. Butterflies will engulf stomaches. Again. Clouds of self-doubt will circle. Again. “I need another month.” “Hmm… what’s the right pace to go out at?” “What finish time is realistic?” “I don’t know why I’m doing this… Again!”
And what will most athletes be wearing as they set the roads of the world on fire on their self-propelled mission to chase down their dreams?
Yeah, Virgin Polyester – PLASTIC. Again.
Because we can’t escape it. Because we love plastic. Because we’re addicted to it!
But why is it SO BAD??
And by bad, obviously we mean bad for the environment...
Because as far as performance goes virgin polyester is pretty damn hard to beat. (Yes, we hear you merino wool fans – but how much of that do you actually see on start lines? And... is it mulesing-free?)
Firstly, just-incase-you-weren’t-aware, virgin polyester (plastic) is derived from non-renewable fossil fuels, primarily crude oil
(petroleum) — that's dug up from beneath the Earth. Both land-based and from beneath ocean floor beds.
The extraction and processing contributes to air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn... contribute to climate change.
The creation and production of virgin polyester (or 'poly') also involves energy-intensive manufacturing processes.
This energy consumption contributes to carbon dioxide emissions and further exacerbates climate change.
The manufacturing process also involves the use of C R A Z Y amounts of water...
For cooling, dyeing, and finishing (( no, not as crazy as cotton) ) .
This can lead to water scarcity and pollution, as the wastewater from polyester production often contains harmful chemicals.
C H E M I C A L S !
of course the production of virgin polyester involves the use of various chemicals, including solvents, dyes, and finishing agents. These chemicals can be toxic and harmful to both human health and the environment. But of course, that's not really news to any of us, is it?
The disposal of these chemicals can contaminate soil and water sources —
which is why it’s so important that B R A N D S KNOW what environmental manufacturing/process certifications their suppliers have.
Or more likely in most cases… don’t have. ?????????
Micro - Plastic - Pollution .
Yep, this is a tricky one …
By now we all know that micro-plastics are everywhere.
Not just in the Oceans, but in the Air we breathe, Food we eat, and… even inside Us.
So we know that when washing garments made from virgin polyester, tiny micro-fibres are released into the water. And that these micro-fibres are a form of micro-plastic that can end up in oceans and waterways, posing a threat to marine life and entering the food chain...
Ever thought about wearing your running gear a couple of times before throwing it into the wash?
Don’t worry, we won’t tell anybody.
So why the hell do so many running brands continue to produce and use virgin polyester then?
It’s ' complicated. '
The problem is...
when it comes to endurance sports like running (and cycling) polyester fabric is so damn good!
Polyester has amazing moisture-wicking properties > > >
quickly drawing sweat away from the body and allowing it to evaporate… fast.
In turn keeping us runners dry and comfortable during intense workouts... loooooooooooooooong runs...
HELLO RACE DAY!
It’s lightweight and breathable which allows for better airflow and ventilation.
This helps regulate our body temperature and prevents overheating. An obvious point, but important if you're out slaying a workout or race, right?
Polyester is also durable AF .
And long-lasting — which also makes it perfect for high-intensity activities like…
r u n n i n g .
It can withstand frequent (but please, not too frequent!) washing and maintain its shape and performance over time.
S t r e e e e eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch & flexibility .
Polyester fabrics often have inherent stretch and flexibility, which gives runners freedom of movement and allows for a more comfortable fit.
Four - way - stretch that your body can pull and twist in any direction ?
Yeah, poly does that.
Cost - effectiveness.
$ € % £ ¥ ¢
[ Let’s be honest… ]
For most running brands this is the BIG one.
THE one that often overrules any genuine regard or care for our environment.
Virgin Polyester is Cheap!
[ C o s t is the killer . ]
Compared to some other performance fabrics polyester can be a bargain ( ! ) ... especially for the Big Brands that use extraordinarily concerning amounts of it.
Which unfortunately makes virgin poly THE cost - effective...
- Bottom - Line - Choice -
This affordability allows for a wider range of products... over-production... and… seemingly... endless…
The n o t - s o - m a g i c - s i l v e r bullet.
( Or should we say ‘Green - ER Bullet’? )
♺ ☑︎☒ ? NO...
is not and never will be ‘ the ’ answer. But…
The way we see it is… given that plastic is so damn problematic and hard to get rid of...
rather than sweep it under the carpet (or into landfills, oceans, and incinerators)…
… And since we have the technology to create (and run in) fabrics that perform just as good, if not better THAN VIRGIN POLYESTER…
from Recycled Plastics…
… then isn’t that maybe… just maybe… a whole lot better… whole lot more responsible solution… ( ? )
( for now )…
than adding to the problem by creating even more Virgin Plastic for us to ALL get addicted to?
> > This has been a big part of our thinking from day one ZERO < <
Which is why...
we so stubbornly embarked on a Marathon Journey that sought out a textile manufacturing partner that was willing to at least ‘listen’ to us and ‘try’ to develop our first, and their first ( and the world’s best ) premium recycled polyester fabrics specifically for endurance sports.
> " not possible " <
And yes, 100% made from recycled ( post consumer use ) plastic bottles.
And so together with our Italian Fabric Partner, we, un-sanctioned running, are responsible for the development of the World’s Most Premium Recycled Polyester Fabrics you now see some of your favourite premium running and cycling brands incorporating into their own collections.
Yes, we're incredibly proud of this fact — because sometimes it takes a lot of "no" to get a "yes'.
And of course,
it would not be achieved (OR have any real credibility) without the supporting evidence of relevant Global Certifications to back it up, including: OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 [ verification of responsible chemical use ] BLUESIGN [ conscious/sustainable & verified tracking of every fabric through the entire production process ] ISO 14001 [ voluntary certification process incorporating sustainable environmental strategies into production process ] ISO 50001 [ implementation, maintaining & continued improvement of energy management systems ]
BUT HOW IS THAT even POSSIBLE ?
When we first approached the Italian Mill (after many, many, knock backs and laughs) with our idea of developing premium recycled performance fabrics we also wanted to ensure that the fabrics were eventually also accessible for other brands to use.
Because one small brand alone cannot change a Goliath industry for the better.
It takes many.
The fact of the matter is:
if you're already out running, or cycling around, in premium quality sustainable products (amazing — good for you!) from other brands...
that feature Italian-Made Recycled Polyester Fabrics — Made from Plastic Bottles...
then yes, there’s a Very Good Chance that you've already experienced the World Class Quality...
& Durability of our fabrics without even knowing it!
Or without those brands knowing how 'Their' Recycled Polyester Fabrics in their latest collections began their Reincarnation Journey from Virgin Plastic either.
E s c a p e the Virgin Plastic Addiction.
[ whether it's with us or other brands consciously working at doing their best to do better. ]
All images captured by [ Bill Tanaka ]