Stay Warm With These Sustainable Jacket Tips!
Sustainable jackets: over to you. We love jacket season, when the streets are filled with stylish coats of every description. But jackets, however trendy, do carry the risk of leaving a big dent in the environment. That’s because regular jackets are usually made from fast fashion materials like polyester, polyamide and cotton. They require a lot of different components, which makes their environmental footprint much higher than (eg.) any old t-shirt! Finally, water repellent or waterproof styles are often treated with harsh chemicals that can get into streams and rivers and potentially stay there forever. The kind of chemicals (PFAS aka fluorchemicals) that inspired the critically acclaimed Netflix movie, Dark Waters. While there is a heightened awareness and regulation around fluorochemicals, if a fabric is treated synthetically, it is likely to be bad for the environment.
As with all items of fashion, there are also concerns about how ethical jackets are. The truth is, not enough brands know enough about their supply chain to be able to say that their workers are paid appropriately and are safe - especially given the complex global web of mills, factories and dying facilities. The fashion industry was not built to be transparent (or fair); it was structured around having the competitive edge and protecting supplier interests.
All this can make a search for sustainable jackets seem like a fool’s errand. But not to worry, we’re here to help! In order to make your life waaay easier, here’s a checklist of characteristics your jacket should have in order to be sustainable and ethical.
1. Sustainable fabrics
Obvious right? Only if you know your stuff. Sustainable jacket fabrics range from organic cotton canvas to mulesing-free wool, via TENCEL™ Lyocell, recycled polyester and linen! There’s a lot of options for sustainable fabrics these days, so be sure to find out which one is best for you. Here’s why each of these materials is better for the environment.
- Organic Cotton: no pesticides, better farming and social practices. Great for lightweight or lined jackets.
- Mulesing-free wool: durable fibre, more animal-friendly than regular wool. Great for a cold walk in the mountains.
- TENCEL™ Lyocell: excellent water and emissions saving fabric. Great for a jacket that doesn’t know it’s a jacket!
- Recycled Polyester: finds a second use for throwaway plastics. Durable and warm. Great for linings and/or water resistant styles.
- Linen: low water impact, and fewer pesticides. Excellent for lighter styles that produce a touch of class and originality.
2. Recycled or Organic lining
So your jacket has a sustainable shell? What about the inside? It’s important that, when lined, your jacket is made from recycled or organic materials. They will feel silky and smooth, just like conventional materials, but without the added environmental costs.
We often line our sustainable jackets with a sherpa fleece. Except ours isn’t made from wool or cotton, but plastic bottles! PET plastic can be collected, shredded, melted down and respun into recycled polyester to make beautifully warm and fluffy fleeces.
3. Eco zipper
That’s right: zippers can be unsustainable. One of the most common issues is that they contain nickel - an iron ore linked to habitat destruction, high greenhouse gas emissions and air/soil/water pollution. They can also be made from plastic - which is distilled from fossil fuels and doesn’t biodegrade. If you want to be especially vigilant about the sustainability of your jacket, check that the zip is nickel-free and that the material base is organic cotton or recycled polyester.
4. Sustainable production process
There’s a story to every jacket - think about all the people involved in the manufacturing of it, and the many stages of its lifecycle: from seed (in the case of cotton and linen) to seam. We’re proud to say that all of our garments are made in Northern Portugal, by people we know and trust. Regular factory visits ensure that we form a strong working relationship with our suppliers and that we see high labour standards and happy faces, with our own eyes! The regional production of our jackets allows for a lower carbon footprint (as we don’t ship in from abroad, and Portugal has a good renewable energy supply), ethical labour standards, and higher quality than many fast fashion factories. That means your clothing is designed to last.
5. Climate Neutral
Wouldn’t it be great if, underpinning all of this, the brand was also taking care of its emissions impacts? This is the idea behind Climate Neutrality: a certification system that allows companies to buy a quantity of carbon credits equivalent to their footprint. The credits are usually spent on projects that sequester greenhouse gases (responsible for global heating) - in our case Rimba Raya nature reserve.
But that’s not all: before offsetting their carbon footprint, a company must show that it’s reduced the impact of its products first. Monitor, reduce, offset: the mantra of Climate Neutrality, which brings the net emissions of a company to zero.
At TWOTHIRDS, our garments and company are both Climate Neutral.
6. Non-toxic coating
Last but by no means least, check the coating of your coat! Not every jacket has a finish but when they do, a truly sustainable jacket won’t be treated with fluorochemicals. Instead, they can be reinforced with something called Teflon EcoElite™, a 60% renewable sourced and plant-based water repellent finish. Any of our water repellent jackets contain this innovative layer of protection, which is 100% safe for humans and the environment.