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Sportswear – Collaborating Innovation, Sustainability and Style

Anyone who is into sports and fitness takes care of their mind and body earnestly and lives consciously. It is obvious that sportswear should be something that resonates with customer’s preferences. Sportswear should be natural, fashionable, and chic. Sustainability is the buzzword that is going to stay in the market henceforth. Companies should look into innovative and sustainable methods while manufacturing and distributing apparel.

Lead by example is always the mantra that is going to take any company to places. One such company which merges sustainability and style is an apparel company called Girlfriend Collective in 2017. They had launched a campaign where chic black leggings were produced from recycled spandex and micro-polyester free. It created a buzz and garnered support and adulation thereby setting a trend for other sustainable sportswear brands as well.

Companies who take sportswear sustainability seriously should take note of the following aspects:

  • Less Lycra, more organic cotton:
  • Lycra might be considered good for sports but the garment releases harmful micro-plastic residues which are not good for the environment. Based on a report from Fashion Revolution website, it is cited that textiles are one of the largest sources of microplastics with 1.4 trillion microfibres currently found in oceans.

    Organic cotton is ideal for skin and the environment as it does not include chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides, nor genetically modified seeds -and thereby maintaining fertility of the soil. It uses materials and processes with a minimum impact on environment.

  • PFC Free and recycled materials:
  • PFC or Perflurocarbons are chemicals used to make technical garments water resistant. Use or production of such garments release chemicals into the air which is harmful to both people and the environment. Sporting companies have now reduced the use of such products and manufacturing practices and are increasingly opting for alternatives.

    Discarded clothes and waste fabrics are generally burned. The carbon emissions released are toxic to the nature. Reuse and recycle of resources are the best and only option for companies today.

  • Social Responsibility:
  • Ensuring sustainability is upheld with commitment and socio-economic responsibility on the part of companies. Creating a positive impact on the society, stakeholders and surrounding communities is crucial. Manufacturing companies should make use of tools and certifications and convey it to their potential customers and support in their decision-making processes.

  • Care and repair:
  • Longevity of any apparel is associated with the quality and durability of the fabric. Everyone wants their apparel to last as long as possible; so, the best way to increase its lifespan is by taking care and repairing it instead of discarding it for minor damages.

    Today a lot of companies are successfully treading this path. Brands like Satva, Girlfriend, Ref Active, Teeki and Threads are few of the eco-friendly sportwear companies.

Circular Economy Model in Sports Industry

The Circular economy is seen as a trailblazer in recent times within almost all industries. It is the process of utilizing resources where reduction, reuse, and recycling of elements are consciously carried out. This kind of awareness and resource sharing can minimize costs and maximize product value.

Think about the possible categories where the circular economy can be exhibited in the sports industry – football kits, kayaks, boats, winning medals, etc. to name a few. Make space and explore the possibility for growth in markets for used machinery, maintenance equipment, and maybe even apparels. Begin with the assessment of largest wastage areas, design, structures that are temporary. After-use of the resources should be evaluated before sourcing them.

Can the sports industry adopting this model bring a change to the whole scenario? Well, it would be great to see every industry taking up the initiative and many are already g the race. Precedents however are set by most influential people. When athletes start wearing recycled sportswear, this will create a huge market for a circular economy.

For example, National Football League’s Seahawks is one of the successful teams to embrace this model. The biodegradable leftovers were locally converted to compost and sent to a local potato farm that supplies to the venue. The benefits a particular sport can get from the circular economy model are the control and scalability over cost and resources. Everyone involved can also leverage greater marketing value with this system.

Summing Up

Ethical production and distribution of sportswear is the key factor that will make any company stand out in the market today. Ensure that you look into partners who have certifications like Fair Trade and other signs of transparency. Brand should share specific information about factories, conditions of garment and garment workers. It should have a system of traceability. Sourcing should be done based on sustainable and ethical standards. Verify thoroughly before zeroing on the partner network.  A healthy today paves way for healthier tomorrow for us and environment.


About the Author

Vaibhav is a digital-marketing professional with a deep-rooted interest in everything automotive. Regular collaborations with automotive tech guys keep him apprised of all new trends in the automotive industry. Besides digital marketing, Vaibhav is fond of writing and music.

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