Sustainability in retail isn’t just about creating a one-off sustainable capsule collection, it is about changing the entire line.
The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimating that the apparel industry is responsible for about 10 per cent of the global CO2 emissions worldwide. When this is the reality, it is time for a change. Thankfully, that’s exactly what Globe is doing – making a change.
With roots deep down in skating, surfing and snowboarding, Globe has been a key player in representing boardsports for years. Founded in Australia in the early 1980s by the three Hill brothers, Peter, Stephen and Matt, the company began its journey under the name Hardcore, which later developed into what we now know as Globe.
“At Globe, as skateboarders, surfers and snowboarders, we spend a lot of time doing what we love outdoors, so we are conscious of our environment.” – Globe.
A company that’s been founded by boardsports enthusiasts, like the Hill brothers themselves, naturally reflects the founders’ understanding of and respect for the environment. Globe’s new Low Velocity apparel is the brand’s way of paying proper tribute to the environment, as it isn’t just another one-off sustainable capsule collection. It’s actually a change in the brand’s entire mindset when it comes to making clothes.
Fast-fashion is what we would label as ‘high velocity’. It’s about mass production of cheap and disposable clothing, which are driven by seasonal trends and end up in landfill after being worn just a few times. This has serious consequences on our planet.
‘Low Velocity’, on the other hand, represents the opposite.
After two years in the making, Globe has done a 180 when it comes to clothing manufacturing. By starting from scratch and developing a programme that isn’t just driven by its revenue growth potential, but rather its long-term impacts on the planet, Globe’s introducing ‘Low Velocity’, a line that’s all about sustainable development.
There’s a lot of brands out there who’ve jumped on the sustainability wagon. However, a huge chunk of these brands aren’t doing it for the greater good. Using sustainability as a marketing tactic to come across as more appealing in the eyes of the consumer is what throws many people off, hence why it’s become crucial for brands to become more transparent in their approach. For Globe, it is about creating a sustainable ‘top to bottom’ range and not just an ‘eco capsule collection’.
By thoroughly taking the consumer through what goes into making the fabric, Globe can’t be blamed for not being transparent. They’ve implemented key features in the production process to help them on their journey towards sustainability, with durability at the forefront.
The long-term key to sustainability is durability. Not only can this be seen in the quality of the goods but also in the non-seasonal, staple product composition Globe offers. Neon colours might be cool every two decades but neutral colours as black and white will never go out of style. By producing timeless long-lasting apparel that stays both on your’s and the retailer’s shelves for more than just one summer, Globe is already able to reduce the sustainability footprint of the products immensely.
Durability isn’t however the only thing that makes the new Globe apparel better for the environment. The brand has also replaced a bunch of materials with options better fitted to match the needs of the environment.
We’ve all grown up thinking cotton is the better option in clothing manufacturing. However, it isn’t as innocent as we’ve been thought to believe. Conventional cotton is one of the most chemically dependent crops in the world, meaning this little plant needs a lot of agricultural chemicals and insecticides to grow at the rate the fast-fashion industry needs it to. The toxic chemicals used for its growth cause diseases and premature deaths among cotton farmers, along with massive freshwater and ocean water pollution and soil degradation.
An alternative is to use organic cotton, which is exactly what Globe’s done. All of their cotton stock has been sourced from organic yarn, and future ranges will carry more explicit certifications. This reduces the pesticide exposure of farmers and textile workers, and toxic chemicals from ending up in the ground, air, water and our food chain.
By replacing virgin polyester with recycled polyester from recycled plastic bottles (rPET), Globe is preventing any further waste from ending up in landfills. This also allows them to save energy and reduce the need for the primary extraction of crude oil. The brand’s also replaced the use of virgin nylon with recycled nylon, which has the same benefits as the usage of recycled polyester.
Additionally, Globe’s using coconut husks (by COCOTEX) to produce odour resistant yarn. This allows the usage of a more sustainable fibre along with avoiding more landfill waste.
YKK zippers have also been quick to get involved in the usage of recycled materials. By choosing to use the recycled zipper option as their default zipper tapings on all the Low Velocity products, Globe and YKK can keep even more waste from ending up in landfills while also reducing the reliance on sourcing virgin plastics from the oil industry.
To step things up, even more, Globe’s using a PFOA-Free DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating. DWR gives the clothes an extra layer of waterproofing, assuring you’ll stay dry for longer. Traditionally, DWR formulas include Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which can potentially be toxic. However, Globe’s gone for a coating free of those chemicals. And, on top of that, the brand’s also gone for PVC and Phthalate free inks, avoiding further use of potentially harmful chemicals.
Globe is also tackling the issue of bleach and dye in the textile industry by releasing their ‘bleach-free + dye-free’ collection.
Needless to say, bleach isn’t exactly something we’d pour down our throats. The smell of it already tells us that this stuff is bad, let alone the feeling we get on our hands after we’ve scrubbed the bathroom without using gloves.
Bleach-containing waste is often released into bodies of water, allowing for it to blend with other products which can then result in dangerous toxins. When released into the environment bleach can also linger for years, which can create more pollution. This isn’t just of danger to humans, but it puts the wildlife at risk too.
Another big issue in the textile industry is toxic wastewater. According to the World Bank, an estimated 20 per cent of water pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment. This adds up to more than a half-trillion gallons of freshwater that is used in the dyeing of textiles each year.
The dyeing process isn’t just strenuous on our water resources but it’s also chemically intensive. Around 8000 synthetic chemicals are used throughout the world to turn raw materials into textiles.
The wastewater is often dumped into the rivers of the countries where the garments are produced, putting both humans and aquatic life in danger. Ultimately, the contaminated water can spread all the way into the sea and eventually spread around the globe.
By using a blech-free and dye-free fabric Globe can produce clothes without toxic substances while also reducing water pollution. The ‘bleach-free and dye-free‘ fabric might not yet be used throughout the entire collection, but it’s a huge step in the right direction and a step that many other companies have yet to take.
Globe also stacks a team of riders who have Mother Nature’s best interest at heart. Professional surfer Dion Agius is one of them.
Dion and Globe teamed up to create a collection that would represent Dion’s dedication to his home, Tasmania. Inspired by his home island, and dedicated to supporting the future of the Tasmanian Wilderness, the Dark Hollow collection wants to help draw attention to environmental issues that not only affect Tasmania but the world at large.
(The Tasmanian Wilderness received a world heritage listing as it conserves a diverse array of both natural and cultural features of outstanding global significance. In order to do their part for the Tasmanian Wilderness, Globe’s donated to the ‘Bob Brown Foundation’, which is a non-profit fund that aims to help protect scenic land environments, wildlife and marine ecosystems in Tasmania, around Australia, Antarctica and elsewhere. Be sure to check them out, these guys are doing a good thing for our future.
Low Velocity isn’t just about a change in production, it is about change in the entire mindset. By starting to prioritise alternatives that aren’t as harmful to the environment, Globe is building towards a brighter future.