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PET Peeves | What is in a Robin Hoodie?

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

When we began to lay the groundwork to start our business, we knew that our supporters would be a pretty discerning bunch when it came to what is and what isn’t environmentally friendly. This was why we set out insisting on a 100% cotton product and since we were naively optimistic when we started contacting wholesalers, we assumed we would find an eco-friendly option that would line up nicely with our mission to help the natural world. We soon learned that the textile industry has not quite caught up to our lofty ideals and that our budget was nowhere near big enough to consider the very few, very high-end, eco-friendly products on the market. None of the suppliers we approached could offer us a 100% cotton product. In the end, we had to settle for a 50/50 garment made of cotton and polyester.

Offering a piece of clothing as a means of raising money to safeguard biodiversity might seem counterintuitive to those who know the toxic reputation of the fashion industry, and anything that comes from the oil industry, like PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) polyester is especially suspect. Some of our customers have expressed legitimate concerns about the polyester content of our hoodies. However, a comparison of the footprints of cotton, organic cotton and polyester yield some complicated results. The production of cotton involves a lot of pesticides and requires a lot of water and land.

Organic cotton has a much lower yield and so requires even more land - not something a rewilding company wants to hear. Polyester comes with its own set of problems. The manufacture of polyester produces greenhouse gases and it sheds microfibres in the wash. However, a cotton/polyester blend is a very durable fabric - more durable than 100% cotton.

Everything and everybody has a footprint; it’s unavoidable. Reducing our footprint is the best we can do. We know that some of our customers will grow tired of their hoodie, or outgrow it before it wears out. We know that sometimes clothing gets torn or stained. This is why we really want our customers to send back their hoodies when they are done with them. We want to reduce our footprint and we want to help you reduce yours. We do not want to contribute to the garbage problem and we do not want to join the fast fashion business. Now that we have put hoodies in circulation, we want to do what we can to make them last. We also strongly recommend washing clothes as infrequently as possible in cold water and hanging them to dry.

According to one article based on a peer-reviewed paper, “(w)hen we look at clothing overall, we consistently find the greatest environmental impact of a garment over its entire life is not in its production, transport or disposal, but in its use by the consumer - washing, drying, and ironing.” (Jack, T., 2013). And since it’s highly unlikely and not recommended at all that we purge our wardrobes of all the polyester items (athletic wear, yoga pants, undergarments,etc.), we suggest investing in a washing bag designed to reduce the microfibres leaving your washing machine.

We hope to soon offer a product that is more in keeping with our desire to leave the world a better place, but in the meantime, we are stuck working inside an imperfect system. We won’t let this stop us and we hope you will join us in shaping a better future for everyone who shares this planet.


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