FAQs about our Sustainable Manufacturing Practices
What is DWR and what is it’s the effect on the environment?
Long-chain (C8) DWRs are the culprit. We have switched to a more environmentally friendly C6 DWR that breaks down in the environment faster, and have switched in some cases to PFC-Free DWRs.
Durable Water Repellents (DWR) are a family of fabric coatings that cause water to bead up on the surface of the fabric and roll off.
Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs): are organic compounds (containing carbon) that repel water due to their negative charge. These compounds wash off garments and end up in the water stream and our food, where they can have effects on hormones due to similar chemical structure.
Long-chain DWR: DWRs that have 8-carbon-long chains are harder to break down, so we use 6-carbon-long DWR, and in some cases, PFC-Free DWR.
Do you use recycled materials?
Yes, we use recycled polyester - from plastic bottles - in many of our garments including the Responsive Tee (100%), Atlas Socks (40%), 3D Print-Knit Sweater (50%) and Mercury Jacket (85%), and we have several more products in development for launch in the next 12 months.
Are synthetic materials sustainable?
Synthetics can be sustainable when we look at their lower water consumption, higher durability, ease of care, and recyclability.
When we look at the sustainability of material, we take into account the production process, the care that’s needed and what happens at the end of life.
Naturally-derived fabrics aren’t always sustainable, as they can take large amounts of land, water, and inexpensive labor to produce, require dry-cleaning and can release dyes during washing and the dyeing process.
Synthetics aren’t always bad either, they can have performance properties, use less water to produce, don’t require dry-cleaning, and can be recycled.
Materials need to be reviewed holistically, not just on their source alone.
Do you use any naturally-derived materials?
Yes, in many of our products; we use wood-derived viscose in most of the 3D Print-Knit product line, as well as the Fusion fabrics, cotton in our Hybrid and Atlas products and wool in our Composite and Atlas series. We call this “Scientifically Natural” - the best of performance and natural hand. Our Kinetic fabric uses bio-based Polyester which is derived from sugarcane and dent-corn.
Smart Comfortable: Our Smart Comfortable Line (Hybrid, Composite, Fusion and also Atlas) all feature blended natural and synthetic blends when we’re looking for softness and matte texture, due to the spun-fiber construction and high-gauge knitting.
Are synthetic fabrics safe for my skin?
Yes, our fabrics undergo Oekotex-100 certification to ensure safety fabrics next to skin and specifically babies.
Skin sensitivity: While skin sensitivity varies from individual to individual, our skin reacts to the structure and chemical structure. Often times, natural fabrics, from animals will cause allergic reactions due to the proteins on the yarn surface that cause an immuno-response.
Is 3D Print-Knit a sustainable manufacturing process?
Yes, our 3D-Print Knit process is an additive-manufacturing process, that means that only the material needed for the garment is used during production, saving 35% compared to cut & sew. It can also be made on-demand which lower obsolete product that goes to waste.
What kind of machinery/technology do our factories use to eliminate waste (e.g. Gerber machine)?
We use additive manufacturing where possible to make our sweater-knit garments, which only uses the material needed.
What can I do with my garment’s when I’m done?
We engineer our fabrics and garments for durability, but when you’re ready to retire it, we first suggest donating it for re-use. If not depending on your local regulations, our 100% Polyester (PET) garments (Apollo, Responsive, Kinetic) garments can be recycled.
What "sustainable" and/or "humane work environment" certificates do our factories have & what does that mean?
Our design and operations teams personally visit each factory to ensure these are places we would want to work and make products. Additionally, our factories are socially certified through WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production), BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative), and our fabric mills have environmentally-responsible production certifications through BlueSign and/or Oekotex 100 (Human-health certification for fabrics).
Do your products produce microplastics and what can I do to reduce the prevalence of microplastics?
Our fabrics are designed to be washed in machine-wash cold, tumble dry low. Washing on the gentle cycle will further reduce the agitation of the fabric. You can also use a Guppyfriend bag which can help filter out microfibers.
What what are your criteria for choosing?
We choose our partners based on ethics (socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing), capabilities (do they have expertise and equipment to meet our performance, quality and durability standards) and service (are they co-creators and partners in helping us innovate product and supporting our business and customer needs). Price, and geography are not the leading factors in this decision.
What are you doing with packaging to ensure less of an environmental impact?
We’ve switched from bleached cardboard to 100% recycled-paper cardboard shipping boxes and mailers, and over the next 6 months you’ll see our garments switch from poly-bags convert to a bio-degradable (compostable) bags.
Where do you make your garments?
We make the majority of our fabrics in Japan and Taiwan, where the performance fabrics mills are concentrated, and we sew or knit our garments in Japan, Taiwan and nearby in China, where we are able to find factories that meet our Ethics, Capabilities and Service standards. Additionally, we do our 3D Print-Knit production in the United States (LA, Detroit, New Jersey and Boston) as well as Japan.
Learn More: Here’s a list of where all of our product series are made:
Blue Wave (Fuzhou, China): Apollo, Aero, Momentum, Hybrid, Juno, Mercury, Responsive, MomentumComposite, Dry Days
Matsuoka (Pinghu, China): Kinetic, Velocity, Light Layer
Crown Yin (Taipei, Taiwan): Composite, Hybrid Fleece, Fusion
Kaofeng (Taichung, Taiwan): Atlas Socks
Marusho Knit (Niigata, Japan): 3D Print-Knit Merino
MAS Apparel (Ratmalana, Sri Lanka): Illuminated Commuter Jacket
MoS 3D Print Knit Lab (Cambridge, MA, United States): 3D Print-Knit
Nimbly (Los Angeles, CA, United States): 3D Print-Knit
Towinall (Jinhua City, China): Atlas Tees
Vista Apparel (DongGuan, China): Atlas Sweaters
Why do you make your garments in China?
We choose our partners based on ethics, capabilities, and service. In making high-performance garments, we need factories with the expertise and equipment to manufacturing performance fabric, as well as machinery such as laser-cutters, ultrasonic bonding equipment, and lamination presses. Price and Geography are not factors in our selection criteria.