Sourcing Journal: Can Fashion Kick Its Virgin Synthetics Addiction?

"Shaking off synthetics isn’t an easy task, said Caroline Priebe, founder of Driftless Goods, a plastic-free outdoor brand that wants to show the likes of Patagonia how it can be done. Case in point: Though she found a mill outside of Boston that had the Chargeurs-sourced wool she wanted, it was fused with a polyester backing. It took some convincing before the mill would make a fully wool version, and even then there was a period of trial and error because the all-natural version was less stable. Driftless Goods also uses regenerative wool from Shaniko Wool Company. It’s a bit more expensive, Priebe said, but that’s because “everyone in the supply chain is getting paid what they’re supposed to get.”
Beyond fleece jackets, Driftless Goods is working on categories such as weatherproof shells and compostable garden clogs, all without fossil fuels. Relying on recycling plastic isn’t the answer, Priebe said, because it’s logistically complicated, energy intensive and has an average global success rate of 9 percent. There’s little that you need fossil-fuel fibers for, she added—“maybe for extreme outdoor sports needs, but that’s not my wheelhouse. Not everyone is climbing K2, most of us are walking our dogs, taking hikes and getting coffee.”

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