United By Blue

Sustainability is a vast ocean of opportunity — and fashion brands are testing the waters.

And companies such as United by Blue, a sustainable outdoor apparel and accessories company, are taking a wholly unique approach with the use of bison fibers in its sleek newly released Bison Ultralight Jacket, made of 50 percent salvaged bison fiber and 50 percent wool. Bison — similar to wool — is temperature-regulating, hypoallergenic, lightweight and keeps its wearer warm when wet, as it combats well against nature’s stormy and unpredictable elements. The brand’s sustainability model is also unique: For every product purchased, United by Blue removes one pound of trash from global oceans and waterways.

Brian Linton, United by Blue’s founder and chief executive officer, said the brand doesn’t use duck or goose down, mainly for reasons of animal cruelty. “Despite progress in traceability, the down industry’s live plucking practices remain too controversial to consider a viable option. We ventured into the world of synthetic insulation, but were never able to find something we could truly stand behind both technically and environmentally. Our only solution was to create something entirely new.”

Also on the sustainable fiber front is Lycra, and the recent enhancement of its Planet Agenda sustainability platform, with the launch of its EcoMade fiber. The new fiber is the first branded elastane made with pre-consumer content; and what’s more, the firm also announced plans to convert the majority of its Coolmax and Thermolite fiber products into recycled content by the end of 2021.

Jean Hegedus, Lycra Co.’s sustainability director, said, “The Planet Agenda platform focuses on providing insights, technologies, products and processes that can contribute to a more sustainable industry. Planet Agenda is built around three interdependent pillars: product sustainability, manufacturing excellence and corporate responsibility. Through these pillars, we offer a variety of sustainable solutions focused on waste reduction, safe and transparent chemical usage, garment wear life and sustainable resources.”

And sustainability also means serious streamlining, according to OnPoint Manufacturing. The firm recently introduced the Gerbercutter Z1 cutter —  an automated cutting system that optimizes material cutting workflow — and upgraded AccuMark suite of products, in partnership with Gerber Technology. Its solution offers a blend of OnPoint’s on-demand manufacturing model and Gerber’s software and technology to streamline processes from design to final product by reducing lead times, costs and reducing errors and waste, the companies said, who worked together in the past when Gerber launched its FashionTech Platform 1.0.

The end result is personalized on-demand manufacturing, the companies explained. Karsten Newbury, chief strategy and digital officer at Gerber Technology, said, “OnPoint has developed technically advanced automated manufacturing and, combined with our unique end-to-end solution, this partnership will pave the way for true personalized on-demand manufacturing, which is what today’s consumers are increasingly expecting.” And J. Kirby Best, ceo of OnPoint Manufacturing, added, “While we are still determining a final digital press solution, using Gerber’s software suite and automated cutting systems like the Z1 moves us closer to our end goal. Each system we implement makes our manufacturing process more efficient and helps our customers get from concept to production more quickly.”

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