Norwegian-born brand Varsity Headwear, a “cap specialist” company and purveyor of luxury headwear made from cashmere, wool, linen and cotton, has partnered with DHL International for a limited-edition run of 200 caps to underscore an oft-overlooked aspect of sustainability: transportation.
Following the brand’s recent partnerships with Vetements and Balenciaga, its dealings with DHL International was born from a shared interest in decreasing carbon emissions and global footprint across their processes, Varsity Headwear said.
The collaboration also highlights Varsity Headwear’s use of Sequel fabric, a yarn made from discarded plastic from both land and sea, a brim made from 100 percent recycled plastic, and its scrutinization of all areas across production, packaging and transportation, they noted.
Its products indeed carry a hefty price tag, but you get what you pay for — Varsity Headwear’s premium aesthetic boasts both exceedingly high quality and sleek style in the headwear segment. Its limited-edition run is inclusive of an interchangeable strap and logo, with one look featuring a subtle but striking DHL branded set, and the other, a black strap and Varsity Headwear logo, “playing a bigger role in increasing functionality and longevity for customers,” the brand said.
A mere 1 percent of the 53 million tonnes of fibers produced each year are recycled back into production, the company explained, “and the coming together of the two like-minded brands has set a challenge to create a more economical product and transportation methodology.”
For Varsity Headwear, this materialized by moving production of its DHL International cap to Estonia to help reduce transportation of fabric from Portugal, and eventually shipping the product to Norway. The move resulted in a final product made up of 67 percent recycled plastic waste, with a 65 percent reduction in package volume, and reduced transportation emissions of more than 80 percent, for a grand savings total of more than 20,000 kilometers in transportation distance.
All caps are shipped in a bespoke Varsity Headwear hard case that is reusable and eliminates the single-use box, the brand noted — and the soft shape of the caps allows for smaller shipping boxes, increasing transportation efficiency.
Founded by Norwegian-born brothers Alex and Seb Adams, Varsity Headwear’s partnerships are built off its vision to create the perfect cap. Sustainability has always been “a key brand pillar,” they said, adding that the brand “maintains an evolutionary mind-set around the subject, striving to constantly improve and develop processes in line with the UN sustainability goals of Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry Innovation and Infrastructure and Responsibility around Consumption and Production.”
Its DHL International collaboration emerged following a carbon emissions assessment in 2020 of all Varsity Headwear’s products and processes, which were mostly positive, according to the brand. However, it was made clear that “transportation and logistics of caps were significant to overall CO2 emissions, and this collaboration provided the perfect opportunity to effectively ‘reset’ and look at ways in which Varsity Headwear could improve processes alongside their biggest shipping partner in DHL,” the company said.
Varsity Headwear said it aims to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2023 and hopes to achieve this by “using more sustainable methods of transportation and optimizing logistics by producing more ’seasonal’ or ’special’ collections closer to the brand’s main markets.” And they have plans in the works to develop an end-of-life recycling system and pilot project for the resale of Varsity Headwear caps — both in the founders’ home country of Norway.
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