New Zealand apparel brand Icebreaker sponsored ultra swimmer Ben Lecomte last year to show the … [+] plight of plastic pollution in the Pacific.
Last year, Auckland-based outdoor brand Icebreaker sponsored French ultra swimmer Ben Lecomte to swim across the Pacific from Hawaii to San Francisco through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. He swam 350 nautical miles over the summer. The goal was simple: swim and collect plastic samples.
Working with a support crew of scientists, he was able to shed further light on a growing problem: plastics everywhere in our system. Through the entire stretch of his swim from Hawaii to the California Coast, he and the crew collected over 45,000 microplastics. From small shards of plastics to toilet seats to hidden microplastics, they unearthed the severity of plastic pollution in our oceans.
This is why Icebreaker, the New Zealand brand founded in 1995, and famous for their wool-based collections, is making a commitment to go completely plastic-free by 2023. For an outdoor brand that prizes performance as well as sustainability in their clothing, opting out of synthetic fibers completely for eco-friendly, biodegradable options could be challenging. Can they do it?
I spoke with Alistair Smith, Director of Global Product Design at Icebreaker, to learn about the process of stripping back the synthetics from their collection, and the roadblocks they’re facing in this mission to be plastic-free.
Chhabra: Why 2023?
Smith: We decided to set Plastic -free materials by 2023 as a goal for ourselves around