The Re-Spun Mobile is on the road.
Confused? Here’s a quick Sparknotes on what’s going on.
Remind me what Re-Spun is again. Just for old times sake.
It’s our first line of 100% recycled tees we launched in April. You gave us old tees (90,000 and counting!), we broke them down to the fiber level, turned them into recycled fibers, then created new absurdly soft tees from there.
Ah yes, it’s all coming back to me now. So what’s the deal with this Re-Spun mobile?
It a mini store with all our Re-Spun styles. We got a truck to pull it all over the US, and we’ll be driving from New Orleans to New York to Chicago and (almost) everywhere in between to collect your old tees, get you some new ones, and spread the good word about Re-Spun.
So it’s basically like a tour bus?
Pretty much. Here’s where we’ll be.
- Washington, D.C. Union Market, 6/20-6/30
- Pitchfork Music Festival, Chicago IL, 7/19-7/21
So who’s behind the wheel?
Adam. No, not our COO Adam Lynch. Our newest employee — Adam Brown, who we call “Young Adam” around the office. Old Adam just loves it. While Young Adam is out on the road, he’ll be writing a travel journal on the blog of all his adventures. Which have already been crazy.
We’re calling it “The Spin Off.” Stay tuned each week for a new update.
My first day in court was spent in a Marine Layer tee.
Turns out that trying to open a mobile store without a permit in Montauk, NY isn’t legal. I was told by two cops, a hotel GM, and a few local residents that Montauk is the ‘Land of No’. The kind of place where stepping outside of the boundaries of city planning is met with the wrath of the East Hampton PD. As a result, I spent an afternoon with fellow criminals in the local Justice Court, where the waiting times, chair design, and general ‘bummer’ atmosphere had a lot in common with the DMV.
Nothing to be done after getting issued a court summons
As an alleged ‘illegal peddler’ I sat awaiting my sentence, wondering if this experience could relate to the broader narrative Marine Layer is creating around Re-Spun. For a long time the apparel industry was also the ‘Land of No’ with regards to sustainable production, where derision from the environmental status quo was discouraged or ignored. This dated approach resulted in the apparel industry becoming the second largest global polluter behind oil and gas.
We highlighted some of the negative impacts of mainstream textile production during the Re-Spun campaign. However, the more we research, the more we understand the severity of the problem and the need to rethink how we produce and purchase clothes.
Finally caught a break in Rockaway
That problem begins with sourcing virgin materials. Thirty-three percent of all fibers in clothes comes from cotton, an extremely resource intensive plant. Cotton accounts for 25% of global pesticide use, particularly shocking considering that it only takes up 3% of arable land. It is also a very thirsty crop, requiring 2700 liters of water to make one tee.
Once the fabric is created and sold, the environmental impact shifts to post-consumer waste. The average American throws away 80 pounds of textile waste per year. What clothes don’t get directly thrown in the trash might go to thrift stores and charities. But there is far too much supply for these institutions to handle, and they only end up selling 15% of the goods they receive. The rest often get sent to developing countries, where they flood the regional market and choke out local industry. While textile recyclers are doing their best, there is too much waste for them to manage.
Together as an industry, we need to demonstrate the importance of shifting to more sustainable methods of production and less wasteful practices. While Re-Spun is definitely a start for Marine Layer, we’re working on making it a larger part of our business and finding new ways to do more. This means moving from the ‘Land of No’ to the ‘Land of... something more environmentally friendly and less wasteful’. Sounds like Montauk just found themselves a new slogan.
Starting the Journey, Closing the Loop
First stop NOLA. Never underestimate the audacity of drivers in this city. No one seems to have a working blinker and cars tend to confuse pedestrians for green lights. I had to learn this the hard way after someone crashed into the hydraulic jacks that lift the mobile store off its trailer.
Thankfully, they only clipped it and sheared one of the pump hoses off. Even more thankfully, the 8,000-pound shipping container-turned-mobile marketing machine didn’t fall from its 5-foot tall stilts and crush anything.
Despite that (and a few other) minor setbacks, New Orleans was a start. The city’s energy, enthusiasm, and lax open container laws made it the perfect place to announce that for the next 4 months, ML is going on tour!
This is uncharted waters for us. Our first Re-Spun product launch, first mobile store, and first nation-wide tour. Re-Spun has also become a first in the industry. No other brand has created new tees from the fibers of old ones.
While sustainable apparel is making headway to replace fast fashion, truly sustainable production comes from closing the manufacturing loop and shifting to a circular economy. This means re-learning our perception of waste and seeing it as a resource instead of a byproduct. We must take the tri-fold step from doing harm to doing less harm— to manufacturing products with the intention of enriching ecosystems and making the world a cleaner, safer place.
This concept has faced a slow uptake, but the apparel industry is changing. While we are still doing harm, Re-Spun gives Marine Layer the unique opportunity to spearhead that change within our industry. We can motivate ourselves and others to not only clean up the production line but clean up the planet while producing our product.
Pioneering Re-Spun has taken a tremendous amount of effort. Keeping it alive requires a huge amount of participation. That’s why we’re going city to city — getting people involved at the grassroots level — and drumming up excitement about what we think is the next frontier of sustainable fashion.
Hopefully, in the process, we can make waves into the circular economy while also successfully circling back to SF. Only 10,000 miles to go.