Sustainable Style: Redefining Activewear with tentree’s Eco-Fashion Landscape
By Jonny Amon, Calling the Audible
Sustainability has been a hot topic in apparel for a while. Since I can remember, I have seen different ads from sports companies promoting their own environmental projects. Nike launched its first product using recycled polyester at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, well before sustainability trends had gone mainstream. The trend has continued to grow fast, with companies like Adidas making over 11 million pairs of shoes using recycled materials in 2019. Moving forward, it’s clear that the big brands are going to be looking for new ways to incorporate these products.
However, some companies are looking to make sustainability the core tenet of activewear, rather than a sideshow. One of these companies, tentree, looks to address sustainability from a different angle. Tentree, a Vancouver-based company, makes a grandiose promise to its customers – for every piece of clothing that is purchased, the company will plant ten trees somewhere in the world. Between this promise, and the new materials technology being implemented, tentree has an interesting strategy for reaching its sustainability goals.
Creating Lasting Impact: The Significance of Materials
At the heart of tentree’s sustainability journey lies a profound understanding—the significance of materials in shaping not just the life of our sportswear but also the impact on our planet. The brand’s commitment to sourcing the most comfortable and sustainable textiles reflects a holistic approach to sportswear that extends beyond aesthetics.
Materials that Elevate Performance:
Tentree’s ethos revolves around utilizing materials that create a lasting impact on both performance and sustainability. From sports jackets crafted from 99% compostable materials to activewear designed to divert waste from landfills, every product is a testament to the brand’s dedication to the earth without compromising on functionality.
An integral part of tentree’s sustainable strategy is the exclusive use of organic or recycled materials tailored for the active lifestyle. These include lyocell, known for its moisture-wicking properties and eco-friendly production process, as well as organic cotton and recycled polyester. By opting for these materials, tentree actively enhances athletic performance while reducing the environmental footprint.
While 98% of tentree’s products are already eco-friendly, the brand remains at the forefront of innovation in athletic apparel. The commitment to exploring new materials and methods is evident in the incorporation of recycled nylon, cotton, and the use of naturally dyed or undyed fabrics. This forward-thinking approach ensures that tentree’s activewear stays ahead in the sustainability game, constantly evolving to minimize its ecological impact without compromising on athletic excellence.
Tentree understands that transparency is not just a buzzword in sports and activewear; it’s a commitment to accountability and trust. The brand takes significant strides to shed light on the journey of its sports products, from conception to creation.
The tree-planting initiative is the critical inflection point of tentree. Through the company app, active customers can actively track the number of trees being planted, fostering a sense of connection to the environmental impact of their sports gear purchases. The transparency extends beyond numbers, with satellite imagery showcasing the growth of the planted areas—a pivotal step in an industry often clouded by greenwashing.
While these steps help build confidence in consumers, these projects take many years until they reach a point where they have a hugely positive influence. As the number of trees promised to have been planted grows (already over 100M), will tentree be able to verify all of its trees over time, and how will they be able to prevent double counting (potentially from previously planted trees that have already died and need to be replanted?)
Is tentree Truly Paving the Way for a Greener Tomorrow?
Ultimately, tentree’s commitment to sustainable materials and transparency appears to be a mixed bag. Beyond the surface-level allure of stylish and high-performance athletic wear, tentree’s narrative invites scrutiny. Conscious consumers must not only celebrate tentree’s strides but also critically examine whether it truly reshapes the narrative of sports and activewear or if it’s just another player in the crowded field of greenwashing.
As tentree continues to navigate the landscape of sustainable fashion, it becomes crucial for consumers to demand more than eco-friendly rhetoric. The report captures not just a snapshot of tentree’s sustainability efforts but challenges the brand and others to move beyond marketing tactics, ensuring that the promises made are backed by genuine efforts for a truly greener tomorrow.
SportsDay contributor Jonny Amon is a lifelong sports fan from Daytona Beach, Fla. In college at Georgetown University, he wrote about both college and professional sports for the Georgetown Voice, the school newsmagazine. Having recently graduated with a Master’s in sustainability, Jonny is now writing a newsletter about the intersection of sports and climate, looking to highlight the increasing overlap between the two topics.