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Eco-conscious/sustainable Ski Clothing...?

TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
OK, who's up for a lively discussion? I came across this article in late Spring, so thought I'd hang onto it until the Forum started picking up again. I think it's an interesting discussion, especially for those of us who try to be environmentally aware and also avoid using fibers that harm animals. Would love to get others' opinions and knowledge esp from the folks who work in the industry.

 

Rainbow Jenny

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Thanks for the article. My 2023 new year resolution was zero purchases any clothing. I was doing well, including borrowing a piece of clothing necessary as “uniform” for 8 hours…until last weekend when I walked into a thrift store in search of a present for a friend who does not buy new clothing. I caved in and spent $12 to buy something for myself.

I also took up clothing repair and mending at my local makerspace, it’s heart-warming to meet like-minded people gathering monthly in a mountain town to fix and repair our gear and clothing.

Will continue my practice and even try out swapping and bartering.

Sadly, I cannot claim to be as environmentally conscious with my ski hoarding behavior.
 

TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
Thanks for the article. My 2023 new year resolution was zero purchases any clothing. I was doing well, including borrowing a piece of clothing necessary as “uniform” for 8 hours…until last weekend when I walked into a thrift store in search of a present for a friend who does not buy new clothing. I caved in and spent $12 to buy something for myself.

I also took up clothing repair and mending at my local makerspace, it’s heart-warming to meet like-minded people gathering monthly in a mountain town to fix and repair our gear and clothing.

Will continue my practice and even try out swapping and bartering.

Sadly, I cannot claim to be as environmentally conscious with my ski hoarding behavior.
That's great that you're helping to repurpose/renew gear and clothing. It always pains me to see perfectly good stuff discarded simply because it no longer fits or has a small, repairable issue. No one's perfect, and every little but counts!
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Great read, and it does not even address the fact that most sheep have to be deskinned while alive to reduce infection risks....another topic entirely.

Will now look into tencel outdoor clothing more. Love it for sheets.

A pitch for my friend who started the NOSO patch company. Quick and easy and cute fixes for small tears in puffy jackets, sleeping bags, tents, etc.... I always bring a few backpacking.
 

TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
Great read, and it does not even address the fact that most sheep have to be deskinned while alive to reduce infection risks....another topic entirely.

Will now look into tencel outdoor clothing more. Love it for sheets.

A pitch for my friend who started the NOSO patch company. Quick and easy and cute fixes for small tears in puffy jackets, sleeping bags, tents, etc.... I always bring a few backpacking.
I know, it's pretty awful what happens to sheep and especially geese (ugh!). I've been looking for Tencel clothing, and haven't really found any yet. Let us know if you find any. So far, I've been trying to stick to the synthetic base layers, although I broke down and bought one Merino top and bottom, since all the warm stuff seems to be hard to find in synthetic -- everyone wants Merino.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
That's great that you're helping to repurpose/renew gear and clothing. It always pains me to see perfectly good stuff discarded simply because it no longer fits or has a small, repairable issue. No one's perfect, and every little but counts!
Talking to the founder of BirdieBlue at Snowbound Expo 2023 was fun. I brought a few old jackets to Boston since I drove. They were past saving. What BirdieBlue does is take old stuff and either donates it to a non-profit that outfits kids for snowsports if something is still usable or makes usable sections out of the material. Each bag is unique as a result. They are made by women in Vermont, who mostly work at home.

BirdieBlue at Snowbound Expo 2023, founder Kate Harvey on the left
Snowbound 2023 - 1.jpeg
 

Christy

Angel Diva
I remember @Analisa telling us that wool is quite treated, which I hadn't known. I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that there are big environmental issues--they are "hoofed locusts" after all and there's going to be environmental issues anytime livestock (whether for cashmere or hamburgers) are involved. I did want to believe for example Icebreaker when they talk about their animal welfare standards and environmental protections though...I wonder if there is any company doing it better than others? But as mentioned just not consuming is going to be the best option. Sigh. I do love wool.

Great read, and it does not even address the fact that most sheep have to be deskinned while alive to reduce infection risks....another topic entirely.

WHAT??
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
@Christy The technical term is Mulesing. Some wool is more humanely farmed and the label applied to those products so people who are in the know can avoid it. The flip side is that the sheep them get infections. Either way the animal suffers. I wear wool some, but some days it just feels so hopeless. Less really is more and tattered and faded gear needs to become a cool and permanent status symbol.
 

TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
Sigh. I do love wool.
I agree -- I've always loved wool for all of its great properties, but then, I used to eat animals, too. The more I learn about how these products are made now, the more disillusioned I become. I guess we're all still thinking about how all of these products used to be made, in bygone days, before we learned how to factory-farm and "process" animals.
 

Rainbow Jenny

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
A pitch for my friend who started the NOSO patch company. Quick and easy and cute fixes for small tears in puffy jackets, sleeping bags, tents, etc.... I always bring a few backpacking.
Cool! Our sewing upcycling expert/coach (who made elaborate costumes for theater then Burning Man for years) at the makerspace loves NOSO patches and shared some with me to repair my cut up Gore-Tex pants from ski edges.
 

TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
Cool! Our sewing upcycling expert/coach (who made elaborate costumes for theater then Burning Man for years) at the makerspace loves NOSO patches and shared some with me to repair my cut up Gore-Tex pants from ski edges.
Just looked up their website -- how cool! Had never heard of them! What a great idea!
 

Christy

Angel Diva
I'd never heard of those either but I've been wondering where people in that Patagonia commercial got the patches they were putting on their coats. Those are great!

@Christy The technical term is Mulesing. Some wool is more humanely farmed and the label applied to those products so people who are in the know can avoid it. The flip side is that the sheep them get infections. Either way the animal suffers. I wear wool some, but some days it just feels so hopeless. Less really is more and tattered and faded gear needs to become a cool and permanent status symbol.

Okay I steeled myself and Googled this and now I get it. I did think you were saying the sheep were skinned alive fully and that's how they are obtaining wool these days. But I see what it is and yes, that is inhumane. It looks like there are companies that are mulesang-free and I was relieved to see my favorites (WoolX and Icebreaker) on the list but it sounds like then they are at risk for infections...which goes back to, anytime you are using animals for profit, it's probably problematic. I don't eat animals either and in general try to be proactive about not causing animals suffering so this is all good to know.
 

jthree

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Mulesing- woah. I had no idea. Just like @TNtoTaos, the more I learn about how factory-farm animals are treated, the less I consume.

On another note, I *just* saw an insta ad for NOSO patches and they look really cool! I think their BF/cyber week sale is still going.
 

TrixieRuby

Certified Ski Diva
Mulesing- woah. I had no idea. Just like @TNtoTaos, the more I learn about how factory-farm animals are treated, the less I consume.

On another note, I *just* saw an insta ad for NOSO patches and they look really cool! I think their BF/cyber week sale is still going.
Here is a website that lists companies that are against mulesing--I hope that means they do not buy wool from farms that practice this procedure. https://www.four-paws.org/campaigns-topics/campaigns/wearitkind/brands-against-mulesing
 

TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
Here is a website that lists companies that are against mulesing--I hope that means they do not buy wool from farms that practice this procedure. https://www.four-paws.org/campaigns-topics/campaigns/wearitkind/brands-against-mulesing
What's really even more disturbing about this is that there are other, humane ways to prevent flystrike, such as full-body dipping of the lambs and sheep, spray-washimg, and use of tea tree oil, which kills 100% of blowfly maggots. So companies that use mulesing are obviously not concerned about the welfare and humane treatment of their lambs. Poor babies!

This is a great website, BTW -- thanks for posting it!
 

geargrrl

Angel Diva
So are you saying that the cost to the environment of using synthetic fabrics is a preferable price to pay for all the grooviness of being comfortable and styling for ski season? Really, if we truly care about this stuff, we give up skiing entirely due to the cost to the planet
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
So are you saying that the cost to the environment of using synthetic fabrics is a preferable price to pay for all the grooviness of being comfortable and styling for ski season? Really, if we truly care about this stuff, we give up skiing entirely due to the cost to the planet
Every choice we make, just being alive, has an impact. Knowledge is helpful in making those daily choices as we may prioritize things differently once we learn something new. I am personally torn on the wool versus synthetics part. No animals are harmed in the immediate, but oil wells and chemical companies from which many synthetics are derived take their toll on the planet and animals too. I live somewhat close to oil fields and simple things like migration routes that are cut off impact deer and grouse tremendously. The micro lint from synthetics is a forever pollutant in our water and air. I worked in animal rights for a couple of years out of college and am always amazed at how brutal the industries can be that we depend on.

I love clothes. I buy a lot of used and a some new. I use NOSO patches. I like to think that I help remind my guests that their fun luxury holiday depends on beautiful natural spaces being preserved, not just for the uber wealthy. I often think that my career is quite awful for the planet. When I was in nursing I was totally disgusted by the amount of waste generated for each of my patients.

I hope we can both care, and learn and continue to live without constant guilt. I think clothes and food fill an emptiness and a dream of something different for some of us. I have a 35 year old sewing machine that I repurpose clothes with a lot. It is both a hobby and a way to assuage my need for clothes to look clean and not too tattered by cutting out the worn parts and replacing with parts of things I seldom wear. Tried not shopping for a year. It was actually quite nice. Middle age weight fluctuations make it harder.
 

SarahXC

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
These totally describe my struggle — yes synthetics with their creation costs and that they down break down and shed into the water with laundering or use natural fibers that will be better for the environment but how many manufacturers create them is really inhumane. I guess just buying less quantity overall and more of it secondhand is how I try to balance my values because I do value having fun sliding in snow also!
 

elemmac

Angel Diva
Thanks for sharing. As depressing as this subject can be, it's a necessary conversation to have, and always good to have self-awareness of our impact.

For those that are looking to be more sustainable, and add brands to their shopping list... I've been following this brand for a while, and finally pulled the trigger on one of their sweaters: Paka.

I love their story of sustainability, locally sourced materials, and the compassion they have for their workers, the alpacas, and the environment.

I just received my sweater today (and one for my husband for a birthday present...shhh :tape:), and first impressions are really good...super soft, looks well made, and has a simple stylish look. I have a feeling I'll be going back to try out their baselayers in the near future.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
I basically buy everything that isn't socks and underwear secondhand. But I agree that as depressing as it is, it's good to have the conversation to make educated decisions at least.

I do travel waaaaay less than I used to out of environmental concerns. But I think it's important to make it not all or nothing. We all have impacts and even a few better decisions make a difference.
 

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