The apparel industry has a nasty secret that isn’t so secret – it’s the second-largest polluter in the world, following the oil industry. Water pollution is a big issue, as unregulated textile factories overseas are known for dumping untreated toxic wastewater directly into rivers, harming aquatic life, and the health of local residents. Massive amounts of water is consumed in the dyeing and finishing process for clothing, in addition to the water needed to grow the materials used for producing fabrics used in our clothing.
If you’re concerned about reducing your personal impact, choosing apparel made from fibers that use less water can help, as well as supporting companies that are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact.
Leatt is the latest company in the outdoor space to announce steps to reduce their environment impact. The Leatt 2022 Natural Range makes a shift towards minimizing environmental impact and features apparel with naturally sourced materials. Another major shift is the changes the company has made to move towards biodegradable, plastic-free packaging with soy inks on all of its 2022 products.
When you consider that every item of
cycling apparel you own was shipped to the US in a plastic bag, it adds up.
Previously, polyester was the go-to material for Leatt Jerseys. For 2022, they’ve shifted towards the use of TENCEL™ fabric, a fabric that has been trending for its use with fashion brands seeking to reduce their impact. Tencel is the brand name for a set of fibers called lyocell and modal with some properties similar to rayon, but uses less energy and chemicals to produce, with minimal waste in comparison. It also uses wood from trees in sustainably-harvested forests.
The shift towards Tencel & Coffee
Tencel is classified as a ‘semi-synthetic’. Though it is derived from wood pulp, it is chemically processed in order to woven into yarn. Known for its softness, Tencel doesn’t wrinkle easily, is breathable, and manages moisture to help with temperature regulation. Unlike polyester, Tencel is certified as biodegradable and compostable.
In use, Tencel is often blended with other fibers – in this case, Leatt is utilizing yarn made from recycled coffee grounds. The coffee-based fibers are fast drying and should also add odor-controlling characteristics, which should be a notable improvement over polyester-based fabrics.
Plastic-free Recyclable Packaging
Leatt shorts and pants utilize polyester and nylon fabrics, which due to durability requirements, will be harder to replace. We’re already seeing some brands shift towards utilizing recycled polyester, so that could be a direction the brand goes. For 2022, the packaging has shifted away from plastic bags to plastic-free, recycling packaging, a trend we hope continues throughout the industry.
When you consider the fact that every item of clothing that was made overseas is packed in a plastic bag and stacked in a box to be shipped, this adds up exponentially. We’ve put in our requests for 2022 samples and will report back on what that looks like.
To further reduce impact, consider how long you’ll use it
We’ve always been a fan of the more subdued Leatt color offering, as they age better, and avoid that “racer-guy” look that can become dated quickly. If reducing your personal footprint and impact is a consideration for you, choosing something that can be utilized for several years adds value. (Of course, once your closet already has the basics covered, adding style is key too)
Our personal pick is the MTB Trail Jersey, as it features a more casual, multi-sport aesthetic, which we feel adds value while still being sporty, and can be utilized off the bike, around town, or post-ride hangs.
Bottom line, we’re excited about this new initiative at Leatt and hope to see this trend continue throughout their line and the industry.