by Ásta Karen Helgadóttir
4. minute read.
The Wildness community consists of dedicated Water People and Surfers; people who tend to feel most at home in or close to the ocean. We get antsy when we are away from it for too long or when there haven’t been waves in a while. The beach is where we prefer to spend our time and meet our friends (human or non-human). The ocean is a safe haven for us when we need it, the place we seek out when we either want to challenge ourselves or find peace and quiet immersed in nature.
Therefore, the quest to help protect and clean up the world’s oceans has naturally been at the core of Wildness since the beginning. To us, the ocean’s magic and power seems self-evident, we have felt it and dream to be a part of it most nights when we close our eyes. The world’s scientific community agrees with us and the latest research shows that:
50-80% of the oxygen production on earth comes from the oceans.
Oceans create more oxygen than all the land based plants on earth.
Around 25% of CO2 emissions that human activity generates each year is absorbed by the oceans, slowing down climate change.
Ocean currents distribute heat energy throughout the planet, regulating and stabilising climate patterns.
As the legend David Attenborough has been showing and telling us for years and years, healthy oceans are the foundation for a life sustaining, hospitable planet. However, the human impact on the ocean keeps growing every year, to a staggeringly worrying degree. If we only focus on the plastic pollution, an estimated 640,000 tonnes of abandoned fishing nets are currently in our oceans and 8 million metric tonnes of plastic are entering the ocean annually.
In Iceland and around the world, fishing gear constitutes a significant portion of plastic debris, which often ends up contaminating the marine environment. Approximately 10% of global marine plastic pollution comes from “ghost gear,” or discarded fishing equipment. These massive knots of woven fibre can remain adrift for substantial amounts of time and are often responsible for the accidental
capture of many types of marine life including whales, seals, fish, birds and turtles. Since plastics are indestructible - they only break down into smaller and smaller particles, never truly disappear - it’s vital that we find ways to reuse them and that any new plastic produced is made to be fully recyclable, because still today not all types of plastic are.
Fortunately, there is a breakthrough regeneration process that is actively helping to reduce and remove the plastic waste from our oceans, while simultaneously offering a very sustainable alternative to resource and energy intensive textile production: Fabric made out of regenerated ocean plastic.
Healthy Seas tackles the ghost fishing phenomenon that is responsible for the
needless death of marine animals and pollution of vital marine ecosystems. Through clean-ups with volunteer divers, they collect waste nets and ensure they become a valuable resource. They currently work with over 200 volunteer divers and 950 fishermen and fish farmers in areas important for biodiversity and tourism, seas that are heavily fished and at the same time hold shipwrecks and other objects where waste fishing nets tend to accumulate.
The Italian based group Aquafil then regenerates the nets recovered by Healthy Seas. Furthermore, they offer an incentive for fishermen to turn in and properly dispose of their worn nets, preventing them from littering the ocean in the first place. Using a cutting-edge regeneration process the nets are broken down, combined with other types of pre- and post-consumer waste and transformed into ECONYL® - an innovative new nylon yarn. Aquafil describes their process as regeneration as opposed to recycling because it’s a closed-loop system, there’s an infinite number of times the nylon can be broken down and re-born into new yarn without any loss of quality. This is why we partnered up with them!
For our next clothing collection we are going to be using ECONYL®, which is fabric made from regenerated abandoned fishing nets. By using fabrics made from regenerated waste materials recovered from nature, we lessen the environmental impact of our business while also cleaning up the oceans that we love so much.
The ECONYL® yarn, which is produced in Italy is shipped to our manufacture in a small mountain village, close to where Filip and Lukas grew up in the Czech Republic. We do our best to limit shipping resources and products across the globe unnecessarily, so the fabric and main clothing production are in neighbouring countries. Working with a scalable family manufacture in one of our home countries since the foundation of Wildness has proven extremely helpful to make challenging products, ranging from hats and hoodies to jackets, exactly custom fit to how we want them.
Most brands manufacturing products are first importing the fabric from overseas or buying it from a local distributor who originally imported it from over seas. This process has a higher carbon footprint than importing finished garments due to the percentage of wasted scrap fabric (inherent to manufacturing apparel) that does not need to be shipped anywhere if the garments are produced in the same location as the fabric. Therefore, Wildness first minimises all shipping to prevent unnecessary emissions, then we offset our remaining import shipments 100% through our contract with Kolviður - a Carbon Fund dedicated to plant trees in Iceland.
Our Organic Cotton Tees and sweatshirts are ethically and sustainably made in Bangladesh. So why Bangladesh you ask? The current reality is that Bangladesh is far ahead of Europe in environmental sustainability initiatives such as clean energy production and organic fabric manufacturing. Bangladesh has the largest off-grid solar power program in the world! We at Wildness choose to make our organic cotton products in Asia (Bangladesh), where the fabric is made from locally grown cotton. This reduces our carbon footprint, while simultaneously supporting manufacturers which support families and female independence.
Everything we make is ethically and sustainably produced, verified by the OEKO-Tex® standard.
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Oceans are the essence of life and we have dedicated Wildness to help it. We at Wildness are confident that people’s awareness and consciousness is shifting and we are committed to the collective effort to change the Earth’s trajectory towards a healthier, more vibrant future. Preserving the Wildness, for “in Wildness is the preservation of the world”