This week I teamed up with UK based eco-friendly clothing brand Breeze Sup Wear for a chat. I had the pleasure of trying out a few pieces and also caught up with Adrian (one of the founders) about Breeze and the brand’s ethical qualities.
Tell me about Breeze, how did you start out?
Myself and Matt, my business partner, have been best friends since we met back in 2006. Matt owns a stand up paddle board company so we are quite often out on the water together. In 2017 on one of our summer paddles, Matt raised the idea of starting a SUP clothing company.
The more we spoke about the idea the more we realised that there wasn’t a brand out there which concentrated on eco-friendly SUP specific clothing and so we thought we were on to something. I had dabbled in clothing design in the past and Matt had the expertise about the demands of the sport so we decided to start Breeze.
Tell me more about the team…
Me and Matt own the company. We also have some great ambassadors working with us to promote Breeze.
Matt uses his vast knowledge and experience of SUP to gauge what kind of items SUP users need and then does market research to find out if there is a demand for it. I am responsible for all aspects of the clothing; from designing them, to sourcing fabrics and suppliers, and making sure that they are the best quality and of course eco-friendly.
Was being eco-friendly part of your initial concept or did it develop later in the design process?
Whether you’re in the ocean or a loch, you’re passionate about being in beautiful places and so you’re gonna want to look after those places. It didn’t make sense to make products out of stuff that damages the environment. Being eco-friendly was part of our ethos right from the start but it has developed as we have moved along. We have to think about everything, from making sure our packaging is made from recycled materials, our tags and business cards are made from recycled card and we have to ask for our clothing not to be delivered in bags.
Can you explain what being eco-friendly really means and why it’s important?
To me, it means living with intent, which is the intent to be Earth friendly. We all have a responsibility to make sure that the only footprints we leave on this earth can be washed away by the sea. We need to protect our oceans by keeping them clear of plastic, using recycled products and upcycling old things to prevent waste and conserving energy to make sure that we can use sustainable sources instead of robbing the Earth of its precious materials.
If everyone just changes one thing about their life to make it more eco-friendly then we are moving forward. Anything we can do to conserve energy and prevent air and water pollution is fantastic!
Would you agree there’s a lack of awareness?
People have been slow on the up-take. There’s a massive drive behind it now though, especially in young people. For the first time, the younger generation are leading the way with this kind of stuff. I don’t know whether it’s down to social media but they do care more about the world. They are the driving it forward now and it’s up to them to embarrass the older generations who are stuck in their ways. I don’t think you can escape it, it’s great!
What is the manufacturing process for recycling clothes?
Our hoodies, for example, are 70% pre-consumer recycled cotton and 30% post consumer. What they do is get all the scrap waste that is produced when making clothes and mix it with other recycled clothing, then chop it all up really finely. After that, the fibers are so small that they can be reused. Check out their video with Salvage here.
How important is style as a factor when making the clothes?
Paddle Boarding (especially in Scotland) is all about warmth, people are far more fashion conscious in warmer climates. I don’t want to be influenced by other brands, I’m confident in my own designs. Style is important but to me it’s not about keeping up with current trends, it’s about designing things that will match their use, I also want the designs to be unisex. I try to keep the designs simple. Having said that, I do have some wacky designs for leggings.
Do you guys have any plans for expansion (into warmer weather clothing, wet suits, etc.)
We hope to increase our leggings range this year and also have some board shorts for men coming out for the summer. We have started trying to source poncho towels and caps. Wet suits would be great but there are already so many out there that are now being made out of eco materials that we could never catch up, we will let the big companies have that share of the market. We will continue to focus on bringing out quality eco-friendly products and who knows what direction that will take us in.
What’s your most popular product?
Hats and sunglasses, I often joke that we should have just gone in to the hats and sunglasses market as it would have been a lot easier. Our hoodies are very popular too and we expect our new recycled leggings to fly off the shelves.
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