Sportswear brand Houdini wants clothes to be consumers’ “companions” – WWD

Taking a totemic approach to sustainable clothing can strengthen our connection to what was made and why we purchased a product to begin with. Sportswear brand Houdini embraces this concept by designing sustainably, with the intention that products become “lifetime companions” for consumers.

Sportswear for Houdini materializes as simple and elegant, paired with decidedly stylish offerings such as its unisex Puffy Square and unisex Sleepwalker, two insulating skirts, or its après-ski style Activist base layers, designed for the ” everyday activists” – those who practice skiing. , hiking and others.

Houdini focuses on fabric. Eva Karlsson, CEO of Houdini and one of the few female C-suiters leading the male-dominated global outdoor industry, told WWD that 100% of the fabrics used this season are recycled, recyclable, renewable, biodegradable or Bluesign certified. “Each season, Houdini releases a statistical report showing the current status of all of its products with respect to circularity, origin of fabrics and garments, use of certain chemicals and environmental labels,” Karlsson said. .

“Houdini has had a long-standing relationship with Polartec for a number of years,” Karlsson noted, adding that Polartec’s Power Air Light is made from 73% recycled polyester and 27% elastrell-polyester – the “key ingredients” of Houdini’s Mono Air. Collection.

“The Mono Air collection is the perfect example of a completely circular style, made from mono-materials and designed to reduce microfiber shedding by 80%, which means a dramatically reduced risk of microplastic waste ending up in This collection deals with plastic and textile waste on a larger scale and encompasses the best outdoor performance and style,” explained Karlsson.

Other natural fibers include Merino wool and Tencel Lyocell, two fibers that “have many advantages, both in terms of performance and durability,” she said. “As this belief in sustainability is part of Houdini’s DNA, the company is committed to sharing the processes it uses via open sourcing with anyone interested. This initiative aligns with their belief that industry change must happen through cooperation and sharing.

Image courtesy of Houdini.

Part of its differentiation in the segment lies in its rental, reuse and repair services. “Houdini reduces the overall environmental impact of excessive shopping habits by providing alternatives to normal consumption,” Karlsson said. As the brand designs lower-impact products that last longer, Houdini simultaneously offers programs that align with its mission, such as rentals, renting Houdini products online or in-store; Reuse, condition Houdini clothing for resale in stores, its online store or via Instagram, and repair, offering free repairs if a garment breaks before the garment itself wears out.

Embracing the design ethos that Houdini “designs products to be companions for life” is as simple as it sounds, Karlsson told WWD. “Houdini makes clothes that should last a lifetime with timeless designs, colors and durability. The end result is less consumption, which in turn means reduced raw material extraction and carbon emissions.

Its design philosophy is loosely guided by a thoughtful design checklist: Will it last long enough? Is it versatile enough? Will he age gracefully? Is it easy to fix? Is there anything added that is not necessary? Is it durable enough for its rental program? Is there an end of life solution?

Since 2007, the brand has taken back all of its own used clothing and sends it to the appropriate recycling partners – and Houdini aims to have its entire ecosystem circular by 2030. “80% of Houdini products are circular by their design, either made from organic, renewable and compostable/biodegradable organic materials or made from recycled and recyclable synthetic materials,” Karlsson said.

The average garment is used seven to 10 times in the Western world, with 160 times being the global average, but its Power Houdi, on average, is used at least 1,200 times, depending on the brand. “Consumers are beginning to demand transparency from companies in terms of product traceability and environmental impact. [There’s] a consumer movement against fast fashion and overconsumption in general, and we are seeing an increase in consumer demand for fibers and natural materials.

Karlsson also notes that there is “an explosion” of brand and retailer reuse platforms. “Our own reuse platform has the strongest relative growth compared to our other categories.”

Houdini’s short-term goal is to move from an 88% circular product line to a 100% circular product line by 2023, the brand said. “[We want to] continue to share best practices with your colleagues to advocate for meaningful change, engage with consumers so they understand the impact they have on the planet when they continue to buy clothes” , Karlsson told WWD. “Long term, we remain committed to our vision of going beyond zero impact to positively impact the planet and people. Otherwise, why stay in business? »

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