Editor's Pick Fashion

Editor’s Pick: Allbirds Just Launched Apparel (And It’s Made From Discarded Crustacean Shells!)

Allbirds apparel group photo with models wearing various items

Allbirds first reached cult-like status when it introduced its take on sneakers to the world—that is, environmentally friendly, wool-constructed, minimal kicks that TIME once dubbed “the world’s most comfortable shoe.” Since launching in 2016, the San Francisco-based startup has grown into a billion-dollar company that has managed to grow to staggering heights without compromising its original thesis: to make better products in a better way.

Pioneering material innovation, Allbirds has managed to make shoes out of sugarcane, eucalyptus tree fibers, and recycled plastic bottles, harnessing the power of Mother Nature to create products that are not only responsibly sourced, but also kind to the environment. It’s a part of their ongoing commitment to fight climate change, a mission that they’re so committed to that earlier this year Allbirds became the first fashion brand to label every product it produces with a carbon footprint score to keep themselves accountable—right there, out in the open for everyone to see.

RELATED: Allbirds CEO Joey Zwillinger on Why All Corporations Should Have to Measure Their Carbon 

In the next evolution of their growth and commitment to environmentalism, Allbirds is expanding into apparel in their answer to the fashion industry’s outdated and wasteful practices.

The apparel collection kicks off with four key styles: the TrinoXO Tee ($65), Wool Jumper ($185), Wool Cardi ($200) and Wool Puffer ($340).

Woman wearing Allbirds wool sweater
Photo courtesy of Allbirds
Photo courtesy of Allbirds

Building on their innovative use of sustainable materials, their TrinoXO t-shirt is made from XO, a material naturally-derived from the discarded shells of marine life (cue: mind blown) that also happens to be the second most abundant biopolymer on Earth. Chitosan, a type of fiber found in the shells of crustaceans like lobsters and crabs, has unique properties that allow clothes to stay fresh for longer periods of time without the extractive impact of minerals like Zinc or Silver.

Photo of woman wearing green Allbirds tee shirt
Photo courtesy of Allbirds
Photo of guy wearing Allbirds grey tee shirt
Photo courtesy of Allbirds

The puffer, cardi, and jumper make use of the brand’s love of wool. The former is comprised of a water repellent Merino and Tencel blend exterior (free of fluorine) and filled with Tencel and recycled polyester that will keep you cozy throughout the winter, while the latter two are knit from responsibly-sourced, premium ZQ-certified New Zealand Merino wool.

“What we’ve been able to do is weave our mission right into the product. The materials we’re using help us make a better impact and more differentiated products, hence better business,” says Allbirds CEO Joey Zwillinger. “One of the innovations we launched in our t-shirt is this incredible first-in-the-world innovation where we’ve extracted a byproduct of marine life after crabs are harvested for food and the shells are leftover. We take an extract from that and have worked with partners to put that into a yarn form. It’s an incredible anti-microbial that then allows you to wash it less and reduces odour.”

RELATED: Going Green in the Fashion Industry is the New Black 

Photo of guy wearing Allbirds puffer and white pants
Photo courtesy of Allbirds
closeup of wool fibers
Photo courtesy of Allbirds

The future of fashion, according to Allbirds, is one that not only feels better but also takes accountability for its impact on the environment—it’s about creating apparel with purpose. One that we can all feel and look good in.

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