Meet the eco-friendly, inclusive activewear brand Girlfriend Collective.
by Leah Abraham
In the age of fast fashion and disposable trends, sourcing out brands that are transparent about their production is as difficult as it is to avoid buying from the high street. However, there are a handful of small but prized brands who have reaped in popularity by doing just that.
Meet the Girlfriend collective - a Seattle based athleisure startup who have been producing upcycled leggings that are fashionable, flattering and wonderfully sustainable. These seamless, non bobble leggings fit true to size, are high performance, and remarkably, sustainable. All of Girlfriend Collective’s activewear have been produced from recycled plastic bottles. By plastic bottles, Girlfriend Collective have forged a partnership with the recycling facility in Taiwan to responsibly source, and ensure that 100% post consumer PET plastic bottles are turned into the high performance polyester used in their range. “After a bunch of science stuff with names like “polymerization” you get a soft yarn that is not only recycled but is not dependent on petroleum for processing and has diverted bottles from the landfill.”
But there is more substance to it than just recycled materials. Girlfriend Collective have sourced a SA8000 certified Knitting Factory to ensure humane and ethical practices are consistent in their production process. SA8000 is a certification for Social Accountability standards, meaning that all workers are treated to a living wage, have healthcare included and follow dedicated values like exercise breaks during the working day. “Cutting and sewing is the most human intensive part of making clothing, with 14 pairs of hands and eyes making each pair of our leggings. We believe they should be taken care of.”
"From fiber to fabric, we need to look at every step and make sure we know its impact.”
The brand highlight’s its commitments to a Slower, sustainable fashion, which starts with standardising eco-friendly manufacturing, and having reusability in mind. “Our fabric is softer and more stable than your standard single-jersey. This process requires time and precision, which means each of our knitting machines can only produce about 100 pairs-worth of fabric in a 24-hour period.”
All of Girlfriend Collective’s Bra and legging items are composed of 79% recycled polyester (or RPET) and 21% spandex. They come in a range of 5- 8 sizes from XXS - XXXL. All their components, from product to packaging, to the pouch carrying the leggings can be recycled or re-used. To guarantee this degree of ethical production, and high end quality, Girlfriend Collective visited and documented both their factory and facility in both Taiwan and Vietnam.
Watch their stories here: