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About Sustaining Voices

Sourcing Journal’s Sustaining Voices celebrates the efforts the apparel industry is making toward securing a more environmentally responsible future through creative innovations, scalable solutions and forward-thinking initiatives that are spinning intent into action.


Vaude’s Green Shape Core Collection showcases the future of sustainable outdoor gear.

Deep Dive

Vaude is an outdoor-apparel company that bleeds green. Germany’s answer to Patagonia has been working with Bluesign to rein in the environmental impact of its products since 2001. The first company to receive the European Union Eco-Management and Audit Scheme’s seal of approval, it is also one of the few that can declare itself to be carbon neutral.

At the “heart” of Vaude’s sustainable product development is its Green Shape Core Collection, an innovation showcase and proving ground that serves as an “uncompromising and trendsetting tribute” to the brand’s commitment to performance and sustainability.

Returning for the second time this summer, the 14-piece assemblage of clothing, footwear, accessories and gear will comprise 90 percent bio-based, recycled or “pure natural” textiles, including, for the first time anywhere, a fabric made from kapok fibers (also known as Java cotton) and recycled polyester. Vaude will also be introducing a “novel blend” of merino wool and recycled polyamide, a Pertex lining made with recycled polyester, a bio-based nylon derived from castor oil and biodegradable Tencel fleece.

Many of these materials will eventually find their way into the regular rotation, according to Hilke Patzwall, senior corporate social responsibility manager at Vaude. All pieces will also boast multiuse capabilities, such as a sleeping bag that doubles as a quilt and poncho so that “less is more.”

“We’ve learned a lot and it’s helped us foster our R&D partnerships,” she said.

In what areas has the fashion industry made the biggest strides in sustainability in the last five years?

“Transparency in the supply chain, but it still needs a lot of work, especially for outdoor functional clothing. We’re also seeing the beginning of eliminating all PFCs.”

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