With Earth Day 2023 just around the corner – it is April 22, in case you didn’t know – Running Insight reached out to one of the more eco-aware vendors to run specialty to get a feel for what sustainability can look like for the running community.
That company is Alwrld – pronounced “all-world” – and the apparel brand is certainly one of the leaders in the use of sustainable and biodegradable materials and cutting-edge fabric, packaging and manufacturing technology. Based in Los Angeles, Alwrld assigns a Clean Score to every item created —a calculation achieved by adding the percent of recycled, upcycled, natural or biodegradable materials in the fabric. It currently reports an overall clean score of 85 percent for the current season while some pieces boast a 100 percent Clean Score.
To find out how Alwrld got there and where it is headed – and where it hopes to take running apparel along with it – we spoke with founder, Philip Pavkov for his insights into a more sustainable future.
First, can you provide us with some background on Alwrld – its history, key people, mission, etc.?
Pavkov: Sure, Alwrld is a start-up brand that has set out to change the way people make and buy clothes. We're doing this by building a team that embraces the human spirit of exploration and improvement while adopting sustainable practices and processes. We are based in Los Angeles and sell across the U.S. with plans to expand internationally., Our founders are in LA along with marketing, finance and logistics. Our design team is in New York.
What is your sustainable focus in 2023 and how do you implement that?
We're all about promoting eco-friendly practices in every step of our supply chain, from sourcing to production. We're minimizing waste and using sustainable materials for our products because we're committed to being a truly sustainable brand.
But your brand seems to go well beyond just a sustainability message.
Sustainability is not just about what we do, it's about building a community that shares the same values.
How does that translate for run specialty retailers?
We're working with our retailers to support and create an inclusive community that fosters sustainable habits. We believe that together, we can make a real difference in protecting our planet. That's why this year, our goal is to visit stores and do activation events where we can connect with the owners and staff. We also want to spend time with the local run crews that are connected to these stores, because they play a crucial role in spreading our message about sustainability. We're excited to have these conversations, share ideas, and work together to create a more sustainable future for our running community and beyond.
Then how does that translate into your apparel design and manufacturing?
We're proud to say that every single piece we manufacture has a sustainable story behind it. We're all about designing garments that are not only stylish, but also made from fully sustainable fabrics. We work closely with our manufacturer to ensure that our production runs are limited, so we can minimize waste and make a positive impact on the environment.
And how about on the logistics end of the process?
As a sustainable brand, we're committed to making a difference in every aspect of our business. We take steps to reduce our shipping emissions by optimizing our logistics and using sustainable packaging materials. We also promote responsible merchandising practices, like reducing overstock and encouraging recycling or upcycling of our products. It's all in line with our commitment to sustainability and doing a better job with all people involved and our resources. So, when you wear our garments, you can feel good knowing that you're not only wearing something that’s high quality and style, but you’re also supporting a brand that values sustainability and takes concrete actions to make a positive impact.
What is your message to run retailers about your eco-efforts?
Those retailers that want to win over time will shift to offer customers sustainable options where the customer doesn’t have to trade quality or style for something that’s good for the planet.
So why should run retailers carry sustainable clothes such as yours and how do they spread the message to their customers?
I don’t think the responsibility lies with the stores — it’s up to the brands to create an interest and awareness around brands and help the retail stores build sales. Run specialty retailers should explore carrying our sustainable clothes and offer them to their customers because it allows them to make the shift showing the value they are placing on social responsibility and environmental consciousness.
How do they do that?
By highlighting our eco-friendly products in their store, retailers can inspire their customers to make personal sustainable choices that contribute to changing the apparel industry to a more sustainable process.
Finally, what’s next for Alwrld in your product and sustainability focus?
At Alwrld, our next steps with sustainability focus on continuous innovation in eco-friendly fibers, developing circular economy initiatives, strengthening our supply chain transparency and further engaging with our community to drive positive change towards more sustainable apparel options.