The OCEAN TEE ethos is to share new ideas. By being entirely transparent about everything we do, we hope other businesses will take notice and follow our lead. We also want our customers to feel confident that they are making a purchase that will have the smallest impact possible on the planet. We love our Mako polo, but this step into fashion is not just about a polo shirt!
When I decided to set about designing and manufacturing a polo shirt, the first issue we had to address was how to get the same level of performance golfers are used to without using elastane.
Golfers want garments that stretch and move as they do, but elastane is an entirely synthetic textile. Elastane, like Lycra, is made of a long chain polymer known as polyurethane. The production process is energy-intensive and uses a variety of toxic chemicals that, if not disposed of correctly, can have major environmental impacts. After their useful life garments using elastane are non-biodegradable and cannot be recycled.
Whilst the easy choice would have been to create a non-stretch product, I never want to compromise, so we set about looking for an alternative. Collaboration is key to this emerging market, so as well as doing my own research I reached out to The Sustainable Angle, a not-for-profit organisation based in the UK who support projects with a focus on sustainability. I also spoke to our manufacturing factory Utenos whose entire business ethos is based on sustainable, ethical manufacturing.
That is where we came to learn about “ROICA Eco-Smart”. This is the world’s first range of responsibly made premium stretch yarns. Our unique fabric contains the ROICA V550 yarn which is the only elastane worldwide that is classified as non-eco-toxic, and biodegradable. For us this was a pivotal moment. Not only could OCEAN TEE offer a stretch garment, but we could also get Hohenstein Environmental Compatibility Certification and Cradle to Cradle Innovation Institute GOLD Standard.
In a nutshell, these certifications tell you – the consumer that the entire supply chain has been evaluated for impacts on human and environmental health. And that we have a safe continuous cycle whereby at the end-of-life the product, in our case the Mako polo, smartly breaks down without releasing harmful substances.
With innovations and discoveries being made all the time by individuals who look at the world a little differently there really is no need for manufacturers to compromise. You can still have breathable, stretch fabrics without relying on old fashioned damaging processes and fabrics. I am really proud that we have achieved this with the Mako and I cannot wait for golfers to try it for themselves.