The apparel industry is one of the biggest polluters on the planet. According to earth.org, nearly 10 percent of microplastics dispersed in the ocean come from textiles. That’s on top of the 92 million tons of textiles that end up in landfills each year.
Fins Pro Gear, a new outdoor apparel brand based in St. Louis, hopes to curb this alarming trend. “The most gratifying part is consumers’ response to our products, when they see it, feel it, and learn it was made to help the environment,” said co-owner Andrew Rackovan. “We’re hoping to create enough of a shift with people choosing sustainable materials that it causes the apparel industry to rethink fashion waste.”
The Fins lineup currently includes T-shirts (short and long sleeve), hoodies, and hats aimed at eco-friendly comfort and performance. Each product is made from recycled polyester fabric that comes from reclaimed plastic water bottles. To date, the company estimates it has kept 17,000 plastic bottles out of our waters and landfills.
Fins started after Rackovan and fellow co-owners Nick Wymore and Kyle Hylton noticed all the plastics in the water on their annual fishing trips. “We’ve always wanted to go into business together,” said Hylton, “and we’ve been buying fishing apparel for years for our trips, so we feel like we know the market. We thought there was an opportunity to improve on what’s out there and help clean up our waterways and keep the fish healthy.”
The trio researched sustainable materials and ethical processing facilities, and also committed to donating a portion of every sale to 1% for the Planet, an international organization whose members contribute at least one percent of their annual revenue to environmental causes.
Fins products are available for purchase at finsprogear.com. Hylton says the company is working on a women’s and a kid’s line, with the goal of helping everyone enjoy the outdoors while also helping the outdoors. “It’s a legacy we can pass down to our children,” he said.
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain Magazine,