The Girlfriend Collective claim to be earth’s number one fan, and so being eco-friendly is at the top of their priorities as is being transparent and giving their customers as much information about their active wear as possible.
Girlfriend’s range of fitness wear is based on the premise of ethical manufacturing and use of recycled materials. The brand has not compromised on style as their range is beautiful, comes in a stunning colour palette and a variety of shapes and sizes – diversity is one of their key marketing messages. Another key message – that old water bottles and fishing nets look better on their customers than they do clogging landfills and polluting oceans.
Here’s a breakdown of each of their products and how it stacks up:
Compressive Leggings + Bras: Made from 79% recycled polyester (or RPET) and 21% spandex, our leggings are made from 25 recycled post-consumer bottles and our bras are made from 11.
LITE Leggings: Made from recycled fishing nets and other waste using ECONYL® yarn, their LITE fabric is made up of 83% recycled nylon and 17% spandex.
Cupro: Their tees and tanks are 100% cupro, a delicate fiber made from waste the cotton industry leaves behind. The yarn is made in a zero-waste, zero-emission facility in Japan, then constructed at their SA8000-certified factory in Hanoi.
Reusable Pouch: The reusable pouch is made with the same RPET as their bras and leggings.
All synthetic activewear is made from plastic, however Girlfriend make theirs with materials that would otherwise end up in landfill and polluting the earth. It all starts with 100% post-consumer water bottles that have their labels removed, are crushed into billions of miniscule chips, and then washed until they are squeaky clean.
After some scientific polymerization processes, you get a soft, recycled yarn that eliminates the need for petroleum and diverts water bottles from landfills at the same time.
All textiles are made in Girlfriend’s facility in Taiwan that specializes in eco-friendly and high quality textiles, then cut and sewn in their SA8000 certified factory in Hanoi, Vietnam, that guarantees fair wages, sage and healthy conditions and zero forced or child labour.
SA8000 is a social accountability standard and certificate developed by Social Accountability International (SAI). They created this certification to help and protect workers worldwide by providing a standardized guideline to protect the integrity of workers’ conditions and wages. SA8000 overlaps with Fair Trade certification, but while Fair Trade is predominantly used for farming, SA8000 is a certification used in factory conditions.
Girlfriend sell a Wash Bag and a filter to attach to your washing machine at home to prevent teeny tiny microfibers into waterways. Synthetic fabrics shed tiny pieces of plastic called microfibers in the wash. This includes your favourite cosy fleece, swimwear, underwear, and, yep, active wear.
The Wash Bag is made from 100%, it’s made from monofilament similar to fishing line, so it won’t shed in the wash. You place synthetic items in the bag and toss into your washing machine to launder. The Wash Bag is fully recyclable, and it has been designed to last a long, long time – but eventually you can return the bag to Girlfriend to be recycled.
The Washing Machine Filter attaches to your home washing machine to capture these fibre’s before they can enter water streams, keeping microfibers out of the oceans and away from the creatures that inhabit them.
Girlfriend’s filter is made from polypropylene, a heavy duty plastic that is ideal for holding hot liquid (although everyone should be washing their clothes in cold water because it’s better for the planet, right?), and includes a 200 mesh steel filter that can capture particles as small as 72 microns.
To put that into perspective, the leading washing bag and filter systems feature a 160-180 mesh made of plastic and claim a capture rate of between 90 and 99%. Girlfriend are currently in the process of getting their own percentage certified by a third party and will update that information on their website when it’s ready.
Filters exist — but they’re expensive. Girlfriend wanted theirs to be affordable and accessible, something everyone could use with their home machines and install on their own.
Only 1% of all clothing is recycled — let’s do something about that. With Recycle. Reuse. ReGirlfriend., they take your old Girlfriend Collective Compressive leggings, bras, and shorts, and turn them into new clothes that can be worn again and again. It’s new stuff made from old stuff… made from old stuff. Bravo Girlfriend!
There’s more transparency about Girlfriend’s processes so for further information go here.