Sustainability: what we’ve done so far and our plans for the future

Sustainability, it’s a word that’s often thrown around all too readily when it comes to the clothing industry. In our view, it’s really not possible to claim to be truly sustainable when producing any new items of clothing. So if you’re trying to be properly sustainable, please consider purchasing second-hand or repaired garments instead of brand new.

That being said, new garments can always be produced in a more planet-friendly way, by using recycled or repurposed fabrics and by making products that are built to last, shifting away from seasonal cycles and the disposable fast-fashion culture that is all too often seen on the high street, and then subsequently (and sadly) in landfills.

Here at bro! we are actively trying to reduce our environmental impact and to be as sustainable as we can be in our manufacturing and distribution processes.

Over the last few years we’ve made some significant changes to the way we work, produce, and distribute to help reduce our impact, which we’d be stoked to share with you, if you have a spare minute or two.


1. BUILT TO LAST PROMISE

Our products are designed and built to last.

However, if for some reason you discover an error or unexpected issue with your product within the first 6 months of purchase, we’ll repair it for you, free of charge!*

Anything outside of that timeframe, just drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do for you. We want your bro! products to keep you stoked for many years, not just months.

*Please note, this applies for manufacturing specific issues only, if you slice up your hoodie with an uber sharp snowboard edge or burn a hole in it, that’s not something that would count as a manufacturing issue and unfortunately cannot be repaired free of charge… We can help you to fix it though!


2. ECO PACKAGING & SINGLE USE PLASTIC REDUCTION

Order distribution to customers:

We stopped using single use plastic mailing bags a long time ago, and we’re still surprised that so many shipping companies and brands continue to use these one-use environmental nightmares!

Any orders placed on our website will be shipped from our UK based fulfilment centre in one of the following (depending on your order size and packaging availability):

– A heavy-duty 2 ply paper mailing bag, 100% recyclable & FSC certified, sealed with paper tape.

– A lovely cardboard box (appropriately sized for the amount of items inside) – 100% recyclable and FSC certified, sealed with paper tape.

– A corn-starch derived eco-mailing bag (in the event that paper bags are not available with our suppliers), 100% recyclable and carbon neutral in production. Self-sealable.

Distribution of our products from our suppliers to us:

Although we have eliminated single use plastics in the shipping of our orders to customers, there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to educating our suppliers to change their processes.

In the garment manufacturing industry, it unfortunately seems to be standard for products to arrive from factories and suppliers individually packaged in single use plastic bags. These bags do serve a purpose, protecting each item from damage and dirt during transit. However, they contribute to a totally crazy amount of single use plastic being generated behind-the-scenes, each and every year.

We’ve been working hard with our suppliers to find alternatives and ways to reduce this unnecessary use of plastic.

Here’s a quick overview of how we’ve improved things so far:


ShredShells & Jackets:

We’ve totally eliminated plastic bags from the supply chain!

All ShredShells and jackets arrive from our factory in recyclable paper bags 🙌



Hoodies & Sweatshirts

Currently, due to the volume of items and different colourways we produce across our range of hoodies & sweaters, we need to have a see-through packaging solution for these items when they are shipped to us from our suppliers. This is so that our fulfilment centre can pick & pack the correct items and get them out to you with no issue or delay.

In 2020, we switched to using biodegradable and recyclable plastic bags (previously just recyclable) for packaging our hoodies & sweaters.

We are now working with our fulfilment partners and suppliers to roll out paper packaging for all of our hoodies & sweaters in Winter 2021.


Headwear

Beanies produced with our UK suppliers arrive free of plastic packaging ✅

Boonies are supplied free of plastic packaging ✅

Beanies produced with our overseas suppliers unfortunately still arrive in plastic bags to avoid any damage or dirt during transit (we had a case of water damage in recent years that ruined a significant part of the batch). These bags are recyclable, but we are currently working to find a solution which will reduce the amount of plastic required and still protect the items during transit.


T-Shirts & Longsleeves:

T-Shirts printed in the UK are packed individually in paper bags ✅

T-Shirts & Longsleeves from our overseas suppliers are packaged in biodegradable plastic bags. We will be switching to paper bags for Autumn/Winter 2021.


3. RECYCLED, ORGANIC AND FRIENDLY FABRICS

Currently we’re trying to manufacture using more recycled, organic or planet friendly fabrics where we can across the collection, with a big target of switching everything to be made from either recycled, organic, or otherwise planet-friendly materials by Winter 2022.*

We already have a few products proudly flying the recycled and organic flag:

Our ShredShell collection features a 95% Recycled Polyester Outer Shell, made from recycled plastic bottles. It’s also coated with an eco-friendly PFC free DWR coating and shipped to you in plastic free packaging!

Our latest t-shirt collection is produced using organic cotton and printed with eco-friendly water-based inks in the UK.

We’ll be transitioning our collection of hoodies & sweatshirts to organic cotton over the course of the next year, and we’re currently prototyping recycled and organic options for our mittens, beanies and boonies.

*We will be switching to recycled or organic fabrics on all products possible, where fabric & manufacturing minimum order quantities allow.


4. THE BRO! REPAIR SHOP

A new service we are pleased to have on offer, and one that makes a huge impact towards reducing unnecessary waste, is our repair shop!

As our manufacturing orders have grown over the last few years, we do unfortunately see a few factory seconds from time-to-time.

Whilst the problems on these garments are not usually massive issues, they’re not something that we would expect you to find on a bro! product.

Rather than letting these perfectly wearable items go to waste, we send them directly to our lovely seamstress Paula (aka. P-Dizzle) down in Devon, who weaves her sewing magic and breathes new life into these garments. But who is this lovely-but-somewhat-mysterious P-Diz? Here’s what she had to say:

P-Dizzle is all about refreshing & repairing shizzle! A one woman sewing army and owner of Mint Vintage. Paula started out buying and selling vintage clothing, which later led onto re-working garments to give them a new lease of life. She’s a big shouter of slow fashion, creativity & all things sustainable. Check her out on insta – @Mrsmintvintage


5. BRO! STREET TEAM

Even though P-Diz is a Jedi with a needle and thread, sometimes we get items that can’t quite be brought back from the brink. For example, those that have been stained or marked during transit or production

But don’t stress my dudes, even for the products that have been hit the hardest, we still do everything we can to find them new homes. 

This is where the bro! street team comes in. These guys take to the streets of Manchester and make sure our products go to the people who need them most, distributing garments directly to local homeless people, or to charities who can make sure that these items go to people in need.

One of the charities the bro! street team have recently visited is the 0161 Community:

The 0161 amazing team have created a community to help support people around Manchester to get the products they need, whether that is food parcels, sanitary products, kids toys, baby items, clothes for adults & children… whatever they can provide for people in need, they donate it for FREE.

Their main ethos is ‘The people save the people’, something that we can all get behind. The 0161 volunteers are doing incredible work, especially towards helping the huge amount of people who have been hit the hardest throughout the pandemic.

So, if you’ve ever returned garments to us and wondered what happens to them from there, please know that they are put to very good use, by either being repaired and given a new lease of life, or by being donated directly to people who need them most ❤️