The Afterglow Story
Question: ‘Where can I find a range of truly eco-friendly, sustainably-produced gym and sportswear? Answer: Afterglow.
Like all good ideas, Afterglow – the world’s first fully sustainable sports performance and athleisure clothing brand – was born out of a pressing but totally ignored need.
Why eco-friendly workout clothes?
In mid-2019, avid London gym-goer, runner and sportsman, Afterglow founder Jay Barratt, was looking online for some new training gear.
Like many of us strive to be these days, Jay is eco-conscious, and instead of searching for non-sustainable options, he wanted to see if he could find any sustainable gym clothing that was not only eco-friendly, but also good quality and totally functional.
And he came up empty-handed.
Jay discovered that while a handful of clothing companies can legitimately claim to be eco-friendly, most are not – especially when it comes to gym clothing for men.
Indeed, for the most part, almost all sports and athleisure garments are still manufactured using non-sustainable and environmentally-damaging production methods.
(For more on the destructive nature of the clothing industry, please click here).
While a handful of clothing companies can legitimately claim to be eco-friendly, most are not.
The logical solution
Inspired to find the answer to the question: ‘Where can I find a range of truly eco-friendly, sustainably-produced gym and sports wear? (hint, the answer at the time, was – nowhere, especially for men), Jay set out to create a new brand of sustainable workout, athleisure clothing and accessories, wholly aligned with the concept of the ‘circular economy’.
“I got frustrated not being able to find truly eco-friendly gear for the gym, particularly for guys,” says Jay. “I also became fed up with the apathy of big companies and world leaders promising carbon neutrality and cleaning up their supply chains, but only 10 to 20 years from now. So I set out to prove that it could be done, by a regular person like me – someone with no background in making clothes or fashion, except as an enthusiastic sportsman – in my spare time, right now.”
(For more on the ‘circular economy’, a revolutionary system of eco-friendly manufacture and commerce, click here ).
Search for sustainability
So began Jay’s quest to figure out how to create a uniquely sustainable, end-to-end value chain for his new clothing label, which he called Afterglow.
The brand’s name is inspired by the euphoric buzz created by the release of endorphins after a great workout in the gym or time spent exercising outdoors – as well as the good feeling that comes from reducing your environmental footprint.
“I wanted to demonstrate that you can make top quality sports garments that are technically functional,” Jay explains, “but also look good and feel great. I also wanted to prove it could be designed and made in the UK, and not shipped halfway round the world, spewing out carbon emissions.”
“I wanted to demonstrate that you can make top quality sports garments that are technically functional, but also look good and feel great.” - Afterglow founder, Jay Barratt.
For several months, Jay travelled to international trade shows and visited suppliers and factories in Europe (offsetting his carbon emissions) and the UK, to locate everything he needed for his first range, which was designed in London.
“It took me a long time to find all the right components,” says Jay, “but my belief has always been that if you look hard enough, and you are determined, you can make anything happen.”
(To view Afterglow’s first collection, please click here )
Low impact, high value
As a result of Jay’s uncompromising approach and his determination to create a brand committed to reducing its eco-footprint, and its impact on emissions, every component of every Afterglow garment is recycled, sustainably produced, or is as otherwise eco-friendly as we can possibly make it.
For example, the primary yarn for the fabric used Afterglow’s hoodies, joggers and shorts is made exclusively from excess textile waste and old clothing, which is deposited at collection bins worldwide, and upcycled by Recover in Spain into an incredibly durable eco-friendly yarn.
This yarn is then woven into Afterglow’s innovative, sustainable Diagonal Fleece Fabric in a factory in Portugal that reuses up to 100% of the chemicals used in their production process. The jersey fabric for our t-shirts and tank tops is also made using a similar process, primarily utilising a blend of recycled polyester, as well as organic cotton and elastane.
"Afterglow’s Synapse hoodie jacket for men protects the earth by saving 12 PET bottles, 7 kg of CO2 and 10.55 litres of water in its production."
Every Afterglow zipper and zipper mechanism comprises up to 86% recycled polyester, mostly made from discarded plastic bottles, as well as old fibres and other polyester remnants and yarn waste. Our ‘Natulon’ zips are supplied by reputed global zipper company YKK, and undergo a double layered development system, using both chemical and material recycling.
Afterglow is also proud to introduce an innovative world first: a recycled ink heat pressed logo. Sourced from repurposed pre-production ink waste, our eco-friendly transfers feature a one-of-a-kind ink colour blend, each completely unique to every Afterglow garment.
The knit tape used in Afterglow’s hoodies and t-shirts, as well as the elastic used in our hoodies and gym shorts, is all created from yarn made from recycled PET plastic bottles (RPET).
In addition, the cream colour cord drawstring in our hoodies/joggers is made from organic cotton, features a special type of ‘eco-tip’ produced from recycled plastic, and is attached to the cord with an eco-friendly, non-harmful type of glue.
All of Afterglow’s garments are also completely metal free, as we realised that the supply chain for trims, such as metal eyelets for drawstring cords, cannot be effectively audited for sustainability, nor can they be effectively recycled.
Even all of Afterglow’s swing tags, wash care labels, back neck labels, packaging boxes and bags are produced from recycled products or eco-friendly components, including Repack, a system of reusable packaging created especially for e-commerce.
Every product we make saves the environment across a range of eco-metrics. For example, Afterglow’s Synapse hoodie jacket for men protects the earth by saving 12 PET bottles, 7 kg of CO2 and 10.55 litres of water in its production.
We have also signed up as a member to 1% for the Planet, a global movement inspiring businesses and individuals to support environmental solutions through memberships and everyday actions. As a result, 1% of all Afterglow global sales revenue will go to this worthy cause.
The company also seeks to partner with more like-minded brands and charitable movements in the future.
“I just want people to feel good about the clothes we make,” says Jay,” as well as enjoy their workout sessions, secure in the knowledge they are also making a lasting contribution to the wellbeing of this wonderful planet we all call home.”
If like us, you want to make conscious, environmentally responsible decisions about the products you purchase, join the Afterglow movement, and let’s do good together.
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