Frank & Oak’s latest eco sneakers are 100% recyclable. We chatted with the Head of Impact to learn more about plant-based materials and circular design.
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With advances in technology and new information becoming available on the environmental impacts of fashion production, many brands are seeking out new ways to create sustainably made products. An innovative and sustainable sneaker now on the market is the Court Thousand Fell x Frank And Oak Sneaker. This unique shoe is 100% recyclable and a prime example of circular fashion at work.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Elisabeth de Gramont, Head of Impact at Frank And Oak. Founded in Montreal in 2012, Frank And Oak began as a menswear brand. Throughout the years the brand expanded to womenswear, accessories, and shoes. A large part of the brand’s mission is to seek out new sustainable solutions and limit environmental impact. During our conversation, de Gramont discussed Frank And Oak’s sustainability practices, views on circular fashion, and collaboration with circular footwear brand Thousand Fell that resulted in the fully recyclable Court Sneaker.
What is circular fashion and why is it important?
Frank And Oak is passionate about circularity, which simply put is reducing waste during production and creating a garment with an extended life cycle that includes being recycled, reused, or composted at the end of the garment’s life. The fashion industry’s traditional linear model creates large amounts of waste, while a circular model pays close attention to resources used and the end-of-life of a garment. To learn more about the basics of circular fashion, check out The Wellness Feed’s “What Is Circular Fashion? Will It Change Your Shopping Habits?” article.
Taking a circular approach to fashion
Frank And Oak first embarked on its sustainability journey in 2017, a time when it was still fairly rare for brands to be talking about sustainability. De Gramont explained the team had an aha moment of “We work in the fashion industry. We’re producing these clothes. We’re still small. What can we do to work with our suppliers and choose materials that are going to be better for the environment?” One step in moving towards a more circular approach to fashion for Frank And Oak was selecting better materials. A few notable textiles currently used by the brand include yak wool, SeaCell, and Seawool.
SeaCell is a biodegradable fiber made from cellulose and seaweed, while Seawool is a textile produced from discarded oyster shells in Taiwan. For Frank And Oak, “Our mindset has been very much pioneering and trying to figure out what are the materials that other people don’t know about yet that we can make more popular and introduce our customers to that are better for the environment.”
Joining forces with other sustainable brands
Protecting the environment is a team effort, so naturally Frank And Oak sought out like-minded brands to collaborate with. Frank And Oak joined forces with Thousand Fell to create zero-waste eco sneakers which were released in August of this year. During our conversation, de Gramont noted, “We’re very like-minded brands… Finding a partner who’s really passionate about this idea of circularity was really cool for us.”
The Court Thousand Fell x Frank And Oak Sneaker in Off White is made with high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship to exceed your expectations.
Aloe vera mesh liner. Recycled cushioned rubber insole. Details made from coconut, sugarcane, and palm.
Made with expert craftsmanship in factories that have undergone ethical labor audits.
Designed for optimal comfort and to withstand over 2,400,000 steps.
Once you’re ready for a new pair, just send them back to Thousand Fell who’ll turn them into a new pair.
About this fully recyclable sneaker
Material selection was very important when creating this zero-waste sneaker. Natural rubber, recycled bottles, and even food waste make up this special shoe! Waste such as coconut, sugarcane, and palm were turned into a unique textile to help make the sneaker recyclable. In addition, the soles are made with recycled yoga mats, adding extra comfort.
Other key features of this shoe include its distinctive design, retro feel, and high level of comfort. De Gramont mentioned Frank And Oak wants to “show our customer you can have this cool sneaker that feels good, is a reasonable price, but it’s made fully out of responsible materials.” Consumers do not have to sacrifice style for sustainability, comfort for sustainability, or a reasonable budget for sustainability.
What really sets this sneaker apart, however, is the fact that it is 100% recyclable. This feature, along with the shoe’s recycled and sustainable materials, makes it a game changer when it comes to circular fashion. The shoe is designed to withstand over 2,400,000 steps, but when customers are ready to return the shoe the process is quite simple. Customers simply pull up Thousand Fell’s website, print a return label for recycling, and send the shoe back. After the shoe has been returned, customers receive a shopping credit of $20. Thousand Fell’s recycling system, SuperCircle, ensures no part of the shoe ends up in a landfill. This is a truly circular process, as all parts of the shoe are recycled.
How you can participate in circular fashion
De Gramont also discussed ways in which consumers can participate in circular fashion and be more environmentally conscious shoppers:
- Ask yourself whether or not you’ll wear the item for years to come if you’ll wear it often, and if it actually speaks to you.
- Educate yourself about what it is that’s in your clothes. Looking at what your clothes are made of is important in order to understand whether a garment will biodegrade or not. Complicated blends are tricky, while products with one or two fibers are more easily recyclable.
- Take good care of your clothes. Follow proper washing instructions, mend damaged garments, and properly store your clothes.
- When you’re done with [the garment] try to send it to somewhere where it’s going to be reused or recycled.
- Sell your garments on second-hand websites or give them to friends and family members.
- If you are looking for sustainable and ethical brands to support, remember to check out Frank And Oak and Thousand Fell and their Court Thousand Fell x Frank And Oak Sneaker.