Last updated June 2, 2021
Many of us are taking advantage of the opportunity to wear lounge and active wear while working from home. As a result, sales of luxury stay at home workout gear has surged. While lounging around in our own leggings, we started wondering… how eco friendly is active wear?
Unfortunately, the evidence against our yoga pants is pretty damning. Leggings have been gaining in popularity for years, but the material that stretches (most commonly spandex) is not very sustainable. Spandex is made from petroleum and is energy intensive to make. Our spandex leggings may be on planet earth for the next 1000 years.
Is there an option for more eco friendly comfort? Yes, and it’s Wolven.
The new environmental standard for active wear
You’re likely familiar with successful leggings brands that are size exclusive with little or no commitment to sustainability. Wolven’s founder Kiran Jade set out to create a label that is the antithesis of those brands. It empowers differences – shapes, sizes, cultures, and identities – all as sustainably as possible.
The company’s mission is reflected throughout its website, from the diversity of their models to their sustainability certifications and achievements – bright, comfortable, and very eco friendly. Here’s how they do it…
Loungewear made from…recycled plastic?
When trying on your first pair of Wolven leggings, you may wonder, “What’s this phenomenal t-shirt material”?
It’s recycled plastic bottles! Each pair of leggings is made from 27 of them, combined with sustainably sourced wood pulp.
This resulting soft, flexible material is OKEO-TEX certified, ensuring that not only are the raw materials sustainable, but the process of refining and weaving these materials is, too.
Yoga pants for the planet
Somehow, while maintaining a price point similar to other luxury active wear products, Wolven accomplishes significant environmental goals that the other guys don’t. While some details of Wolven’s climate commitments are not released, the label is certified carbon neutral! They’re also a member of 1% for the planet and have passed the workplace conditions assessment.
Wolven demonstrates that it’s possible to create gotta have ‘em designs while caring for the planet.
Active wear beyond green
Within minutes of visiting the Wolven website we were totally hooked on the mission and designs. But could a legging made from plastic bottles actually feel good? Could they hold up?
We tried out a men’s set and a women’s set to answer our questions. Specifically, my boyfriend tried a pair of classic black joggers and a white t-shirt, and I tried a printed legging and a matching super cool convertible sports bra.
The verdict is that plastic bottles are more comfortable than spandex, and hold up better to wear. On a road trip, we wore them two out of three days… and it should have been three. The material is utterly soft, substantial rather than thin, and fairly wrinkle resistant. Compared to other yoga clothes I wear, I feel drier and more comfortable during and post-workout. My one asterisk is though they’re a body positive brand, you’ll be more comfortable going up a size in the sports bra.
Eco friendly Wolven Care
Once you own one or more pieces of Wolven’s eco friendly active wear, the company has identified additional ways to continue lightening your carbon footprint. All their fabrics are antimicrobial. They’re specifically made to be washed less. You save energy and keep your Wolven’s gear wearable for years longer than if you washed it after every use.
Wolven also offers a microfiber laundry bag. Microfibers are tiny toxic bits of plastic that make their way from the washing machine to rivers and oceans. These microfibers damage ecosystems, working their way up the food chain to fish, larger animals, and even humans. If you think your natural fiber clothes dodge this bullet, think again – the dyes and finishes used on natural fibers can leave behind toxic residue.
Wolven wash bags are designed to catch any microfibers that come off your clothing during the wash cycle. You can then dispose of the fibers in your trash, keeping them out of our water system. Wolven also recommends using liquid detergent to reduce friction in the wash, a point we hadn’t previously considered!
Wolven’s tagline promotes their mission to “make sustainability sexy”. They have truly achieved this with their lighthearted peekaboo prints, fresh colors, and eco friendly mindset.
While it’s always most sustainable to keep wearing the clothes you own, your favorite exercise and active wear will at some point need a refresh. When that happens, Wolven’s got you covered with some great looking, great feeling options.
If ToDey every fashion label committed to sustainability like Wolven has, we’d be on a much cleaner planet. Maybe tomorrow, we will.