There is a lot of talk right now about sustainability and Kitsbow’s mountain bike clothing is leading the sustainable charge in the small town of Old Fort, NC. From sourcing fabrics to packaging, manufacturing and even how orders are processed no detail is too small to make a difference at Kitsbow. If you’ve been thinking about your impact as a mountain biker on climate change (and we sure hope you have), you need to think about what you wear. Textile waste is no small problem. With the dramatic increase in mountain biking over the past few years there is much to consider when deciding to buy clothing to ride in. Delivering quality sustainable mountain bike clothing to mountain bikers that care about the environment is what Kitsbow is all about.
Where does it all go?
Did you know that US textile waste has grown by 78% (from 2000-2017 latest figures) compared to a <40% growth in plastic waste? In fact, 13 million tons of textiles are burned or placed in landfills every year. A huge problem in this country is the mindset of disposability with regard to clothing. Let’s dig in and consider these bigger questions next time we shop for more sustainable mountain bike clothing.
Questions That Matter:
- Do I really need this/how am I going to use it? Can I use it for multiple purposes or just for a 2-hour ride once a week?
- How long will it last me? Is it quality made in the USA? Does it have a guarantee? Am I still going to like the color, style and fit in a year or 5 years from now?
- What does it actually cost (the earth) to make this and get it to me? Where do all of the components come from and how does the final piece get to me? (These are the hardest questions to answer, but it helps to support a company that cares and makes an effort to do the right things.)
Answers That Make a Difference:
Most great conversations start with difficult questions, right? So, let’s consider the answers that might make a difference. If we all start putting our money where it can make a difference it can transform the way things are done and how others think. Sustainable mountain bike clothing can, indeed, change the world for the better.
Kitsbow follows a circular manufacturing system that makes clothing that follows a loop as opposed to a linear path headed for the landfill. The culture within Kitsbow, whose majority shares are employee-owned, is all about lean manufacturing. That does not mean skimping and saving where they can, in fact creating sustainable mountain bike clothing is not cheap.
How Kitsbow Answers the Questions that Matter:
- Quality -Their durable garments are engineered and tested in Pisgah so you know they will last. One quality Kitsbow shirt can replace many less quality jerseys and also be worn post-ride for dinner. The styling also allows your favorite riding gear to go hiking or to work.
- Made to Order -Using the lean manufacturing model, most of what Kitsbow makes doesn’t sit on the shelf waiting for you to buy it. The garment you buy is created the moment you order it. Doesn’t that make you feel special? This production model means less waste and more flexible offerings. Kitsbow’s signature “Icon Flannel” is aptly named for a reason and offers more than 180 size, color and fit options specially made for YOU!
- Hand sewn in the USA -Making things that last in America means less transport cost, decreasing carbon emissions for the planet to endure.
- Thoughtful Packaging – Kitsbow uses recycled, post-consumer paper/packaging that is printed with vegetable-based ink so you can compost it in your backyard! The worms will thank you and so will your garden.
- Quality Repairs allow for continued use. With a Lifecycle Guarantee and Crash Policy, Kitsbow makes sure anything you shred can endure.
GreenPrint for the Future:
Quality, durable, hand-made, circular design systems with lean manufacturing all mean that Kitsbow is leading the sustainable mountain bike clothing vision. You can feel good about supporting a company that is owned and run by employees who care about the environment. The folks in Old Fort sustain what sustains them thru community and trail advocacy and are on their way to achieving B Corp Status.
Evolution of Nature:
One thing is constant in nature and that is change. All things evolve and adapt based on the pressing requirement of the time. Ours is the future of the planet. As a mountain biker, you might be asking “How can I make a difference?” Money talks and spending yours in a thoughtful way by thinking about sustainable mountain bike clothing sends a loud and clear message to the cycling industry. It says that you care about what you are buying, where it comes from and how it’s made. Kitsbow’s forethought and constant evaluation of how they can do better is easy to support with more meaningful purchases. Sure it might cost more, but in the long run, it will be worth it.