I’ve been talking about my company Ocean SF, a sailing apparel line that has recently launched the first product, a Merino wool sustainable mid layer jacket that retails for $225.00. In doing so, I have realized that many, many people do not understand how wool or any other sustainable product is superior to polyester.
Firstly, I am not someone who seeks out wool products. I am the type of person who drools over quilted $2,700 Chanel handbags. I’m not going to lie, as much as I love sitting on mountain tops and sailing, I also love fashion. I own a Louis Vuitton satchel that I bought in Seattle on my first business trip after graduating from college. It cost $425.00 plus tax. However, I’m proud to say, I used that bag for 10 years, I never bought anything else, and enjoyed the hell out of it, I still have it in my closet. One day, my daughter, Paris showed up in the city using it. As I don’t like to share, I bought her a gorgeous bottle green Dior bag for her 18th birthday. Today, I own five bags, a white Italian Furla, as well as a kelly green Kate Spade bucket bag for the summer, in the winter I use a black Kate Spade satchel and a black woven Bottega Veneta.
So wool, was not necessarily my priority. However, as I started sailing and getting very cold and very wet, it became extremely important to me. Like many adventure seekers, I am good at preparing for the outdoors, I have many jackets and understand the advantages of layering. One day, I was wearing a Gill Foulie jacket and under that a Helly Hansen polyester fleece. I was perfectly comfortable, until I took a wave down the back of my jacket at 8:30 a.m. on a sunny, though not warm, September day in the San Fransisco Bay. At the time, I had no idea I would be shaking and unable to drive when I reached my car 3 hours later. I had spent hours in the wind and cold soaked to the skin. I couldn’t go home just because I was cold. In fact, I was in the middle of the Bay, so I couldn’t go home at all, for any reason.
You see, you can wear wool and get wet without being cold. In the same way you would not wear a cotton tube sock skiing. Skiers and boarders wear wool, or their feet would be frost bitten. Most boots leak. Feet get wet. Cotton is not an option, polyester isn’t even a consideration. All ski socks are made of wool. Why wouldn’t a jacket be made of that as well? The fabric that we use has been custom milled with new technology designed to keep you even warmer than wools of the past, and it uses longer fibers that make it softer. It also has the added benefit of being beautiful.
After I became educated in the pollution caused by polyester fleece – yes, it’s true scientists are finding polyester fleece in the tissue of human cadavers – it became a mission for me to educate others. Washing polyester fleece in your washing machine releases nano-particals into our water systems that supply drinking water. This is not a speculation, but a fact.
I often wonder why anyone would wear polyester for a bike ride? Do you know how many chemicals are used to make a piece of fabric out of polyester, which is petroleum, which is gasoline? The toxins that are absorbed into your bloodstream as you cycle and perspire into this toxic jersey are astronomical. We wonder why there are so many diseases today. The studies have not been done, but it is a foregone conclusion that wearing petroleum next to your skin is not a good idea. Similar to cigarette smoking, by the time the studies are in, it’s too late.
Wool, cotton, linen, cashmere and other natural fibers are non-toxic and non-polluting. They become a part of our ecosystem and absorb back into the ground they came from. They are also breathable and comfortable in addition to being very soft and beautiful.
Need I say more?
Love and blessings to all.