Image courtesy of Allbirds.

This Sustainable Sneakers Darling Just Moved Into Clothing with Crab Shells

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Crabs have long suffered from bad PR. Their name has become synonymous for being in a bad mood (not to mention concerns of a more delicate nature). And even if you do enjoy the taste of this ocean bottom-feeder, it’s never been afforded the same luxury status as its hard-shelled cousin, the lobster. That is, until now.

Leave it to Allbirds, the innovative sustainable-footwear start-up and darling of Silicon Valley, to find a way to elevate the lowly crab.

The makers of casual merino-wool-and-eucalyptus-fibre sneakers coveted by dads and hipsters alike (plus hipster dads and, curiously, moms, teens, and grandparents, too), has now thrown its hat into the fashion ring with four pieces of clothing—including one made using crabs.

Each of the four pieces—a tee, a cardigan, a pullover sweater, and a puffer coat—is made with sustainably sourced materials such as wool, trees, or discarded crab shells, which hail from our very own Newfoundland.

Image courtesy of Allbirds.

Ironically, discarded crab shells help your clothes to not stink. A naturally derived fibre made from the exoskeleton of crustaceans, chitosan is biodegradable with antibacterial properties that activate when you sweat. It works to keep your clothes fresh the same way extractive materials such as zinc and silver do but without harmful effects. (Silver particles, in contrast, damage the world’s oceans when they invariably rinse off your clothes after approximately 10 rounds in a laundry machine.)

And speaking of laundry, loafers rejoice! Because chitosan keeps your clothes fresher longer, that means fewer trips to the laundry room. Not only do you spend less time doing drudgery, but the world benefits from the positive environmental impact of fewer washes. Few know that laundry creates about 25 per cent of the carbon footprint of clothing due to so much energy use. We really do need to move past the idea that our clothes need cleaning after every wear.

Image courtesy of Allbirds.

With a tee made out of chitosan, you’re not washing as much, so you’re extending the life of your garment, which means fewer trips to clothing stores—and less drain on the planet’s resources.

Meanwhile, the cardigan and pullover hew minimal in design and are made with responsibly sourced ZQ-certified New Zealand merino wool, so these are not the itchy sweaters of your childhood. Allbirds’ merino wool is wrinkle-resistant, odour-resistant, breathable, temperature regulating, and quick drying.

Image courtesy of Allbirds.

And while typical puffer coats are made from oil-derived synthetic fabrics, toxic fluorine-based water repellents, and down fill, Allbirds’ Trino puffer is a merino wool blend with a fluorine-free durable water repellent that keeps you dry and the planet healthy. In lieu of the usual puffer fillers (down or synthetic down), the Trino puffer is filled with Tencel and recycled polyester, as well.

All of this is good news for those of us who have been solidly stuck wearing casual clothes for months on end feeling bad about ourselves. Now, not washing your clothes and staying comfy doesn’t signal the end of the world but actually helps postpone the planet’s collapse.


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October 22, 2020