What a lovely and also very true idea. We are all ‘united by blue’ and by this I mean the sea, the ocean, lakes and rivers. Bodies of water and how we ought to be concerned with their safety and continued existence. As surfers, we rely on the biggest (and best) body, the ocean and its power, we harness and derive stoke from its raw and pure kinetic prowess. Why then should we abuse it or watch it being abused? I am not into ‘tree hugging’ or eco-friendly diets (not to single out anyone) but one cannot ignore the obvious reckless abandon with which we have treated our true source of joy.
Now is a time to give back, to ‘pay our dues’. To stand up and do our thing. The problem is how to do it. There are a veritable plethora of companies, people, causes that promise to single-handedly ‘save the planet and our oceans’. But surprise, surprise, not all of them do. Is it enough to ‘use less’, get a bamboo toothbrush and donate to a charity just to give you that warm ‘fuzzy’ feeling? The answer is no, and especially if you and the ‘wave stoke’ are the best of buddies.
Here in the SB office we are all about four things mainly (not in any order):
- surfing waves
- perving over surfboards
- educating and actioning real eco change.
- retail therapy
United By Blue is a new brand of clothing that ticks numbers 3 and 4. As clothing cannot be surfed or be a surfboard, that’s pretty much all of the others covered. But why are we championing a clothing brand? The answer simply is that these guys have got it all covered. I want to talk about the lengths they have gone to as regards to the environment first. Quality and price later.
Removing stuff that should not be in the ocean
The guys who founded this new(ish) brand decided to be specific about what and how much they would do (in an ecological sense) with each item of clothing they sold. For every item of clothing sold they will remove 1 lb (450g) of trash/rubbish from our oceans and waterways. That might not sound a lot but it all adds up, to date they have removed 1,584,581 lbs (718,753.85 kg) of unwanted debris and that’s all just from people buying their clothes.
Why am I getting giddy about this? Because it shows real action and provides us with a figure. Facts are hard to come by in this eco-friendly world and I for one welcome them. It’s not just about limiting your impact but also about cleaning up our mess. Kudos to them.
The eco-friendliness of their products
‘United by Blue’ use many different fabrics for their clothing and all of them show commitment towards lessening our impact on the environment. From recycled polyester to normally discarded bison hair to hemp and organic cotton. If you are interested in knowing the details and why behind all of their ingredients, check the website out. Needless to say they go into a fair bit of detail about all of these.
We took advantage of a special discount and got a few different items of clothing from ‘United By Blue’. All of the hoodies and sweatshirts are made in Turkey (great for an eco-transport perspective for us who are based in Portugal) and a couple of t-shirts and pairs of socks are made in the US. As far as we can work out, there is no real way of working out what comes from where. Fear not though, in the interests of being anal about this we have reached out to ‘United By Blue’ to ask them the in’s and out’s. Transportation impacts our environment to such a huge extent that it would be remiss of us not to include this important point.
It turns out that most of their garments are made in Turkey and the USA with a small percentage coming out of Asia. IN this day an age with Untied by Blue using such a range of eco friendly materials that are sourced from different locations, we thought this was pretty impressive.
They are a registered B-corp
I am not going to go into this too much but sufficed to say it’s well worth the paper it’s written on. The b-corp stamp means, untied by blue are doing the correct and responsible thing as a company and as regards to the big wide world and its level of healthiness. It is all about putting your money where you mouth is. A self-imposed bunch of promises and rules that make sure we all benefit via a healthy planet to live on, fairness to workers and the correct people being rewarded. If you want to read more about b-corps, here is a link.
How is it to wear?
You may be thinking that I would not be writing this article if I didn’t like the way the garments felt and fit. You would be correct. The fit is sublime, comfortable, durable so far, warm and super soft next to the skin. My wife might say that I am addicted.
Let’s bring this back to surfing for a second. Are they any good for wearing to the waves, the answer of course is yep. Warm, durable, casual and with that eco-friendly vibe and story to brag about to your friends that have various food restrictive diets (not to name any specifically).
Why stop at clothes
These guys are as insatiable as a dog with a bone. Never content to sit still they have developed a range of hand-welded copper goblets, straws that I have been using to drink my beer. Addicted and with delusions of grandeur I call it my ‘grail’ and now find myself baulking at the idea of using a common glass. The straws are cool too, United by Blue tell me that they are their biggest seller which is super awesome for the ‘non-plastic’ minded among us.
There are tons of other things, these guys are into if you like camping, from stoves to sleeping bags.
I will say here and now, I would and may purchase more of the copper drinkware, it’s a new one for me and I love it.
They are not going to be winning any price battles with high street shops like Target or H&M, but saying that, the product is entirely different. The quality is on another level and you, of course, (as we said above) will be actioning environmental cleanups with every purchase.
We are all about surfing here at the Bunker and don’t normally go in for clothes and the fashion side of the industry. We are also aware that as humans have evolved to leave behind natural insulation of widespread body hair, we need clothes, even surfers. So why not choose some that actually, physically help keep the ocean and the stoke we derive from it sparkly and clean.
Why are these eco products so expensive I hear you cry? It’s simple, the industry has not caught up with the idea that we ‘care’ and want to look after the sphere of green and blue we call home. As with anything, the greater the number produced, the cheaper the product becomes. What we need is more people saying no to ‘disposable’ clothes. Don’t buy a cheap shirt for the weekend and throw it. Spend a bit more dosh on something that has been something and will continue to be something.
With the risk of sounding like a bearded (which I am) flipflop wearing tree-hugging hippie with a trendy diet, it is up to us to make the change. Each and everyone of us.
Disclaimer: Under new rules which we think are quite cool, we have to actually tell you how these test items got to us at the Bunker.
After inquiring about them a while ago, United By Blue sent us a few garments and cups, straws from last years (2018) samples, we did not pay for the items. We have tried to be as honest as possible and the company have had no control over what we decided to write. Not one bit, no sir. We like to remain honest, true and untarnished.