This British-born skiwear are using their passion for the mountains to fight climate change and transform lives
There is a beautiful juxtaposition at the heart of Planks, the British-born skiwear brand. See, on the one hand they’re all about having fun – the apparel and gear they manufacture is based on decades of experience on the slopes, and it’s designed to help others get the absolute most from their time on the snow. Everything they do has a light-hearted, relaxed vibe to it, and it shows in the gear they produce.
But at the same time, they’re deadly serious about transforming that passion for snowsports into a force for good, through impressive environmental and social initiatives. The headline act is their partnership with REPREVE, a leading light in the new age of sustainable manufacturing – using recycled plastic bottles, they transform plastic waste into performance standard yarns, which brands like Planks use to create apparel. To date, REPREVE have made use of over 13 billion plastic bottles, preventing them from ending up in landfill sites or polluting the ocean. Plus, their technology emits fewer greenhouse gases than manufacturing virgin fibre, helping to conserve water and energy.
Planks have utilised that recycled fabric to create their Yeti range, which boasts some incredible ski jackets and trousers, designed for exploring backcountry alpine snow. That fusion of innovative technology and laidback style has resulted in a seriously impressive collection of skiwear with an environmental footprint that you can be proud to sport.
The REPREVE partnership is only one example of their commitment to becoming a more eco- and socio-friendly brand, though (Planks actually took the bold decision to change factories in order to utilise REPREVE in the first place, too). As well as incorporating Bluesign® approved fabrics into their other ranges, Planks have created #BeMoreFriendly: a wide-ranging project that uses snowsports as a catalyst to protect mountain environments from climate change and aid social causes back in the UK.
#BeMoreFriendly covers a huge range of initiatives, from grassroots efforts that Planks organise themselves to partnerships with charities and organisations working towards the same goals. For the former, Planks arrange a variety of events, from litter picks at the end of the season to bringing avalanche rescue crews into their stores for workshops on mountain safety. Their partners expand on these efforts to safeguard both the pristine mountain slopes and the skiers enjoying them with an exciting mix of initiatives, from POW [Protect Our Winters], founded by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones in ‘07 to combat global warming, to Snow Camp, a charity that helps disadvantaged kids from the UK experience snowsports, to help improve their life skills and opportunities.
One of their most exciting partnerships is with Little Difference, founded by two of Planks’ Ambassadors: Pete Oswald and Sophie Stevens. For every one of their stationary products sold, Little Difference plant a tree to help address global deforestation, which is incredible in its own right but their commitment to reversing climate change goes far beyond this. Pete and Sophie have built a house that’s entirely self-sufficient and doesn’t use any external power. That kind of total dedication mirrors Planks’ own efforts to use their position and audience to improve the world around.
It might seem like a lot of effort for a brand who started out just making ski jackets and, well, it is. It would be far simpler for Planks to just focus on designing new skiwear but they would lose a key part of their identity – it is exactly these efforts to improve the sustainability of their manufacturing, protect the landscape they love and help others enjoy it that makes Planks who they are. That passion for bettering themselves and the environment around them is woven into their apparel (literally in the case of REPREVE’s recycled fabrics) as much as their casual, laidback style.