Allbirds, the San Francisco-based brand of sustainable footwear, has just released its first athletic apparel range, consisting of five women’s styles and two for men, made from different woven and knitted fabrics that integrate recycled polyester and nylons, Merino wool, eucalyptus tree fiber and Tencel Lyocell.
Consisting of tank tops, T-shirts, shorts and tights for fitness, running and cycling, the series is called “The Natural Run Collection.” Like its future shoe styles, the garments carry Allbirds’ Carbon Footprint labels, which specify the carbon emissions associated with their production. Their footprint ranges from 4.7 to 14.5 kg of CO², which Allbirds pledges to offset.
Allbirds claims that the items leave nothing to be desired in terms of performance, following thousands of hours of testing for breathability, sweat-wicking, quick-drying, and comfort stretch. The company says that the Natural Leggings in its collection are two times more breathable than leading synthetic products on the market.
Allbirds, a B Corp that is reportedly planning to go public soon, first entered the market in 2016 with a plain sneaker made with a wool upper and soles made from sugar cane. It moved into performance a few months ago with a new running shoe resulting from a cooperation with Adidas, which is to be launched soon, as previously reported.
Earlier this summer, the U.S. brand was accused in a New York federal court of greenwashing. According to thefashionlaw, the plaintiffs in the case argue that Allbirds would “not be living up to the claims that it makes in its sustainability-centric marketing, including about the carbon footprint of its products and its ‘sustainable’ and ‘responsible’ manufacturing practices.”
In the U.S., also other brands are facing juridical cases concerning their marketing statements: Canada Goose is currently in the midst of a false advertising suit for misleading consumers about the nature of the trapping methods used for sourcing fur.
As more and more brands are heavily marketing their products with sustainability claims, it becomes more likely that globally, more legal cases will be opened in the future. Also in the EU, a much-debated Taxonomy Regulation is in the pipeline that would determine which financial investments can be labelled as environmentally sustainable, readjusting the cornerstones for legal marketing statements.