North Face takes the Hyperlocal Challenge

Photo Credit: The North Face

Photo Credit: The North Face

Sometimes we don't realize how many resources are in our own backyard. All we have to do is look. With this in mind, North Face, in partnership with the Sustainable Cotton Project and Fibershed, started the Backyard Project, aiming to design and create a collection from seed to final project within one hundred and fifty miles of its Alameda, California headquarters. The first piece from this collection, which hit stores in December 2014, is the Backyard Hoodie (or Local Hoodie, as some are calling it). Though the yarn for this hoodie had to be spun in the Carolinas rather than California, the amount of local resources that they utilized is impressive. 

In addition to keeping production as local as possible, utilizing the Sustainable Cotton Project's Cleaner Cotton, which is mixed with an heirloom breed of brown cotton, means that thirteen of the most toxic chemicals commonly used on cotton in California aren't used here, reducing chemical use up to seventy three percent. In addition to being mindful of pollutants in production, North Face was also mindful of waste, taking a 'waste-less' design approach and using excess fabric to create pockets and reinforce the hoodie.

Adam Mott, North Face's Director of Sustainability, discusses how impactful this project was in looking at the supply chain a new way: "The way the apparel industry works today, you don't always get these personal connections and these networks, and this new approach, which is really an old approach, just going back to your roots and connecting to the farmers and local artisans and seamstresses and craftspeople is really just a unique way to look at the supply chain and go back to how things were done before."

Watch the video to learn more.

Moral of the Story: Hyperlocal production is still possible. You just have to look in your backyard.