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As microplastics are increasingly found even in drinking water, Houdini’s new innovation shed up to 80% less microfibers

Their new type of fleece aims to solve the problem of microfiber shedding from synthetic fibers.

21102019
Interview: Johan Magnusson

Marketing Director Mia Grankvist explains that the Swedish sportswear’s brand is to help people experience our planet with a net positive impact on the environment, by rethinking products and business models. But, she says, they do not just want to prove it can be done, they want to prove it makes business sense.

— Which means that beyond building an organization, we need to build a strong community. As a movement, we don’t look for customers to only buy our products, but rather to invite them to join our cause. Together, we can redefine clothing, consumerism and consumption.

— For us there is no contradiction between sustainability and good business. In a world of mass consumption where quantity and frequency are often prioritized over quality and good design, our design philosophy becomes something radically different. We design every product with the intention of it making a difference for the end user and for the world, now and in the future. And only by setting the example and sharing our work we can lead the way to change. Transparency and the sharing of knowledge, methodology and technologies is essential. Innovation and co-creation across disciplines and in between what would traditionally be called competitors is key.

The brand was founded in 1993 and the garments became an instant success as the rumor spread in the climbing and ski community. A company run by a woman was also something that stood out in the outdoor business that was, and to a great extent still is, run by men. In 2001, the quest to keep the great outdoors great began.

— We decided to couple sophisticated design, performance and comfort with a conscious business model and become part of the solution rather than the problem, no compromises. Our mission is to reconnect humanity with the planet that sustains it. It might seem like a bold goal for one outdoor brand, but we see ourselves as so much more than that. Through our products, experiences and communities we hope to provide a literal connection to nature as well as level the balance between the planet and those out to experience it. By reconnecting people with the planet, we can begin to build a new beautiful future. A future defined by optimism and sustainability, rather than one consumed by the impacts of climate change, says Granqvist, adding,

— Since 2001, we’ve come far in the transformation we envision but as a company we believe we can move beyond zero and become a positive and regenerative force in society and for the planet. It’s our obligation, or we have no business at all.

Their range includes Power Air Houdi, a light, airy and warm insulation jacket, using a special technique preventing it from releasing microplastics.

— It is the result of an innovation project by Houdini and Polartec where the goal was to solve the problem of microfiber shedding from synthetic fleece. The scientific community still don’t know the full consequences of microplastic pollution but it’s a growing problem. Synthetic fabrics is one of many sources of microplastics in our waters and that’s why we decided to do our part to stop it. Power Air is a fabric with a completely new construction. Instead of being exposed, the microfibers that trap air and generate heat are encapsulated in small pockets. This creates a fabric that has the performance benefits of regular fleece but shed up to five times less fibers compared to the best quality fabrics on the market. It’s also primarily made from recycled polyester so besides from preventing plastic waste, it’s actually built from post-consumer plastic, says Granqvist.

Which other men’s products would you like to highlight?

One Parka

— The ultimate way to stay dry in rough weather. One Parka is a circular waterproof and breathable 3-layer shell parka that will keep you sheltered in any weather all year around. A classic, longer parka cut will protect you from any sideways rain- or snowfall. One Parka is made in Mission Hardshell, a waterproof and breathable shell fabric, made in recycled and recyclable polyester. The fabric is incredibly durable and serve you just as well on rainy days in the city as mountain adventures.

Fall In Parka

— It is our circular interpretation of the classic padded parka. What makes it different? We have made it in soft, silent and light fabrics which gives an unmatched sense of comfort. It gives you the sheltered feeling of a classic parka, but is much lighter and softer. We prefer to work with synthetic padding for several reasons but primarily because it performs better in wet conditions and we can avoid the down industry. We don’t want to risk hurting any birds.

Lana shell layer

— Lana is an innovative shell layer made in a densely woven 100% merino wool fabric. No synthetic blends. No plastic coating. Just the pure performance of nature itself. Thanks to the natural fat in wool, lanolin, Lana becomes water resistant without adding any chemicals. Lana is completely circular: wool is a renewable material, and when it’s not blended with synthetics, it’s both recyclable and biodegradable.

Mr Dunfri

— Dunfri is a well-established Houdini classic, used by everyone from mountain guides to management consultants. This insulation jacket is a true chameleon, both in terms of style and functionality. The minimalist looks in combination with cutting edge performance is hard to beat. Ever since the launch in 2008, Dunfri has been a beloved part of our collection, still 100% circular and completely free from feathers.

Earlier this year, the brand introduced their new e-com, with improved possibilities to communicate their thoughts and ideas and how they work with sustainability. Meanwhile, the business is growing.

— We are currently expanding to new markets with our main focus on North America and parts of Europe. We also have a solid presence in Asia, with Japan as our main market, but at the same time expanding to less obvious markets, such as Thailand, says Granqvist, adding,

— Together with our partners we are constantly innovating and re-thinking the outdoor industry, both in terms of products, accessibility and business models. Currently we are working on several exciting projects addressing some of the main issues of the environmental problems created by the textile industry, but we’re also working on projects around circular systems challenging the idea of ownership. We promise to continue to push boundaries and contribute to the development and implementation of sustainable technology. Tirelessly, we will keep working to minimize our negative footprint and move beyond zero towards a regenerative system in symbiosis with nature. And we will never stop having fun, exploring the world around us.

Power Air Houdi is available on Houdini’s e-com, that won the Swedish Design Prize last week, at houdinisportswear.com