The Official Clothing Partner of the 36th America’s Cup has made huge strides towards minimising its environmental impact. For North Sails, the chance to be part of sailing’s showcase event is about setting an example.
The America’s Cup has long enjoyed a reputation as a magnet for innovation. In a race notorious for high stakes and deep pockets, designers and engineers regularly turn to solutions years ahead of their time.
North Sails has been a continuous presence in the technology game: making the sails for every winning America’s Cup boat since 1980. But for this 36th edition, the sailing icon is going further by using its clothing division to tackle a much larger challenge – and set an example for the wider sportswear industry.
‘Sustainable Performance’ is the banner North Sails is using to headline its debut capsule for the 36th America’s Cup. It’s a philosophy that sees the label retain its quayside good looks, while taking action on conventional sport fabrics, by replacing them with sustainable alternatives.
For a brand whose reputation was built at sea, it’s only natural that ocean conservation should be central to its ethos. “We are not only duty-bound to ensure we clean up our oceans, we are witness first-hand to the pollution and harm that is being done,” explains North Sails Creative Director, Ben Mears. “We are compelled to change not only our business but also to support and raise awareness of the situation globally.”
Every fabric used in our in-store 36th America’s Cup x North Sails range has been developed to assure performance at minimal cost to the planet. The collection’s flagship Newport Jacket offers 3-layer waterproof and windproof protection via a recycled outer shell and a removable vest filled with recycled polyester. The same Repreve padding brings warmth to garments like the New York Vest, using recycled materials, including plastic bottles, in place of virgin polyester. The recycled, wind- and water-resistant shell fabric used in the San Francisco Jacket is made in a way that reduces the CO2 emissions of conventional production by 75%. Caps, polos and warmwear have all been re-engineered to similar high standards.
For the North Sails design office, the chance to create an official America’s Cup range was an opportunity to demonstrate the progress made since embarking on a new course in 2017. Mears elaborates: “Partnering with the 36th America’s Cup offered a chance to go beyond lifestyle clothing, and focus on a true performance capsule with pioneering technologies that belie their sustainable origins.”
Today, more than 70% of the label’s outerwear is built from recycled materials, and environmentally friendly printing and dyeing techniques play an increasing role. Alongside continual improvements to its processes and supply chains, North Sails pledges 1% of its revenues to marine conservation initiatives via the Ocean Family Foundation.
Minimising waste and confronting existing problems are key to helping protect the oceans for the sailors of tomorrow. North Sails’ commitment is one that deserves its place among the technology and design stories shaping the 36th America’s Cup.