Shoe Maker Allbirds Releases Clothes
Allbirds, creator of the sustainable line of wool footwear, is pushing into the apparel business as it looks for continued success during a year that is hurting a lot of fashion brands and retail brands. Fresh off a large cash infusion, the company is going full steam ahead with new products aimed at its mission of cutting down on environmental waste.
Growing through a pandemic
At the end of September, Allbirds raised $100 million in series E funding led by Franklin Templeton. The round valued the business at $1.7 billion which was only a slight increase from a 2018 round at a $1.4 billion valuation. Allbirds also raised money earlier this year prior to lockdowns.
The business — which was born online and derives a majority of its sales from its online channel — had all of its U.S. stores closed at one point due to quarantines. Although they were still able to keep their retail staff fully paid for four months, they did lose a chunk of sales. (All 22 stores are now open.)
The round from January 2020 was focused on the company’s carbon-cutting measures. Co-founder and co-CEO Tim Brown said “Any brand, no matter the size, can begin making a difference today by measuring and actively reducing their carbon footprint, and paying for its pollution through carbon credits as they trend towards neutral impact.” in a statement at the time.
T-shirts made from crab shells
On Tuesday, Allbirds released a new line of apparel made of earth-conscious materials it prides itself on. The collection includes a t-shirt, jumper, cardigan, and winter jacket.
The TrinoXO™ Tee is priced at $48 and made with things such as crab shells from Canada’s seafood industry, lyocell, and merino wool.
The Wool Jumper is priced at $135 and comprised entirely of merino wool.
The Wool Cardi is priced at $145 and made of merino wool as well.
And the Trino™ Puffer is priced at $250 and made with natural materials like merino wool and lyocell, rather than synthetic ones typically found in outerwear.
This isn’t the brand’s first foray into textiles; in June of this year, Allbirds launched underwear and in August of last year, socks, both using its signature Trino™ blend.
Sustainability as a category
Allbirds is entering a competitive industry: startup NAADAM is popular for its $75 cashmere sweater, almost half the price of Allbirds’ jumper; Everlane’s bestselling t-shirt made with organic cotton comes in at $18; and Patagonia — known for its environmentally-friendly practices — have a range of similar outerwear starting at $199.
CNBC reported that Allbirds’ Brown stated that “The fashion industry doesn’t need another T-shirt unless it’s better.” One of company’s defining characteristics has been its attempt at reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. In May, Allbirds and Adidas announced a collaboration to create a shoe with the lowest-ever carbon footprint. Allbirds also prints the carbon footprint of each item on everything it makes.
As more and more consumers care about their products’ impact on the planet (a new study from Morning Consult showed that 38 percent of Americans stop buying from brands if they found out the brand had been engaging in unethical practices), Allbirds’ leading position in sustainability main convince shoppers to pay a few more dollars for their essential clothing items.