One of the macro-trends in the equestrian fashion industry is a focus towards environmentally friendly, sustainable practices. Equestrians around the world show a real demand for ethically sourced, organic products with transparent supply chains, and modern equestrian fashion is rapidly catching up to this trend. While adapting to new business practices can be a challenge for brands, it also provides exciting opportunities for new, innovative brands looking to differentiate themselves in an evolving market.
We have gathered below a few equestrian brands that are paving the way for a more sustainable future:
The New Horseware Ireland Eco-collection:
Horseware, an Irish equine accessories and clothing brand, recently launched their first eco-friendly collection- using recycled plastic bottles as polyester for their turnout blankets. The used water bottles which go through the breakdown of the plastic into tiny pellets before being melted and spun into fibers threads. This is a great solution to expand the lifespan of the material and prevent plastic from polluting the ocean and landfills. Horseware aims to shifts its business and production model to become a fully circular brand in the upcoming years.
Horseware Ireland product innovation manager, Clare Silke, comments in a recent interview: “The polyester fabric used in this collection is made from recycled plastic bottles. […] We are already on track to save over 1 million plastic bottles from being disposed of into the environment this year.”
The company has also partnered with One Tree Planted in a pledge to plant one tree for every turnout rug sold.
Another big player in the equestrian fashion industry, Equestrian Stockholm, has also adopted new measures to incorporate sustainable fabrics, such as recycled polyester and coffee beans textiles, as part of their collection. Their aim is to create high quality and durable products that their clients can use for many years. While polyester requires a lot of natural resources for its creation, using recycled polyester allows for reduced waste and consumption of materials, and requires less energy and chemicals throughout the manufacturing process. Their riding breeches collection is Bluesign-certified; a guarantee that no harmful chemicals were released in the environment throughout the production cycle.
An Opportunity for New Businesses:
New innovative companies have recently entered the market with a focus on a reduced environmental impact as their main differentiator. While bigger companies may have to rethink their entire supply chain to adopt more sustainable practices, newcomers now offer whole lines of apparel & packaging made entirely from recycled material. Eco Equestrian, a UK-based company, recycles fishing nets and repurposes nylon into top-quality riding tights, while the company Kaia Equine has created an entire collection from recycled water bottles. Honest Riders, a Fair Wear certified company, focuses on transparency and eco-friendly materials, including a plastic-free range of horse care products.
While the general direction of the equestrian fashion industry is evolving towards green business practices, we still have a long way to go before all companies adopt fully sustainable production cycles. Consumers in the community must also do their part to become more conscious of their buying habits- opting for quality and durable products, and avoiding ‘fast fashion’ whenever possible. We look forward to seeing these new practices become the norm for every new product available.