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Adidas’s ex-brand chief launches fully sustainable streetwear

The man behind adidas’ success is starting a new environmentally conscious clothing concept that hopes to rival streetwear juggernauts Yeezy and Supreme.

You aren’t wrong in thinking that the luxury street style market is oversaturated, but when it comes to shopping sustainably for big name brands, you may be surprised to find that the options become incredibly limited.

Looking to change that is Eric Liedtke, who has worked for adidas since the mid-90s, assuming director positions across various sectors before becoming part of the Executive Board.

In recent months, Liedtke dropped his title at the three stripes to start his own entrepreneurial journey. He is launching a sustainable streetwear label that is completely plant-based.

Drawing on his experience at adidas, where he led the company’s strategy on reducing the its environmental impact, Liedtke’s goal is to build a brand from the ground up while committing to a zero-waste and zero-plastic business model.

 

 

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Without compromising on the modern looks we expect from high-end streetwear, the entire line will be made from plastic-free and organic alternatives.

The use of these materials will ensure the clothing decomposes at the end of its wear cycle rather than piling up in landfill for decades with the other 73 percent of our clothes that do.

Already securing seven million dollars in funding, the brand is to be called Unless Collective, with its tagline being ‘Don’t Feel Bad’. The first drop is expected in autumn of this year and includes t-shirts, over shirts, and hoodies.


What’s the problem with streetwear brands?

Supreme boasts a huge cult following within the hype beast community. From clothing to home wear, as well as skateboards and sought-after sneaker collaborations, the brand is known best for its highly exclusive and limited-edition releases.

However, behind the scenes, Supreme has been flagged for being extremely secretive in its production processes. Refusing to budge, it has subsequently been accused of lacking ambition to work towards transparency and sustainable practices.

Fairify reported, ‘there is no sustainability report [available] and the company doesn’t provide any information about its carbon footprint, material origins, or whether human rights and animal welfare are being respected in its supply chain.’

Supreme is not alone in this, either. Off-White, BAPE, and Palace join it on the list of popular brands which provide no clear indications surrounding their production philosophies.

Amidst these allegations, the argument that luxury streetwear is inherently sustainable remains. After all, only a limited number of products are made, at (presumably) the highest quality, and are pretty much guaranteed to sell.

Not only that, but the pieces only go up in value after they drop and can be resold online over and over at a higher profit to the product holder.

While these arguments sort of help to advocate for products that won’t end up thrown out after a few wears, a lack of transparency from these huge brands in areas of textile sourcing, worker rights, means of production, and distribution has left a lot to the imagination, for better or worse.

In a world where consumers’ concern for the story behind their purchases is increasing, one has to wonder how much longer companies can rely on their clean-cut branding and glossy storefronts to gather new customers – especially when it comes to harnessing the attention of Gen-Z.

At the moment, there’s no telling whether eco-friendly Unless Collective will be as successful as Supreme and BAPE. We’ll have to wait for the first drop to find out.

Nevertheless, the brand is born from the expertise of an adidas veteran, made from sustainable materials, and frames itself as guilt-free with a tongue-in-cheek tagline.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Supreme is watching over its shoulder as we speak. Perhaps we should expect a branded wing mirror soon – your competition is never too far behind.

 

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