Mike McQueeny, president and CEO of Headweats, is reassessing his entire approach to providing performance wear. CO YOGA + Life® Magazine got a behind-the-scenes look at what “going green” really requires of the performance headwear and apparel company.
What is Headsweats’ overall mission?
Since the beginning, we’ve made it our mission to provide high-quality performance headwear and apparel to help all athletes perform at their best and keep a cool head and a cool body! We care deeply about our planet and implement on-going sustainable enhancements to provide unique and custom eco-friendly performance products.
Can you tell us about your new line of performance gear made of recycled plastic water bottles?
Our REPREVE line is the most exciting launch Headsweats has had in 20 years. Headsweats has partnered with Unifi to utilize its REPREVE fiber, which is the result of reusing 16 billion plastic bottles to date. The bottles are cleaned, broken down and processed into a moisture-wicking, quick-drying, temperature-regulating, odor-controlling comfortable and lightweight fabric. Our current collection includes cycling caps, hats, headbands and technical long and short-sleeved shirts. We had the idea to display the number of bottles used to make the shirt prominently on the back of the shirts to specify and animate each shirt’s impact. This detail has been one of the most successful elements of the shirt, as it translates a large-scale effort into a personal, tangible reminder of the impact that the shirt on your back has had.
How did your visit to the Headsweats REPREVE factory in El Salvador inspire your sustainability efforts back in Boulder? Please describe the visit and list what changes have been implemented since.
Touring the extraordinary facility, connecting with employees and experiencing the production of our products first-hand gave life to our deeply held values. Seeing everything in person confirmed that our sustainability efforts are being made from the ground up. At this time, Headsweats only sells REPREVE-made apparel items at headsweats.com if the fabric is available.
The current changes and upgrades already in place include:
- Solar energy panels
- An advanced water recycling process that transforms unsafe water into clean, drinkable water
- Energy neutral biofuel
- Best-in-class and 100 percent vertically integrated manufacturing facility
- Soon to be implemented: Biomass energy production, which involve recycle machines that allow the regeneration of textile wastes
We are also very excited to continue developing new styles of headwear and apparel made from REPREVE fabric.
What does “going green” mean for Headsweats?
First and foremost, we are committed to being a sustainably responsible company. Going green is an on-going and systematic approach to more eco-friendly practices. We are proud to go the distance for a better planet by giving new life to recyclables and continue to deliver superior performance headwear and athletic apparel, without sacrificing quality. Visiting El Salvador and witnessing the sustainability practices reinforced Headsweats’ commitment and direction. We are looking at all aspects of the business to see where we can improve and implement more green practices. Launching the REPREVE line is what most customers will see first, but we have a lot going on behind the scenes. We have some exciting additions to the REPREVE line we’ll be announcing this year, including both headwear and apparel.
Photos courtesy of Headsweats and Veronica Jones.