Radmor rages against golf’s fast fashion machine

Golf is a sport of strategic decision-making: conservative course management can dictate a layup or “safe” play on some holes, while on others braving danger can pay off big.

Conscious choices tend to pay off and Seattle-based sustainable golf fashion newcomer Radmor is banking on these conscious choices extending to the very shirts golfers choose to wear on their backs. By designing tops and bottoms that biodegrade or come from a regenerative or recycled resource, Radmor hopes to reduce the environmental impact of the estimated 81 pounds of textile waste the average American throws away each year that is then either burned or found. way to a landfill.

Company founders Scott Morrison and Bob Conrad both played college golf for the University of Washington in the 1990s, the same program that propelled Joel Dahmen and Nick Taylor to PGA Tour stardom. A fashion industry veteran, Morrison has spent the past two decades making waves in the world of denim. He launched a trio of brands: 3 X 1, Earnest Sewing and Denim and Cloth, which he has since left. Meanwhile, Conrad continued his golf career after his stint with the Huskies. He took part in development tours for six years, going up to what was then known as the Nationwide circuit before embarking on a career in commercial real estate sales.

The idea of ​​teaming up with a golf yarn business was originally mooted when the teammates lived in the same dorm, but at the time, it was just a whimsical idea. In early 2020, when Morrison returned to the Pacific Northwest, the wheels started turning.

“We wanted to be something unique, something different. We loved fashion, but in the world of golf we hadn’t seen anyone talk about sustainability, something Scott taught me over the last six years of his denim career,” says Conrad.

“The whole fashion industry, not just premium denim and high fashion, but also Levi’s, Gap’s
GPS
, Banana Republic’s, H&M’s – everybody started really at least talking about their future sustainability commitments and how tough and dirty the apparel industry is,” says Morrison. “Virgin polyester is still the most consumed and used product and material in golf apparel and there was no brand really dedicated to talking about using recycled or biodegradable materials,” adds Morrison.

The duo were surprised that, for the most part, the golf industry has largely avoided having those uncomfortable conversations about the high carbon footprint of petroleum-based virgin fabrics and micro-plastic. Four-way stretch, sweat-wicking polyester and spandex polo shirts are the major offenders dominating the golf apparel market.

Just as the mission-driven brand got the ball rolling, Covid and associated sourcing and supply chain tensions hit hard and Radmor ended up delaying its debut until February 2021, but two years into it. of the game, they have now refined their approach and started to carve out a place for themselves.

Striving to be a better steward of the environment, Radmor is committed to sustainable practices and doing more than just talk. Their garments use natural shell buttons and are made from cellulose fibers such as extra-long Peruvian pima cotton. When using synthetic materials, such as in their rainproof outerwear, recyclable materials are used whenever possible. The philosophy extends to their packaging, choosing to incur the higher expense of shipping their product in reusable polybags and their hangtags and the string that ties them are made from 100% recycled paper.

The vast majority of golf apparel brands that have sprung up over the past couple of years have relied on funky printed designs or streetwear to appeal to the new generation of players who have recently entered the game. Although Radmor also plays for this attractive and up-to-the-minute demographic cohort, they stand out for not being another loud polo brand. Instead, the looks are much more understated and rooted in 1990s nostalgia. Morrison believes their contrarian design aesthetic, the antithesis of what their fast fashion competitors offer, is aimed at those who appreciate the quality that goes into making products that are designed to last a long time and feel confident enough to wear something with a more subtle vibe that doesn’t draw attention to you.

“More than anything else, what we really appreciate is golf apparel that doesn’t necessarily look like golf apparel. Our color palette tends to come from menswear runways and European fashion more than your traditional American brand red, white and blue that the golf industry is quite familiar with,” he says.

“Our shirts, polo shirts, pants and sweatshirts are nearly seasonless. That’s also part of sustainability, creating something high quality that lasts a really long time and they won’t get bored of when the next bright color arrives next season. .Hope our polo shirt can last for years in [our customers’] cupboards,” adds Conrad

Just under half of Radmor’s sales are direct to consumers, with the rest coming from 75 to 100 professional stores across the country as well as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and a few third-party online retailers that also carry the brand.

Radmor hired three full-time salespeople a few months ago to focus on growing their green footprint, which is expected to reach 200-250 accounts by the end of 2023. In the coming months, their collection for women that has just been launched should take center stage. at the next PGA Merchandise Show in January and become a major player in all of their regional markets.

“There really isn’t a brand specific to women’s golf that uses natural fibers. Almost all brands are polyester, nylon or synthetic based. So there was no option in the pro shops and we learned that along the way from the various buyers,” says Conrad.

Radmor hopes that the mission-driven example they have set will create a sea change within the industry so that brands no longer just pretend to care about sustainable clothing, but decide to make it. a more significant part of their outings.

“I think what you’re really going to start to see is big brands starting to embrace more sustainable practices and materials in their collections,” says Morrison. He hopes that all the practices they have put in place will set a benchmark of what the industry can look like fifteen years from now.

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