UNLESS is striving to be a regenerative force for good in the world. We are a collective of innovators, engineers, artists, and activists creating the first streetwear brand whose products leave zero plastic waste at the end of life.
Bad news: 60% of clothes are made of plastic. Since plastics don’t biodegrade, they end up in landfills, in our oceans, in our food, and even in our bodies. Good news: We take on the problem of plastic waste with a regenerative creation process that challenges the way footwear, apparel, and accessories are designed, distributed, collected, and safely returned to the earth. Our first collection is 100% plant-based, which means zero plastic, allowing our products to harmlessly decompose at the end of life. We are constantly exploring end-of-life strategies such as repair and re-use, recycling, and composting, but if one of our products does end up buried in your backyard, don’t sweat it. It will decompose naturally.
The fashion industry is reliant on petrochemical based materials, better known as plastics (and not the ones who wear pink on Wednesdays.) These materials are derived from crude oil and are in the majority of clothing and shoes made today. Spandex, polyester, nylon, acrylic: it’s all plastic, and plastics don’t biodegrade. Even recycled plastics become unusable, ultimately put in the ground where they can leach toxic chemicals, or microplastic its way into our food. Plastic waste is also often incinerated, which emits harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere. UNLESS is creating a better way by using materials that create zero plastic waste at the end of a product’s well-loved life.
“Bury me in this shirt” takes a whole different meaning with our clothes. Inspired by our home in the Pacific Northwest, and influenced by the utility and style of skate, outdoor, cold-water surf, and work wear. UNLESS creates streetwear built from the elements, to be worn in the elements, that can be safely returned to the elements. Today, all of our products are made from nothing but plants, but we are working with fellow changemakers to develop innovative material solutions that will not only bring uncompromising style and comfort, but will also always decompose at the end of life. Here’s to a zero plastic waste footprint.
“Don’t feel bad” is our promise that you don’t have to compromise your values to look good. All UNLESS products are designed to decompose at the end of life, leaving zero plastic waste behind.
Today, all UNLESS products are made from natural materials that grew from the earth, and that can return to the earth, leaving (say it with us folx) zero plastic waste behind! Many of the materials we use are familiar, like cotton, while others are kinda nutty. Literally - we do use nuts. With each product drop, we will provide a fully transparent list of ingredients including thread, trims, embellishments, dyes and inks.
Decomposition is the natural breaking down of organic material into smaller bits. When plants die, they decompose, naturally returning to the earth and re-invigorating the soil for new growth. That’s why you don’t have to feel bad if any UNLESS product accidentally finds its way into the trash. Composting speeds up the decomposition process in a controlled environment. For products that can’t be readily repaired, resold, or recycled at the end of life, we’re exploring composting solutions. Using naturally generated heat, pressure, and oxygen to accelerate decomposition in a naturally occurring biological environment. All natural, baby.
All UNLESS products are tested against the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) restricted substances list. All of our water-based dyes and inks are both solvent-free and plastisol-free, which means they’re eco-friendly. Since there isn’t a lot of test data available, we took matters into our own hands and are testing to see how our inks and dyes decompose at the end of life. We will also provide complete transparency about the chemicals that our partners are using to dye, print, and finish our textiles. As we make progress, we will be transparent about these efforts, the challenges we face, and the successes we have. At Unless, our graphics and prints are critical components of our product and we are working to use the best available print technologies and working to ensure that they will compost harmlessly at the end of their useful life. We never use PVCs or Plastisol Inks and we work to minimize any solvents, synthetic polymer binders, formaldehyde or other toxic chemicals in our printing inks. Unfortunately today, there are not many options available, and we are constantly looking to find and use more sustainable printing technologies. We use 3 main printing processes: 1. Silk Screen Printing with Water Based Inks. 2. Discharge Printing with Water Based Inks. 3. Direct to Garment (DTG) Digital Printing with Water Based Inks without Pre-Treatment. 4. Direct to Garment (DTG) Digital Printing with Water Based Inks with Pre-Treatment. Water Based Inks use water instead of more aggressive solvents that contain high amounts of VOCs. They do not contain PVCs or Plastisols and use small amounts of synthetic polymer resins to enable bold colors and opaque prints. We are working with our compost experts to ensure that all Unless prints with water based inks will be able to break down harmlessly in compost at their end of life. Discharge Agents remove dye from specific areas of the t-shirt to enable printing with Water Based Inks even on dark t-shirts. Discharge agents have traditionally contained toxic chemicals like chlorine, sodium hydrosulfite, and formaldehyde. We are working with responsible printers to use these safely and working to commercialize better technologies that are free of these toxic chemicals. DTG Digital Printing is the newest textile printing process and uses a large ink-jet printer similar to the one in your home office. Special Water Based Inks are used. Some designs require a "Pre-Treatment" with a PU or Acrylic binder to create an opaque surface and to allow the inks to bind to the fabric. Unless is working to minimize the use of Pre-Treatment Technologies and to identify more sustainable options. We are currently testing all of our printing inks and technologies to ensure that they break down in composting at the end of their useful life.
Yes. UNLESS garments feel different because they are different. We celebrate the art of pre-plastics craftsmanship with elemental design, high-quality materials, and purposeful construction details becoming stylistic hallmarks. Our products get better with wear, developing a memory as they begin to fit uniquely to you and how you wear them. Soulmate material.
Our cotton is pre-shrunk and finished garments are graded to ensure true sizing.
Enter the code on the tag of your item and we’ll guide you through the steps to send us your gear. We’ll make sure it gets resold or renewed as compost to regenerate the earth. Each time you return a product to us, you’ll earn credits towards future drops.
UNLESS is for everyone, and so are our products. We understand that each person identifies in their own way, follows their own style, and has their own preferences for size and fit. We added two sizes on the tag to make it easier to find your fit. They aren’t instructions, but more of a guide to the global standardized sizing systems because we’re not the boss of you and neither are sizing standards.
Our apparel products will ship to you in a recycled paperboard box or envelope that is compostable. Your apparel item is stored in a garment bag which is made from plants and is also compostable. We will continue to innovate our packaging and seek out new solutions as we strive to leave zero plastic waste behind.
Our primary mission is to solve the problem of plastic waste in the fashion industry by focusing our efforts on the end of a product's useful life. Always with that in mind, we make, distribute and take our products back with as light a carbon footprint as is possible. We are also initiating Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) on what we make and how we make it, allowing us to better understand, quantify and minimize our impact.
UNLESS collaborates with unique local talents in selected cities. Together, we produce exclusive limited edition drops, installations, and events, connecting to and amplifying the voices of our creators and the places they call home. Want to know when the next drop is?
Every piece we sell has a 30-day refund or exchange policy. No questions asked.
No, our products are only available online.
They’re coming soon.
Check us out on Instagram and TikTok!
Yes. We feel so good about the factories we work with, we will always tell you who they are.