Used, 11-year-old Woolpower sweater wins Scandinavian Outdoor Award

Awards for outdoor gear usually go to the highest-performing and most innovative products by brands that are constantly competing to introduce newer, better and more functional products. Until this year, that is. Scandinavian Outdoor Award recently announced its picks for FW 23/24. The overall winner? An 11-year-old zip turtleneck with visible pilling.

Instead of submitting a new product, Woolpower selected a well-worn mid-layer sweater. The Swedish manufacturer of merino base layers and mid-layer garments did so to spotlight the big woolly mammoth in the room: the outdoor industry sells great products, but when it comes to sustainability, customers shouldn't be buying new gear every season.

Scandinavian Outdoor Award's jury agreed, praising Woolpower's bold step in challenging the industry to take responsibility for its environmental impact. The jury emphasized that the brand's 11-year-old sweater still performs to total satisfaction and applauded its Ullfrotté material — which dates back to the 1970s — for its comfort, warmth and durability.

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Woolpower's move echoes Patagonia's famous, full-page Black Friday ad that told customers: "Don't buy this jacket." The ad ran in 2011, the same year the prize-winning mid-layer left its Swedish factory. 

Many consumers are still stuck in the seductive cycle of buying ever more and paying ever less. Case in point? Shein was just anointed 2022's most-Googled fashion brand. But as the climate crisis becomes unavoidable, people are starting to think twice about purchases that once went unquestioned.

Brands need to respond with durable products, guiding consumers towards pieces that last. Or to the ones they already own. As summarized by Woolpower's product engineer Rebecca Josefsson: "With good quality that stands the test of time, the best product is the one you already have in your closet." Time to sacrifice some growth for longevity (and a clear conscience)?

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Liesbeth den Toom

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