When slipping on your favourite activewear you hope to feel supported, energised and motivated to achieve your goals. You’ll likely be anticipating (and slightly dreading) that “good” pain too!
Yet a disturbing paradox has emerged in recent years. Activewear – something that is generally considered a gateway to a healthy lifestyle – is now posing a great risk to our health and the environment.
The solution? We caught up with Franziska Mesche, Founder and CEO of sustainable activewear brand Tripulse, to learn about the bold and transformative work she, and the rest of the team, are doing to ensure a better world for people and the planet.
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Sustainability is undoubtedly the lifeblood of Tripulse. As Franziska puts it: “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do and of every decision we make. It’s part of our DNA.”
Much like nature, Tripulse is a thriving ecosystem where everything is connected. The brand advocates a holistic approach where our health and the environment are considered at every step of the process.
“We look at everything from the very design principles of our products, to their entire life cycle, how we pack, ship and deliver our products, to the ethical standards in our supply chain as well as how we tackle climate change,” Franziska tells us. “It also includes the avoidance of harmful substances that could impact people’s and our planet’s health.”
As well as caring deeply about environmental impact, Tripulse “ikigai” is also rooted in community and supporting people to lead healthier and happier lifestyles. Tripulse believes a sound body and mind coupled with a sense of belonging and community is the key to creating positive change. The truth is: we’re stronger together!
Since its inception, Tripulse has hit many impressive milestones. From achieving carbon neutrality to launching its first ZeroWaste initiative and Next Gen Sports Bra (more on that later!) Tripulse is challenging the devastating status quo that permeates the activewear industry in ambitious and revolutionary ways.
And the brand’s earth-loving agenda isn’t over yet. “While we set the bar high from the very beginning and have achieved a lot,” says Franziska. “I believe that sustainability is a journey that will never end and that requires us to constantly stretch our boundaries, to be humble and to constantly learn and improve.”
Why You Should Avoid Synthetic Activewear
Did you know conventional sportswear is often synthetic and made with a cocktail of toxic chemicals?
A study by the Centre for Environmental Health (CEH) found that sports bras – among leggings and other activewear staples – made by top sportswear brands could be exposing individuals to up to 40 times the safe limit of bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting chemical that interferes with the normal functioning of the body including metabolism, growth and development, and reproduction.
Studies show BPA can be absorbed through the skin within a matter of seconds when touching receipt paper. So, what does this mean for our health when intimate clothing like sports bras are commonly used to sweat in and worn for hours at a time? Moreover, polyester and nylon are popular go-to materials for activewear but can cause unpleasant skin rashes, and eye irritations, and often include substances that are known carcinogens.
Synthetic activewear is a large contributor to microplastic pollution with up to 35% of microplastics in oceans originating from synthetic textiles. Microplastics have infiltrated just about every place on earth, including unborn placentas and human breast milk.
We are already seeing the insidious effects of microplastic pollution on marine life. After exposure to microplastics, fish are suffering tissue damage, neurotoxicity, immune disruption and hindrances to growth. Microplastics are also affecting marine reproduction with studies showing a reduction in fertility in oysters and other crustaceans.
Is it possible that what is happening to nature is happening to us too? “WE are nature,” says Franziska. “We need nature, such as clean water, clean air and clean soils in order to be healthy. If nature is hurt, we are hurt. If we ignore that fact, then ultimately our health is also being impacted.”
Tripulse are expert when it comes to utilising sustainable materials. Powered by nature, all of Tripulse’s workout shirts, leggings and sports bras are made from TENCEL™ Lyocell – a lyocell fibre derived from sustainable wood sources. TENCEL™ Lyocell is perfect for activewear as it’s naturally soft, breathable, moisture-wicking and has antibacterial properties.
Tripulse also uses Roica® V550 (a sustainable version of conventional elastane) and ensures all dyes and finishings are free from toxic chemicals. Plus, TENCEL™ Lyocell and Roica® V550 are 100% compostable meaning Tripulse activewear can easily revert back to nature!
Tripulse: Pioneers of a Fairer World
In an increasingly globalised society, exploitation of labour is rife across supply chains – the activewear industry being no exception!
Most popular activewear brands – such as Puma, Adidas and Nike – are products of a burgeoning fast fashion industry that relentlessly violates workers’ rights. And because fast fashion rapidly churns out new trends, we often forget our clothes are made by people rather than machines.
So what’s life like for a person working on these oppressive production lines? Well, the stats aren’t looking good! According to Fashion Checker, 93% of mainstream fashion brands aren’t paying garment workers a living wage. Indeed, what fashion brand CEOs earn in just 4 days equates to the average lifetime salary of a Bangladeshi garment worker. Compounded by the fact that Fashion Revolution warns garments are the “second-highest risk category for modern day slavery”, it’s clear something needs to change.
Championing an ethical supply chain is no small feat; yet, Tripulse continues to fight for a fairer fashion world. “First off, we want to have full transparency into our supply chain, meaning that we know where the different production stages of each product take place and that our suppliers adhere to good labour conditions,” explains Franziska. “99.5% of our supply chain is based in the EU which has by law higher and more regulated and fair labour standards than many Asian countries, for example.”
Tripulse only works with suppliers that have confirmed their compliance with the ILO standards which eliminates forced and child labour and promotes fair and safe working conditions. “Our suppliers and manufacturers in Portugal are GOTS certified which also includes regular third-party audits. For us, cultivating a good and long-term relationship with our suppliers is important so that means we also visit them on average once per year.”
Introducing Tripulse Next Generation Sports Bra (and How To Get Involved!)
For Tripulse, the synthetic status quo that dominates conventional sports bras is unacceptable. Women, quite frankly, deserve more.
“Given that many women nowadays not only work out in sports bras but even wear them for everyday life,” says Franziska. “It’s extra important that they are mindful about what they put on their skin and choose bras that are free from toxins such as BPA.”
And so Franziska and the rest of the Tripulse team produced a revolutionary sports bra that empowers women to work out with conscience and confidence. Co-created with hundreds of women, Tripulse was determined to develop a toxic-free and ethical sports bra that “feels good, looks good and does good.”
“The next gen sports bra is made from a special composition of premium and certified wood fibre TENCEL™ Lyocell which is naturally antibacterial and odour resistant,” explains Franziska. “That means the bra can be used many times before it has to be washed, saving lots of valuable water, energy and making it last longer.”
You can exclusively pre-order the next gen sports bra on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Choose from single, twin and three-pack options and enjoy attractive savings compared to the regular retail price! Plus, you can pre-order earth-loving add-ons to compliment the sports bra such as Tripulse’s popular workout T-shirts and Pro leggings.
“Another way to support the campaign is if people simply spread the word in their networks,” urges Franziska. “Only through the power of community and sharing can we create a real impact and make more people aware of better solutions out there.”
Sustainable Activewear: Things to Consider
We asked Franziska what her top tips are when shopping for sustainable activewear. Here’s what she said:
- Check the label before you purchase your next piece of activewear. “Where is it made? Does the brand share anything about the supply chain? Can you be sure that people along the supply chain did not have to suffer? Certifications such as GOTS and Fairwear can give some evidence for that.”
- Opt for sustainable materials. “Avoid synthetic materials such as polyester next to the skin. Invest in high-quality durable fabrics such as TENCEL™ Lyocell, hemp or recycled and organic cotton. Oeko Tex and bluesign certifications also give additional confidence regarding the avoidance of harmful substances.”
- Consider preloved before buying new. “Second hand can be good as well, but be mindful that preloved clothes often contain synthetics and will also spill microplastics and can leave your skin exposed to harsh substances.”
- Adopt a minimalist mindset. “A general principle is: less is more. Build a minimalist sustainable activewear wardrobe by choosing activewear items made from great performing sustainable materials that are ethically made, that you can use for many different workout forms, that you ideally don’t need to wash after every use, that are timeless and don’t go out of trend after just a few months.”
- “And most importantly – have fun with it! Creating a more sustainable wardrobe should be fun and you’ll learn so much as you go on this journey.”
The prevailing standard for activewear is not good enough. From production lines riddled with human rights violations to synthetic materials loaded with toxic chemicals, most activewear nowadays poses a great risk to our health and the environment.
Using nature, community and fitness as its inspiration, Tripulse is successfully challenging the untenable status quo through its unique holistic approach to sustainability and tenacious commitment to health and wellbeing.
So, if you’re looking to invest in activewear that will give you conscience and confidence, we recommend giving Tripulse a try. Because you, and nature, deserve better!
Shop the Tripulse collection.
Support Tripulse Next Gen Sports Bra Kickstarter Campaign.