Born on a trip in a van around the Tasmanian wilderness, Will & Bear founders Alex and Lauren wanted their social enterprise to inspire a life lived outdoors and a deeper connection with the environment. The Australian headwear label produces ethical and sustainable unisex hats, made from 100% Australian wool by expert milliners in Inner Mongolia. A hat represents adventure, a healthy life outdoors and is an item to last a lifetime. It was also an opportunity for Will & Bear to work on new and innovative manufacturing technologies and materials to help reduce our reliance on new fibres.
To further their passion for helping the environment, Will & Bear teamed up with trees.org, a group fighting the global environmental crisis by planting trees in areas affected by deforestation. For every hat sold, trees.org will plant 10 trees; they’ve already planted 41,680 trees - that’s enough trees to cover 27 football fields!
This dream team continues to challenge the ways in which their business can make a difference, and are currently working on a collection of hats made from up-cycled waste materials to lower our impact on the planet and help promote slow fashion. To support their new ‘Keep it slow’ collection, Will & Bear ran a successful crowdfunding campaign with ING Dreamstarter in late 2017 and raised over $20,000.
This slow range of hats will be designed to leave the most minimal environmental impact possible by reducing reliance on new fibres. Turning materials like paper into straw beach hats, plastic bottles into suede & cotton like fabrics and salvaged wool into warm beanies. These new manufacturing technologies aim top drastically reduce the embodied energy of each hat made.
Alex and Lauren are also looking to integrate more sustainable practices within Will & Bear’s current business model and are actively working towards becoming B-corp certified by 2020.
41,680 trees planted - equivalent of 27 football fields - in just one year of business