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Merino Movement for Meaningful Change

“We’re trying to be at the very forefront in this evolution of the supply chain and as a consequence create the cleanest and most technically advanced product in the world.” – Icebreaker Founder, Jeremy Moon

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Since our very beginning, Icebreaker has been about nature and sustainability. We fully believe in transparency and our goal is to make products with deep integrity. Our US Headquarters Team in Portland, Oregon recently had the pleasure of sharing this commitment to sustainability with a like-minded group of executives and entrepreneurs from the textile industry who were in town for the First Stop Portland Textile Program hosted by Portland State University and Sustainable Hub.Texbrasil icebreaker (1)

Portland’s First Lady Nancy Hales, wife of Mayor Charlie Hales, is an Icebreaker enthusiast and wanted to share her love of merino wool with program attendees. She hosted the group at Icebreaker’s Portland TouchLab store for a meet-and-greet on November 8th. The night was filled with discussion on the different ways we’ve continue to evolve and improve our products throughout our 20 year history.

Christy Evans, Head of Icebreaker Product Operations, was on hand to share Icebreaker’s dedication to design a sustainable, low-impact, ethical supply chain. She provided the group with a look at our Fall/Winter 2014 collection. This season is a true testament of Icebreaker’s innovation, sustainability and respect for nature, which includes our new MerinoLOFT insulated jackets and hoodies that are made with recycled merino. The idea of the visit was to better understand what are the challenges and also the opportunities that Icebreaker is building internationally using its sustainable DNA. Marcelo Torres, co-founder of Sustainable Hub said, “The Icebreaker visit and discussions were one of the best experiences the group had throughout their week in Portland.”

The night was a huge success – the audience left with a comprehensive understanding of how Icebreaker has continued to make sustainable choices within the textile industry. You can also learn more about Icebreaker’s ethics and supply chain here.

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Icebreaker’s Head of Product Operations, Christy Evans (shown far left), showing attendees our newest product innovations.

 

Incredible Patterns in Nature

With nature as his canvas, Simon Beck creates works of transcendent beauty. Beck is a British nature artist who draws breathtaking artworks in snow and sand. His meticulously patterned tracks are each perfectly timed and designed using not much more than a compass, grid paper, and either snowshoes or a rake.

“I love creating art, engraving it into nature and sharing it with people” – Simon Beck

Respect Nature.
Simon is the first partner in Icebreaker’s #ArtOfNature seasonal collaboration with artists who respect nature, work in nature, and use objects found in nature. Beck’s intricate, gigantic, awe-inspiring snow and sand drawings have been captured as designs on Icebreaker merino wool to symbolize our commitment to the environment and to helping solve climate change. A portion of the proceeds from the collection will also be donated to Protect Our Winters, an environmental non-profit group dedicated to raising awareness around the impact of climate change.

Simon Beck mapping design Photo credit: Alex Buschor

Simon Beck mapping design Photo credit: Alex Buschor

 

Work in Nature.
Working for 5-10 hours a day, Beck creates artworks that are typically the size of three soccer fields. The geometric forms range in mathematical patterns and shapes that make stunning designs when viewed from higher levels. Beck starts by measuring outwards from the center of his pieces, forming straight lines by using a compass and walking directly towards a point in the distance. When the primary straight lines and curves have been made, points are measured along them, using pace counting for distance measurement, and the shaded areas are filled in.

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Beck’s incredible snow patterns can take up to three days to complete, and require trudging through up to 25cm of snow in snowshoes. The designs only last a couple of days before fresh snow falls, laying a blank canvas over the finished work. Most of Beck’s designs are created on frozen lakes in Les Arcs, France, where local skiers can spot them from the chairlifts, but can’t ski over them. This Icebreaker-inspired merino ram’s horn was created at Bachalp Lake in the Swiss Alps. More here.

snow art2_simon beck FB page_icebreaker

Beck recently started to explore other landscapes for his art, including sand. He uses a rake to draw the darker shades and, just as with his snow art, the designs exists for a limited time only. Typically as he is putting the finishing touches on an awe-inspiring sand artwork, it’s washed away by the tide. Last week, Beck spent nearly six hours on the beaches of Maori Bay raking out this brilliant rosette for our #‎ArtOfNature‬ Collection.‬

 

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Photos: Rafael Bonatto.

Check out the designs and shop the Simon Beck collection.

Highs and Lows: UTMB Post Race

Read Sydney’s previous entry: Preparing for the Race Ahead.

“The blisters are gone.  The swelling has subsided.  The chaffing has healed.  Yet the race still feels like yesterday. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever set out to do, and equally, the most beautiful and fulfilling. At 5:30 pm (Chamonix time) on August 29, in a downpour of rain, the gun went off and Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) began.

Darkness set in about 3 hours in, and I welcomed it.  Seeing how steep and long the climbs and descents were in daylight was pretty daunting, especially when I had 90 more miles to cover. I ran into my friend Jason at about mile 27 or so, and we spent roughly the next five hours together on long climb to Bonhomme.  Around mile 45, the sun started coming up on the descent to Courmayeur, Italy.  The view was tremendous.  That descent was one of the steepest I’ve ever experienced  ̶  I had zero snap in my legs, and was feeling a little low.  This was until I saw my crew  ̶  my mom, fiancé and friends were there to greet me. I left feeling uplifted and ready for the climb ahead. Syndey_UTMB Post Race_Icebreaker

Having been through 8 hours of rain, my feet were a wreck.  My skin started separating from my feet, sticking to my socks. Thank God Icebreaker socks dry so quickly; it could have been a lot worse.  By mile 70, I realized that investing 30 minutes in the med tent to have all my blisters lanced and taped would be the best thing for me. No French was needed in that med tent; I pulled off my shoes and socks, and those med tent volunteers knew my feet were in trouble.  Before I knew it, I was having things cut open and injected into, and taped up.  Then socks went back on, shoes were laced, and off I went.

Leaving Champex, the last 3 climbs and descents of the race were ahead of me. Descending was as painful (if not more so) than climbing, especially at this point in the race.  Night came again, and it got cold. This was the first time I’d ever run through two nights. It was the first time I’d been awake for 40+ hours, the first time I’d done a 100 mile race with no pacer.  I felt nervous.  Those last 3 climbs were crushing, the last one in particular.  Not just because it was at mile 93, but because it was so incredibly steep, foggy, misty, and we had to use our hands on the rocks to just get up the climb. I remember sitting down on a rock to choke down one more PayDay candy bar, my mouth so dry that with every chew, dry peanuts crumbled out of my mouth.  Finally it was time to descend.  The last 7k of the race was straight down a very rugged trail into Chamonix.  I was in no shape to run at that point, I was just trying to power walk without further aggravating the all-over chafe.  With about 3k to go, I could hear and see the town.  Finally, I saw my mom standing at the bottom of one of the descents, and I knew I couldn’t be too far from the end.  My fiancé, Michael, accompanied me on the last K (see pic above).

Thank you to you all who followed along, and cheered from afar.  If you’ve ever considered a trail race of any distance, give it a go.  You’ll find the friendliest, most compassionate group of people one could hope for.”

- Sydney Pitt, Icebreaker Account Manager

Have you been up a mountain, down a waterfall, or around the world in your Icebreaker? We’d love to hear from you! Tell us about your Icebreaker adventures and share your views, questions, and suggestions about our gear. Email us now at sm@icebreaker.com, share on Instagram and Twitter with #ShareYourNature and @Icebreakernz, or simply comment on our posts.Syndey2_UTMB Post Race_Icebreaker