Editor’s Note: This piece was done in conjunction with our partners at Wildsuits.
Based on the central coast of France, Wildsuits began in 2016 when friends Olivier Boileau and Antoine Pouvreau sought to create a wetsuit brand that produced environmentally-friendly suits accessible to all. Their mission continues to evolve, as more environmentally-friendly materials and methods are invented and Wildsuits gets closer to its goal of becoming a completely eco-friendly brand.
Wildsuits recently gave their bestselling 4/3 wetsuit an internal makeover, with a new Wildfleece lining that goes from chest to knees, providing the warmth of a 5/4 with the stretch of a 3/2. This upgrade is no exception to Wildsuits’ eco-friendly mission as the new fleece lining is made from recycled plastic bottles, making use of 45 bottles per suit.
Curious to learn more about what it means to be eco-friendly these days, I caught up with Olivier:
What’s your company’s story? How did you and Antoine start working together?
The Wildsuits adventure started 4 years ago on the Portuguese coastline, in Costa da Caparica, near Lisbon. With Antoine as my associate, we saw that there was an opportunity for us to enter the market with a high quality, eco-friendly wetsuit with a mid-range price.
Tell us about your two slogans, “On the wave, be wild,” and “Out of the wave, behave.” What do they mean to your bran and what do you want them to convey to the customer?
Antoine and I are wild! We are always messing around and we share the same love for the ocean. It was important to us to create a brand that respects the environment and that is in line with who we are and what we care for. That is why we think that whilst you’re surfing, you can get as wild as you want, and forget all your daily problems, but once you’re out of the water you should take care of yourself, others and Mother Earth, therefore, behaving.
Tell us about the materials you use in your wetsuits, why limestone neoprene?
Much like all wetsuits on the market, ours are mainly composed of nylon and neoprene. However, at Wildsuits we use a neoprene that is 70 percent extracted from limestone and 30 percent from used car and truck tires, making it a more eco-friendly option. We have employed plenty of new technologies whilst creating our suits to make them as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible, which you can read about on our website.
What are other ways you’re moving Wildsuits towards becoming more eco-friendly?
We would love to be 100 percent eco-friendly, but it’s just not possible at this moment. However, we’re constantly striving towards it and consistently trying to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. So much so, we have created a full program around it:
• All our shipments are sent in surplus cardboard boxes obtained from local businesses near our warehouses.
• Shipments are CO2 carbon neutral (we compensate the emissions from our transporters).
• The wetsuits never come in a plastic bag.
• If you send us back your old Wildsuit wetsuit, you’ll get $20 off your next suit, and we’ll send the old one to an association that donates them to people in need in the poorest countries in the world. We also work alongside a local artist in Peniche who creates products with second-hand neoprene.
• Wildsuits organizes beach cleaning events and beach education classes in schools to spread awareness to the younger generation about the dangers of plastic pollution and over consumption, and how we can combat it together.
On your website you mention plans to develop a line of clothing and accessories?
We’ve already created a few t-shirts, and new sweatshirts are coming soon. We’re also currently working on developing surf ponchos with an eco-friendly manufacturer in Portugal. All these endeavors are great fun, but our main focus will always be on wetsuits!
Editor’s Note: If you want to learn more about this new eco-friendly wetsuit brand, check out their website at: Wildsuits.eu