PANGAIA: How a materials science company became the go-to label for sustainable, stylish loungewear
From high street labels to exclusive designer brands, the fashion industry is desperately clamouring to show off its eco-friendly credentials of late. With all of the greenwashing going on, it’s getting trickier for even the most discerning customers to know which brands deserve their custom and support.
Which is why it’s refreshing to come across a fashion label, or rather a “materials science company on a mission to save our environment” in this case, that truly practices what it preaches.
We’re talking about PANGAIA, which is not so much a clothing brand as a global collective of designers, technologists and scientists. PANGAIA makes simple, comfortable clothing to suit your everyday needs, using recycled and sustainable methods and materials, and innovating every step of the way through technological and natural fabrics and garment treating processes.
Take the brand’s puffer jacket (currently sold out online). Instead of using goose or duck down, which is problematic from an ethical and animal welfare perspective, the brand pioneered FLWRDWN, a biodegradable material made from natural wildflowers and a biopolymer, to enable the coat to provide ample warmth for the wearer.
PANGAIA, which takes its name from the words “pan” (all-inclusive) and “gaia” (Mother Earth), has also made T-shirts from a patented seaweed fibre with peppermint oil, designed to be worn repeatedly without washing; the peppermint oil helps to keep the fabric fresh. The material is compostable and biodegradable, and seaweed may even be beneficial for the skin thanks to its high levels of antioxidants.
This seaweed fibre features in the brand’s latest Relaxed and Cropped collection of loose-fit versions of their bestselling cropped tees, sweatshirts, sweat shorts and trackie bottoms. The brand also uses chemical-free, 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton and recycled cotton, typically made from used plastic water bottles, in the collections.
The brand’s appeal isn’t just about crafting ethical and environmentally sound garments, but in making them look wonderfully Instagrammable. In part, this is thanks to the rainbow of colours in which each style is available. Collections include pastels, pop, core colours (neutrals) and the neon brights featured in the new Coral Reef range, which pays homage to our endangered marine ecosystems. These memorable hues are achieved through an eco-friendly dyeing process, which uses a recycled water system and dyes made from plants.
The styles in the PANGAIA range are unisex (although you’ll find men’s and women’s sizing) and available for children as well as adults. You won’t be surprised to hear the brand has a celebrity fan club that includes Justin Bieber, Tracee Ellis Ross, Pharrell Williams and at least one of the Hadid and Kardashian sisters. Cropped tees start at £40, with recycled cotton hoodies selling for £117, while kids’ tees are £28.
There’s yet another component that makes PANGAIA what it is: the brand gives back. For each Coral Reef piece sold, PANGAIA plants a mangrove tree with SeaTrees. Mangrove trees can help protect coral reefs by stabilising shorelands, protecting coastal land from erosion and providing shelter from weather damage.
PANGAIA’s structure is designed to champion teamwork over individual success, which filters through to every aspect of the brand’s ethos, down to where the logo sits on a garment. Instead, you’ll find information about the material of the item you purchased: “This tank top is made from seaweed and organic cotton. The fabric is coloured with an environmentally friendly dye. Created using a recycled water system,” reads the text on a tank.
Whether you want to shop ethically or just ensure you’re on-trend and stylish, PANGAIA’s got you covered: nothing is more fashionable right now than knowing where your clothes really come from.