Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable Tour: Meet Our New Master Roadtrippers

When one eco-friendly trailer door closes, another opens. While Dr. Drew’s passion for sustainability and general stoke for life have been integral to launching our Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable mobile tour, his time on the road has come to an end. While Drew returns to the Toad mothership in Santa Barbara, CA, we’re kicking off a new chapter of the tour in Freeport, ME—with a new rad couple at the wheel.

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Don’t worry, Dr. Drew always has his place on the tour.

 

Meet Rob and Rachel. Originally from Atlanta (Rob) and Connecticut (Rachel), the pair met at Appalachian State University, tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. They most recently lived in Denver where Rob worked as a land use planner and Rachel was working with geographic information systems for the city. Now, they’re onto their next big adventure as they hit the road to spread the word about how we’re helping to clean up the apparel industry.

Toad HQ: What made you want to join the Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable tour?

Rachel: We had been tossing around the idea of a big road trip for a while now, so when we heard about the tour through my sister Sam (who works at the Toad&Co Freeport store), we knew we wanted in! I’ve been a big fan of Toad for a while now and love the word that this tour is spreading.

Rob: We’re already fans of the brand and really support Toad’s ecologically responsible practices. We really wanted to be a part of increasing awareness of the environmental impacts of the apparel industry (4th largest global polluter—real bummer) and offering an alternative (go nude, or wear sustainable clothing). It was a no brainer!

What are you most excited about in the months ahead as you lead the charge on the STP tour? 

Rob: I’m excited to see parts of the country that I’ve never been to, and engage the local communities as we raise awareness about sustainability.

Rachel: Aside from the two stops (Freeport and Chicago) on this next leg, every place will be new so I’m really stoked to see cities we haven’t been to and connect with the people in those communities.

What’s your favorite U.S. city to visit? 

Rachel: It’s always whatever’s next! Recently, we’ve spent a lot of time in Santa Fe and we love it. The sunsets, food, and hiking are killer.

What about your favorite national park?

Rachel: Rocky Mountain National Park, without a doubt.

Rob: Ditto! Living in Denver gave us the opportunity to spend plenty of time there. I’m stoked to visit new parks along the trip, especially Glacier NP and Northern Cascades NP. Who knows—maybe we’ll wrap up our time on the tour with a new favorite…

How about your favorite road trip songs?

Rob: Can’t go wrong with a long Phish or Dead jam to crush some miles!

Rachel: You’ll usually find me listening to some folk or bluegrass. There’s a lot of John Prine and Vampire Weekend in my current rotation.

Which one of you is most likely to get caught belting out your favorite tunes while driving?

Rachel: We have a few solid duets in our repertoire, but probably me!

At Toad, we stand by the idea that every day is an adventure. What are your best tips for living life this way? 

Rob: Go for it! If you’ve ever wanted to do something, you can find a way.

Rachel: And don’t wait. Just make it happen!

What outdoor activities get you most fired up?

Rob: Backpacking and fly fishing. But also into hiking, cycling, running, and climbing. I guess this is also how I live every day as an adventure!

Rachel: I love biking around to check out new spots, backpacking and hiking, and I’ve recently gotten into fly fishing with Rob.

Even the most adventurous of us need a little downtime. How do you like to spend yours?

Rachel: I love to bake (mostly pies) and garden.

Rob: Playing guitar, eating good food, and an occasional binge watch on a rainy day.

Can you share your best hacks for living life on the road sustainably?

Rob: Bring reusable cups and utensils, say “for here!” when ordering food and coffee, wear clothes a lot between washes (dirty is the new clean), and stop to make food on the road.

Rachel: We try to limit our waste as much as possible—make our own food, bring to-go containers, eat in if we don’t have them, and always say no to straws!

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The official passing of the torch (aka keys to the rig).

 

If we learned one thing from Drew, it’s that the search for the best cup of coffee and most tasty beer is critical on a long road trip (just kidding, Dr. Drew, you taught us a lot). What’s currently topping your list? 

Rachel: I’ll get a vanilla latte when I’m treating myself, and my old neighborhood coffee shop in Denver, Queen City Collective, makes the best cuppa Joe. When it comes to beer, I’m really into the Milkshake IPA right now. WeldWerks in Colorado does ’em best.

Rob: You can’t go wrong with a good IPA, clear or hazy. Right now we’re in Maine and I’m loving Lunch from Maine Beer Co. For coffee, I typically go for a local light roast in whichever city we’re in.

Have you ever gone nude in the name of sustainability (we have to ask…)?

Rachel: We haven’t yet, but anything’s possible on the tour, right?!

Rachel and Rob

What are your favorite Toad clothes to keep it comfy on the road? 

Rachel: Definitely the Hillrose Short Sleeve Shirt (in the Pink Sand Resort print) when I’m feeling fun! And the Tara Hemp Pant—the perfect summer pant. Dress ’em up, dress ’em down.

Rob: I love the Taj Hemp Short Sleeve Slim Shirt and the Rover Short!

Learn more about the Save the Planet, Wear Sustainable tour and find out if we’re coming to your neck of the woods.

 

Tencel®: The New Performance Fabric

Mother Nature brings a lot to the table when it comes to performance. Synthetic fabrics like spandex, polyester, and nylon dominate the active wear marketplace, but plant-based fibers offer a lot of the same benefits with a fraction of the environmental costs. (Plus, nothing beats the feeling of plant-based fibers against your skin). Made from an eco-friendly eucalyptus wood pulp, Tencel® is perhaps our very favorite.

Tencel® starts with fine, water-loving fibers that quickly absorb and transport moisture away from the skin. Its cellulosic nature inhibits the growth of bacteria, which allows for stronger, longer lasting yarns. And softness. Like MEGA softness. Tencel® is akin to silk in both feel and drape, and it’s low pilling so you can wear it over and over again. Pure Tencel® fabrics are lightweight and airy (great for summer travel), while a Tencel® blend boasts excellent year-round performance (if you just can’t live without your polyester active-wear). Tencel® is 100% machine washable and won’t bag out or melt away in the dryer over time. #laundrywin

Last, and most importantly, we love Tencel® for its clean production process. The eucalyptus is grown in Europe and requires fewer pesticides and far less acreage and water than cotton. The raw eucalyptus is processed in an eco-award winning “closed loop” system that recovers and reuses 99.7% of the processing solvents. (Sidenote: the primary solvent is the nontoxic solvent amine oxide and is infinitely better than harsher solvents used in traditional viscose processes.)

Our Tencel® has been certified according to the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100, a rigorous testing, auditing, and certification system for environmentally friendly textiles. It’s also recognized by the European Union as both safe and sustainable. Can your activewear claim all that?

Forget what you thought you knew about crunchy, shiny performance fabrics – Mother Nature knows best. Shop our Men’s Tencel® and Women’s Tencel® styles and see for yourself.

Sustainability Cheat Sheet

 

During the busiest shopping season of the year, we want you to shop responsibly. Did you know that close to 12.7 million tons of textiles end up in the landfills annually? And that the textile industry is one of highest polluting industries on the planet? Luckily, there are lots of brands devoted to making clothing that minimizes our impact on the planet. If we could, we’d go naked everywhere, all the time. But eventually we’d get cold and crabby and probably make some rash decisions. Everybody wears clothes, everybody shops and that’s okay. Just shop with knowledge and give gifts that are sustainably built and from environmentally conscious brands. So cut this cheat sheet out, commit it to memory, screen shot it, send it to your friends and family, tattoo it to your arm… whatever you have to do. Just remember, what’s good for the planet is good for you, too. Happy Holidays!

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Feeling inspired? Shop our Organic Cotton Styles for Men and Women

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 Non-Mulesed Merino Wool Sweaters 

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Handcrafted Plaids That Make Grandpa Proud

 

We’re suckers for a great plaid. Even if it’s 80° and we’re still sleeping with the fan on, when it’s October it’s plaid season. Lucky for us, plaid season starts back in the springtime, when our designers bust out their color swatches and raid Grandpa’s closet getting to work designing Toad’s fall plaids. Color by color, yarn by yarn, we craft our own plaids so that every pattern is unique to your closet and would make Granddad proud.

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It all starts with the fabric and the silhouette. A heavier fabric is great for heartier plaids while lighter weight fabrics are good for smaller plaids. We scour thrift stores and old Nirvana music videos, steal flannels from our college boyfriends, and search for vintage plaids with a little kick. Then we put our spin on things.

Take our Men’s Singlejack Shirt: It’s made of a recycled cotton/ recycled polyester blend, so it’s a lightweight, breathable fabric that just begs to be worn while climbing trees or scaling rock walls (see Joel above). So as a nod to the old-school outdoor plaids of the 70s, we opted for a larger scale print and big blocks of color.

We’re also known for messing with tradition. We knew we wanted a new twist on a classic buffalo check print. So we swapped out regular cotton yarn for an organic cotton marled flannel, to give the Women’s Bodie ¼ Zip a new heathery look that’s always ready for her close-up (a la Crystal in the Bodie above). Apparently you can teach an old Buffalo new tricks!

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Like a good whiskey, you can tell a good plaid by the depth of its color. We start with rich, hearty colors that remind us of nature – clay reds, pine greens, ocean blues – then run poppy accent colors every which way. That’s the warp and the weft. Imagine a loom: the warp are the stationary yarns that go up and down, the weft get woven from left to right. So change up the warp and the weft (colors, width, weave) and you’ve got endless plaid possibilities.

But with great plaids come great responsibility. Sure, you can put endless amounts of color in a plaid, but we think any more than eight and it gets a little crazy. So we start with a few good basics then hone our craft. We mess with the scale, mess with the colors, mess  with the weave, round and around until we get it just right.

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Finally, we nail down the perfect construction to make sure our plaid pops. Sometimes we opt for a twill – that’s a weave at an angle (makes it extra sturdy), sometimes we brush the final print for a vintage flannel look (makes it extra soft). And if we want to make our tomboy plaids feel a little more feminine, we whip up a diamond weave like our Women’s Mojacette.

Like we said, when it’s October, it’s plaid season. But like any piece of handcrafted art, a good plaid is timeless. Shop our Men’s and Women’s plaids to see what’s new this fall.

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100% Organic Cotton, 100% of the Time

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Goal Achieved: 100% of the cotton we use is certified organic!

Nothing feels better than organic cotton – it’s soft, it breathes and it feels just as good on your conscience as it does on your skin. We’ve been incorporating organic cotton into our fabrics for years, each season replacing more conventional cotton with organic. So it’s with our re-usable cups held high that we cheers to achieving our goal of 100% organic anywhere we use cotton!

Although it comes from a plant, conventionally grown cotton is actually very un-natural. According to the Textile Exchange, conventional cotton crops are doused in millions of pounds of chemicals each year – chemicals found in synthetic fertilizers, soil additives and defoliants. These substances wreak havoc on soil, water, air, and all sorts of ecosystems, including human ones. That’s a big price to pay for cotton.

Thankfully, there’s an alternative: organic cotton. Organic cotton farming does not allow the use of toxic chemicals or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Instead, it combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote good quality of life for all involved. To ensure that we’re buying organic cotton, we only buy cotton that is certified organic. We’re also members of the Textile Exchange, a global non-profit organization that works to make the textile industry more sustainable by identifying best practices, so we’re always in the know about the latest and greatest in textile sustainability. For more information about organic cotton, visit aboutorganiccotton.org.

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Graphics courtesy of aboutorganiccotton.org, Textile Exchange

Shop Men’s Organic Cotton Styles and Women’s Organic Cotton  Styles 

Wear Green Every Day

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’ll wear green to celebrate. In honor of the planet, we wear “green” every day. “Green”, “eCo”, “sustainable”, “earth-friendly” – whatever you call it, we subscribe to the idea that you should never have to choose between living well and doing good. Our design approach is to make great clothes that last and work to lighten our collective environmental footprint. 

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It all starts with the fibers that make up our fabrics. Fibers, natural or man made, are the building blocks of yarns, which are then woven or knitted into the fabrics we use. We choose fibers for their various aesthetic and performance attributes and their sustainability factor. We’re big fans of organic cottonTencel®Modal®, recycled polyester and reclaimed wool. Fun fact: 100% of our cotton is certified organic!

Once we’ve got our “green” building blocks, we strive to develop fabrics with just as much integrity – we call these our eCo FabricsWe define eCo fabrics as any fabric that uses preferred “green” fibers and/or bluesign® certified fabrics. bluesign® is the “green” watchdog of the garment industry. bluesign® certification assures the use of chemicals and processes that are safe for the environment and best practices for efficient use of energy, water, emissions monitoring and worker safety. We’re proud that as of spring 2019, 100% of our product is considered eCo. So go ahead and wear green on St. Patrick’s Day – and every day.

Our greenest green…

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Our Men’s Hookline Shirt is made from 100% recycled fibers.

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Our Women’s Epique Short Sleeve Dress is made from all natural hemp and organic cotton that comes straight from the earth.