Sheep Inc. is trying to reduce its carbon footprint while drawing attention to the origin and journey of its products
Spotted: When customers buy a jumper from Sheep Inc., not only do they receive a high-quality product made from the merino wool of sheep from rural New Zealand, but they are also sent regular updates about the very sheep from which their jumper was made.
Labelling itself “the world’s first carbon-negative fashion brand”, when owners of a Sheep Inc. jumper scan a yellow tag at the bottom of the product, they are privy to its manufacturing process and carbon footprint. The company will also send updates about the customer’s allocated sheep: “its major life events. Where it is. What it’s up to. When it’s had a haircut. Even whether it’s had lambs.”
Both the tagging and the sheep are unique selling points that Edzard van der Wyck, co-founder of Sheep Inc., hopes they will make consumers consider the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
It is not enough anymore to focus purely on carbon neutrality and sustainability, according to van der Wyck. The product must have its own selling point, and the sheep serves as a reminder of the price of fashion. Sheep Inc. is transparent about the way the farms that they work with are environmentally friendly, and that the company themselves reinvest 5% of revenue into biodiversity projects around the world, offsetting the carbon footprint of the product’s journey.
However, the price of these jumpers is high, averaging at around €225. The company justifies this price by saying the jumpers are designed to last a “lifetime” in comparison to cheap, fast-fashion. But the main goal is to make customers savvy about where their clothes come from. This, the company believes, is the first step to change, because fashion brands will be forced to reveal this, and will have to become more environmentally friendly.