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Girlfriend Collective, an athletic apparel brand that makes everything from sports bras to tennis skirts, might've helped establish the bike short trend, but it's sustainability that's been at the company's core since it first started in 2020. Recycled materials are front and center in clothes for hitting the climbing gym, going on a hike, doing a bar class, and strutting around the city, proving that low-impact isn't at odds with function, fashion, or comfort. (The brand gets bonus points for size inclusivity, too.)
Now the company is kicking those efforts up a notch with a new collection called BioCompressive that features a new fabric technology called CiCLO. A first of its kind, CiCLO is a fabric treatment that takes aim at the microplastic pollution problem by preventing those tiny plastic fibers from shedding off clothing. (Girlfriend Collective also sells a filter for catching those little fibers in your washing machine.)
How does it work? To start, synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester are made of plastics that can stay in the environment for, well, forever. The fashion industry relies on them as a cheap material that's good for fast fashion, the type of style consumption defined by frequently buying and discarding clothing to keep up with trends, and terrible for pollution. Everytime you wash these clothes, tiny plastic fibers shed off into the water system and wind up in the environment.
Recycled materials are one way to deal with the problem, as is using natural materials like wool. But CiCLO is an additive, not a material, and it can be combined with synthetic nylon or polyester during production. It creates biodegradable "spots" in the synthetic material that attracts and allows microbes to enter the plastic matrix and break it down like they would other natural fibers such as wool or cotton.
With the addition of CiCLO, Girlfriend Collective has taken the camper's motto "leave no trace" and applied it to their clothing.
The new collection's size-inclusive pieces include all of the brand's classic silhouettes and staple pieces like leggings and sports bras as well as some unique stand-outs like the Tie-Wrap Skort and Bianca One-Shoulder Dress. A brightly-hued color palette inspired by the '80s adds another layer of positivity to a collection that looks towards a more sustainable future of fashion.