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A conversation with Gill UK about the company's offcut-edition OS2 jacket

by David Schmidt 28 Oct 2020 08:00 PDT October 28, 2020
Gill's Offcut-Edition OS2 jacket delivers performance sans `landfill guilt` © Image courtesy of Gill

If you’re anything like me, you know the feeling: your old foul-weather jacket (or any piece of equipment) is no longer performing up to its once lofty standards that, but it’s also not in tatters, either. Sure, it leaks a little bit (ahem), but is this lack of performance really worth landfilling the garment? Yes, there’s financial considerations involved with buying new kit, of course, and yes, old jackets can be sold or donated, but in a lot of respects that’s just kicking the landfill decision down the road for someone else to make.

But what if the jacket was originally built in a way that reduced a buyer’s eventual “landfill guilt” while also delivering solid, out-of-the box performance? If this sounds like your kind of equipment (my hand is in the air, but, alas, I just refreshed my foulies last fall), Gill’s offcut-edition OS2 jacket is worth your consideration.

Unlike jackets that are made from virgin materials, or perhaps a blend of virgin and recycled materials, Gill built the offcut-edition OS2 jackets using offcuts—effectively cutting-floor scraps that would otherwise have already begun their landfill death march.

Call this “pre-cycling”—it’s a heck of a great idea, and one that can deliver great results for the end user, sans the guilt that can accompany retiring old equipment.

The rub, however, is that Gill is only building 50 of these special-edition jackets, at least as of this writing, so if this strikes your fancy, you’d be well-served to order one sooner, rather than later. (And letters to Gill and other marine-equipment manufacturers pushing them to do more of this kind of thing never hurts, either.)

I checked in with Rachel Pratt, Gill UK’s marketing manager, via email, to learn more about the company’s environmentally responsible OS2 jacket.

What was the impetus for Gill's OS2 jacket?

We have been analyzing all parts of the business to see where we can make changes and reduce the amount of packaging we use and our wastage. It was from a factory visit that we identified excess materials that were destined for landfill and we thought there was surely another usage for these. That’s how the OS2 Offcut came to life!

Is it a trend in the greater apparel industry to use off-cuts to build garments, or was this something that you guys came up with on your own?

Many brands are doing the same as we are and seeing how they can reduce their environmental footprint. This has led to lots of brands coming up with truly innovative ideas that potentially would have been overlooked.

Using off-cuts to create unique garments isn’t just something Gill [is] doing, we have seen other brands do the same. We’re proud to stand side by side with these brands and do what we can to become a more sustainable brand.

What was the hardest part about creating the OS2 jacket? Also, how did Gill overcome this hurdle?

However novel it is to use off-cuts to create new products, novelty alone won’t sell a jacket. Our consumers still expect high-quality, good-looking products when shopping at Gill. One of the hardest parts of creating the OS2 Offcut Edition was delivering a jacket that was not only environmentally friendly but also looked good.

What kind of sailor is this jacket aimed at?

When initially designing the jacket it was designed with the offshore sailor in mind. However, we’ve found many different types of sailors opt for the OS2, be that for sailing or simply braving the elements outdoors.

Will the OS2 become a permanent part of Gill’s line-up, or will you be building these jackets as off-cuts become available?

The OS2 Jacket has been in the Gill range for 20 years. 2020 is the 20th anniversary of the OS2 Jacket so that makes it even more special that we’re able to do an off-cut version of our most iconic jacket.

We’re extremely pleased with the final result of the Offcut Edition and has made us excited for what we can do in the future with off-cut materials.

From a garment-performance perspective, is there any difference in the protection afforded to an OS2 wearer, compared to a sailor who donned a standard Gill inshore/offshore jacket?

The OS2 Jacket features our Xplore 2-layer laminated fabric, which creates an incredibly waterproof, windproof and breathable protective shell which is obviously a key factor for a sailor when looking for on the water clothing.

Other design features that the OS2 has compared to a standard inshore jacket are: high-cut thermal collar for warmth and full-face protection, fully lined high-vis hood with a three-way volume adjustment system, deep cargo pockets with secure closure, two-way zipper protected by a double storm guard, and heat formed prismatic reflectives.

Can you please tell us about Gill’s partnership with Plastic Oceans?

[In] early 2020 we were approached by the Ocean Revival team who were about to embark on a grueling challenge of rowing across the North Atlantic Ocean, which is a feat only 57 people in history have achieved. The crossing has been attempted 72 times, with 29 successes, over 43 failures and which has sadly taken six ocean rower’s lives.

None have rowed from New York to London, [and] Ocean Revival aim to be the first. We were happy to support the team by donating kit that would hopefully make their attempt slightly more bearable by ensuring they were well-protected!

One of the reasons for their row was to raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution, which is where Plastic Oceans came in. After several conversations with the team at Plastic Oceans it was clear that we both share a passion for the ocean and we wanted to do all we can to support.

We see this as a long-term partnership and will be looking into further initiatives and opportunities for Gill to support [in the] short-, medium- and long-term.

Can you tell us about any other steps that Gill is taking to lower is environmental wake?

The steps we have/are taking as a brand to become more sustainable are detailed on our website: www.gillmarine.com/sustainability

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