WHAT IS DEADSTOCK?
Every year, tons of unused fabric and textiles gather dust in warehouses around the world. These leftovers are called “deadstock” and can include high-quality fabric in a dizzying range of colors, sizes, and styles.
Annually, popular clothing and outdoor brands make forecasts for the coming year’s materials. Factories, fabric suppliers, mills, and chemical producers generate their products based on these numbers.
However, when brands over forecast, factories are left with large amounts of deadstock and are fined for the excess.
One warehouse we saw in Southeast Asia was forced to store over 19,000 yards of high-quality fabric designed for a single product. That’s enough to make around 12,600 packs.
But instead of sharing this stock with other brands, the local community must handle the problem instead as the factory is fined and the fabric decays.
WHY DOES PINGORA USE DEADSTOCK?
Pingora founder, CJ Whittaker has seen this cycle repeat for the last 20 years. In that time, he’s built a network of brands, factories, and mills that help us source the best deadstock available.
The average pack uses around 1.5 yards of fabric, resulting in millions of yards of fabric used for a single category for one brand for one year.
Despite all that waste, buying new fabric is cheaper, faster, and easier than recycling. In fact, deadstock comes with its own range of problems like inconsistent supply, constant risk, and additional testing.
At Pingora, we’ve spent time and resources educating factories on our own designs and processes to make this work. But for us, it’s a worthwhile trade because the result is a product that exceeds our users’ expectations and leaves one less supplier community by waste.
THE CHALLENGE: WHEN DEADSTOCK BECOMES DEADWEIGHT
In 2022, California passed AB1817, a law prohibiting the sale, distribution, and manufacturing of materials containing “forever” chemicals known as PFAs. By the end of December 2023, brands that wish to sell, manufacture, or distribute in California will need to make some big adjustments.
While this measure could reduce public health risks and encourage the use of plant-based materials, this shift will also create mountains of textile waste left to factory communities across the world to deal with on their own.
By 2025, all textiles sold in California must follow these standards. And Pingora has already started using materials free of PFAs.
However, we can’t stand by and watch others saddle overseas communities with abandoned deadstock. Worldwide, deadstock is expected to be PFAS-free by 2027, making this supply chain problem short-lived. But these chemicals are here to stay for the communities where they’re dumped.
OUR COMMITMENT TO RESPONSIBILITY
Pingora didn’t create this deadstock. But we believe it’s better to use these materials for good than leave them to rot.
So for the next 2-3 seasons, Pingora will continue using deadstock made with PFAS and forgo profits in California and other areas with these measures in order to do the right thing.
And we’re not alone. Brands such as Blue Ice, Gregory, and Arcteryx have allowed us and other small companies to use their deadstock, ensuring that high-quality waste is used and factory communities aren’t stuck paying the bill.
Additionally, we are currently discussing partnerships over better use of these materials to prevent deadstock waste from growing in our supplier communities.
All of this means Pingora will have to grow differently than other outdoor brands. But it means we get to keep our conscience while doing it. Using this stragegy,, we will have the most responsible packs in the industry.