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How Talk the Talk turned out to be our strongest engine for transitioning into sustainable innovation so we could Walk the Walk towards a circular mindset in all we do.  

In 2016 when Tretorn was celebrating 125 years, we looked into the Tretorn archive to figure out our future and find a path to where we wanted Tretorn to be in the next 125 years to come. We read so many stories from the past that connected Tretorn to CSR the Swedish way and we decided to take this to the next level and created The Eco Essentials Initiative. A way to challenge ourselves and to become a role model for how we interact with nature. However, we didn’t want to get stuck in a long planning and procedures process. Many brands think about what they need to change and do internally before they communicate it. We have the feeling that this is slowing down the transitioning for all of us so we decided that it’s all about, doing stuff, communicating it to inspire people, learning from it and driving it up to scale so we can make a change that matters.

We Inspire People to Enjoy Everyday Life Outdoors and Being Part of Creating a Better World.”

Tretorn Mission Statement / Fredrik Ekström Creative Director Tretorn

We started the Eco Essentials Initiative in 2016 as a Co-lab with Naturkompaniet and since then we have transformed over 85% of our outerwear into organic, recycled, recyclable or degradable. 100 % of our sneakers and 100 % of our bags. We have started using a technique with our boots, so we mix natural rubber with 40 % recycled rubber to eliminate waste in production. All leather we use is LITE (Low Impact To the Environment) certified from TanTec, where leather is used otherwise we make most of our sneakers vegan. This speed of change is starting to influence other global actors to act more responsible. And soon we realized that our thoughts that this is a journey without an end, was true, we would never be finished with our journey. Whoever said that they will, is either lying or doesn’t have a clue about what they talk about.

The fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world. It’s impossible to be happy and still have a set goal for when you will be done. This is a journey where we have to evolve: every day, weeks, and months, just to keep up with the pace of velocity. However, a lot of very smart people still apparently think that they will change the world by standing still. And that no one should do stuff before they have altered every opinion and risk. We don’t agree. We think that you have to talk the talk and walk the walk at the same time to be able to make a difference. 

Our mission with The Eco Essentials Initiative is to create a platform that continuously challenges ourselves to act more responsibly and inspire others to do the same.


We know efficiency alone is not enough. The world needs systemic change at scale, and to meet this change we need to develop how we interact with nature. We need to collaborate rather than compete. And we need to start looking at waste as a resource and adopt a more circular mindset. We believe the future of innovation is sustainable innovation. And we are happy that we share this belief with others. 

2016 – The Left Over Project was inspired by a circular system where nothing should go to waste. We identified that the factories in the fashion industry are discarding a lot of resources into waste. We contacted our factories and established a contact centre for us to buy leftover fabric before it went to waste. We bought batches of leftover fabric from manufacturers and created many extremely small limited edition collections with the mission of eliminating waste from factory rooms.

2017 – The Ghost Net Project came to life as a way to put focus on the situation in our oceans, Listen to the podcast from Husky about the project. Approximately 650 000 tonnes of fishing nets are believed to float in our oceans as debris. The fishing fleet change nets every two years, and the nets take 600-700 years to degrade in the ocean. It’s unacceptable. At the same time fishing nets are made from one of the highest quality nylons in the world so for Tretorn this is like finding a golden ticket in a bush. We created a system for how we could highlight the situation in the ocean and give the fishing nets/ghost nets a second life as high-quality rainwear, made out of regenerated nylon from collected nets. The rainwear has been exhibited at the UN World Oceans Conference in NYC and selected by the Swedish Royal Crown princess Victoria.

2018 – The Bio Plant Project started with inspiration from the military and medical field hospitals. We explored the innovation process around degradable fabrics and created a rain jacket with fabric made out of sugar cane starch, zippers from the starch of thistles, prints from soybeans and rain protected with a degradable PU. Making the jacket 100% degradable and eliminating most use of fossil fuel.

2018 - OCEAN-SHELL® fabrics were invented by the design and R&D team at Tretorn as our next generation of circular functional fabrics. The OCEAN-SHELL® is a layered fabric, equipped with hydrophilic membranes and created in 100% PET with a high content (75-80%) of recycled ocean waste collected in the oceans outside Taiwan. Making the fabric, waterproof, breathable, recycled and recyclable again.

Our Photographer Olle Nordell was given an opportunity to join the Antarctica expedition with the UN and Lewis Pugh and brought the new Fabric and Arch Jacket on a journey to the unknown. 

To make the message more easily accessible for the consumer we joined a tour around Scandinavia with the conscious hip hop band MOVITZ and the record-label Antarctica. Or better is to watch our movie above.

SS19 – Introducing Sneakers with a cleaner footprint was a way for us to reinvent the way we use our resources in sneaker manufacturing. We changed the way we do business and re-launched our sneakers made with 30-60%) natural rubber outsoles, recycled insole constructions, Low Impact To Environment certified leather: where leather is being used, meaning wind and solar power tanneries, wetland- and traceability- programs. Now 100 % of our sneakers are in the Eco Essentials initiative.

FW19 –Rain Proof Ocean Net Sneakers is our next generation of Eco Sneakers. We combine our heritage in weather protection with the future of sustainable innovation. Within the Eco Essentials Initiative, we changed the regular canvases to regenerated nylon from fishing nets, making the sneakers even more eco-friendly and rainproof in the same time

FW19 – The Peace Island Tretorn X Makia is a project embodied to help preserve the Baltic sea and communicate the sustainable lifestyle of a sailor. The theme was that the archipelago province of Åland lays between Finland and Sweden in the Baltic Sea as a demilitarized and autonomous group of islands. The region has a long maritime history from early grain races, to today’s hub for sailors and cruise ships alike. This is why it was natural to share its history as an inspiration for the Makia & Tretorn - “Peace islands” capsule collection. The collection is built around the theme of peaceful marine life and timeless sailing culture and supports the John Numminen Foundation.

SS20 Tretorn X Nigel Cabourn - The British legend Nigel Cabourn has worked in the industry for over forty years producing collections, which are not influenced by ‘fashion’ trends but driven by inspirational stories of real people in history and vintage military, outdoor and workwear pieces. The collaboration is a tribute to the untouched wilderness in Sarek.

– Tretorn introduced me to Sarek in northern Sweden, one of Europe's last true wilderness areas, which I found very exciting and inspirational. The result is that each item in this collaboration has a sense of the place that inspires it and is made with care and respect to this natural environment - underpinned by Tretorns credentials through the Eco Essentials initiative, says Nigel Cabourn about the collaboration.

The Tretorn X Nigel Cabourn collection is a three-piece combination, Sneaker, Jacket and Bag. All made in Organic and/or Recycled Ventile and sneakers made with natural 30% natural rubber outsoles and recycled rubber insoles.

SS20 SEA LIFE Trust Partnership – This is a global partnership where our ocean net products, sneakers, bags and jackets will be launched in a partnership with SEA LIFE Trust and together collaborate to inspire more people to act in a conscious way with our oceans.

We strive to be an inspiration and a role model for how people can interact with nature and create a more environmentally conscious process. To do this we are inspired by nature’s own ecosystem and we strongly believe in a process where nothing should go to waste. Products should last long, be reused and eventually recycled. We have also found new ways to look upon high-quality waste such as fishing nets, consumer plastic and PET as an opportunity, a resource to be harvested and developed into a circular process, while slowly eliminating the very concept of waste. For us, this is an ongoing mission without an end goal.

“We have to change how we interact with nature or nature will no longer interact with us

If you made it this far you are a truly dedicated fan. Thank you! And let us know if you have any thoughts about our journey or tips that you would like to share.

Together towards the unknown!

Fredrik Ekström

Creative Director Tretorn