For Vaude, Green Is the New Black

Making clothes that look good is easy. Making clothes that are durable, eco-friendly, socially responsible, and still look good … now, that’s hard. But it’s also worth it. Just ask Vaude. The German outdoor apparel outfitter is trying to remake the way we make clothes.

Vaude went green long before sustainability became a buzzword. Back in 1994, Vaude introduced a recycling program to turn old Vaude polyester jackets and apparel into other products. Ironically, they couldn’t do it—customers didn’t send enough clothes back to run the program. Vaude clothes are built to last, so people kept using them instead of recycling them.

Since then, Vaude has found other ways to raise the green bar. They use organic cotton, are committed to fair wages, and recycle PET bottles into bags and other accessories. In 2001, they started working towards the Bluesign system to reduce the environmental impact of their supply chain. Vaude’s Green Shape label guarantees that your garment was made from sustainable materials. They’ve achieved Leader status from the Fair Wear Foundation for fair workplace conditions. Vaude even has their own repair team for used products—so owners don’t have to buy new ones.

Thread at outdoor apparel retailer Vaude

In 2015, the government honored Vaude as “Germany’s most sustainable brand.” But the company isn’t resting on its laurels. They want to keep getting better. That’s where iFixit comes in.

Until now, owners had to ask their retailers to send damaged products to Vaude for repairs. Now, anyone can do it. The outdoor clothing company collaborated with iFixit to make Vaude repair guides available to everyone online for free. Parts and tools are available in the iFixit EU Store. iFixit will even teach you how to sew. Our Sewing Skill Guides have information about everything from stitching a button to fixing a sewing machine.

Repairing your clothes doesn’t just save you money and help the environment. It’s also rewarding. When people repair products instead of throwing them away, they forge a relationship with products. Customers become owners.

Vaude outdoor apparel repair
iFixit will host Vaude repair guides, so owners can fix their Vaude products—like this jacket—on their own.

“Usually you start with an easy maintenance, like waterproofing your tent again or fixing a sticky zip on a jacket,” says Matthias Mayer, Managing Director iFixit Europe. “And we often find that people who successfully repair their things feel more connected to them. A repaired jacket is better than a new one: Now it contains your own story and is therefore truly yours.”

And if you’re ready to let go of your old Vaude clothes, the company even gives you an alternative to the dump. They help owners donate their used products to charities like FairWertung in Germany or Gift your Gear in the UK. And last year, Vaude was the first German outdoor company to set up an eBay store for used goods. Because, when it comes to outdoor equipment and apparel, the best product is the one that’s already been made. As Antje von Dewitz, CEO of Vaude, put it, “The longer a product is used, the smaller its ecological footprint is.”

So if you need to mend your rain jacket, replace a wheel on your trolley, or have a broken buckle—iFixit and Vaude have got you covered. Your repair is just a click away.

Check out our Vaude repair guides here.