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Posted in: Sustainability

How sustainability plays into the process

How sustainability plays into the process

Respect for the environment as well as for the people

With a passion for creating innovative textiles and both an eye and a heart for her environment, Lotte Bongers works as Material Specialist in REV’IT!’s product development, doing her bit in making a difference every single day. Working towards a development process that’s ever improving, with more respect for the environment as well as for the people involved.
“I take into account every aspect of the product development process and I’ve found there’s always room for improvement.”
Small change, big steps

Working as Material Specialist means Lotte is very much hands-on with developing the materials that are at the base of the REV’IT! apparel that eventually makes it to dealer floors. “I’m in constant contact with the factories – the suppliers. Before we get to talking, we will already have mapped out what materials we’ll be needing for a collection. Those needs depend on the design, pricing estimates, the quality level that particular segment dictates, expected sales, but certainly also how sustainability plays into the process,” Lotte explains with knowledgeable connotation.

“There are real gains to be made with recycled polyester and switching to recycled doesn’t mean a quality downgrade compared to ‘virgin’ material. Implementing the use of recycled materials like that, however, does require us to purchase in larger quantities. It takes some creativity to effectively spread those materials – in different finishes and adaptations – across a larger array of products. In the end, it actually allows us to turn having to purchase larger quantities from a disadvantage into a clear advantage, because we are taking big steps with that one, relatively small change.”

The connecting element

As the connecting element between all parties involved in product development, Lotte’s daily work revolves around questioning and prioritizing demands and requirements. She weighs the options and the choices made, asking whether those are the only way forward or whether there might be a viable alternative. She explains: “I take into account every aspect of the product development process and I’ve found there’s always room for improvement. I try to facilitate the discussion and of course, that isn’t always easy. Especially considering the high quality we demand from ourselves and our products. Products shouldn’t just be built to last, they should preferably also keep looking great, even after years of extensive use. There are certainly solutions to obtain that, but rarely free of consequence.”

“Ultimately UV light will start to discolor a garment. By using certain specific chemical finishes we’re able to keep the color looking just as vibrant and fresh as it did when it was new for just a little while longer. Weighing up the impact of using those chemicals against being able to offer ever so slightly more durable colors, is an example of the kind of discussions we need to have,” Lotte explains resolutely. “I have visited factories that live up to even the most stringent of environmental codes. And yet, there’s no getting around the whiff of chemicals in the air. It doesn’t feel right to me at all if there’s even the slightest possibility someone working on our products could ever get sick from using chemicals.”

“Having to question everything without losing faith; it’s hard work sometimes.”
Out of curiosity and pride

Regardless of the inherent challenges of her job, the Material Specialist is far from alone. She feels the challenges keep her sharp. It keeps things interesting – it really drives her. Lotte: “Having to question everything without losing faith; it’s hard work sometimes. Not just for us, but for our suppliers as well. It’s not uncommon to have to develop ten different variants of a certain material, to then assess and improve those, before finally getting it right. That would not be possible without suppliers as motivated as ours. I’m regularly asked to forward them the final products that feature the materials the suppliers helped develop. They’re really interested in the end result. Not just out of curiosity, but out of pride as well.”

Shared pride like that connects, deepening the already good bond between REV’IT! and the suppliers even further. Lotte elaborates: “We have a common interest in developing textiles, but they also have a similar drive to ours in being ahead of the curve – not just in sustainability but in advancing quality in general, too. That’s an area we like to help them along in. Conversely, those suppliers have many years of experience in the fashion industry and in terms of sustainability that industry has made enormous strides over the past decades. It’s lightyears ahead compared to the motorcycle clothing industry. That way we’re learning from them, while they’re learning from us. It’s not just a cooperation; it’s an interaction as well. It gives me energy, and by keeping a critical eye together, we’re proving we can decrease the impact we make, on both the environment and for the people. And it’s proof that quality and sustainability are by no means mutually exclusive – the end product needn’t be of lesser quality. Quite the contrary, actually.”

Sustainability Stories

Lotte’s story is just one of the many Sustainability Stories of the dedicated people that work towards REV’IT!’s goal of creating a sustainable future for riding. Driven by passion for their respective fields, each adds to the greater momentum of making their efforts count, to make a difference every day.