EXCLUSIVE: OCEAN TEE talks new Mako polo shirt and sustainability

New golf polo shirt conforms to the very highest environmental and ethical standards...

Andy Roberts's picture
Fri, 1 May 2020

OCEAN TEE has today extended its product range to include clothing, only this piece of golfing apparel has got some bite about it.

The new Mako golf polo shirt - named after the endangered Mako shark, the fastest shark in the ocean - remains true to OCEAN TEE's founding pricinples. 

 

 

The brand's entry into the golf clothing market combines a stylish design and athletic fit with material, performance and processes that conform to the very highest environmental and ethical standards. 

Founder of OCEAN TEE, Ed Sandison, spoke exclusively to GolfMagic this week (you can read our interview below), to discuss how sustainable materials and processes can be used to give golfers the opportunity to buy products that have been made with the environment in mind. 

By taking this approach, OCEAN TEE hopes to raise awareness of the damage being done to the planet and to encourage more businesses to use the same fabrics and processes that he has identified.  

The Mako polo shirt - available at RRP £59.99 in two colourways of aqua and navy blue - is made from Organic Cotton mixed with a completely new, biodegradable, elastane called ROICA Eco-Smart.

OCEAN Tee is the first company to use this ground-breaking environmentally friendly fabric in the golf industry, which delivers exceptional movement and breathability. 

Furthermore, 25% of the corporate profit resulting from each purchase will be donated by OCEAN TEE to charities that are focused on tackling plastic pollution and promoting the health of marine environments, as well as charities focused on promoting sustainability in golf.

We caught up with OCEAN TEE founder Ed Sandison to get the lowdown on the brand's new Mako golf polo shirt, his thoughts on sustainability in golf, his future plans for the brand, and how the golf industry is coping with the coronavirus pandemic...

Ed, thanks for taking the time to speak to us at GolfMagic. We love the look and feel of your new Mako golf polo shirt, but what was the thought process behind it? 

For me, OCEAN TEE has always been about challenging conventional thinking.  I wanted to show that it is possible to create a premium golf garment using sustainable fabrics and environmentally friendly processes.

Specifically, we wanted to design and manufacture a polo that had the same performance benefits as synthetic fabrics – like polyester and Lycra – which currently dominate the golf market. 

The entire lifecycle of a synthetic garment has a negative impact on the health of humans as well as the planet itself.

That was my starting point. Between then and now there has been a lot of research and collaborations with amazing people, companies and not for profit organisations who are connecting businesses to sustainable solutions.

Our organic cotton blended with biodegradable elastane is a world first and we are really proud to bring it to the market.  

Could you talk us through how each new garment will be made from a completely different sustainable fabric? 

A major focus of the brand is to support and showcase the pioneering businesses that are developing sustainable materials and manufacturing processes that can be used to create environmentally friendly products, which is why every garment we introduce will feature a new fabric.

The first product is the Mako polo, named after the fastest shark in the ocean which is currently endangered.

It is made from Organic Cotton and the world’s first biodegradable elastane. This might not sound ground-breaking, but less than 1% of global cotton production is truly organic and thanks to this new ROICA elastane, the polo shirt will literally decompose at the end of its useful life.

The next product will be a sweater made from rubbish! We aren’t ruling anything out and hope that each new garment will inspire conversations about sustainability between golfers in the same way our tees do. We want people to be proud of the garments they are wearing.

The majority of golf clothing is made from synthetic fibre, which is basically plastic?  So, what sort of environmental damage does that cause?

Normal elastane, like Lycra, as well as polyester for instance are made of plastic. This means that these garments will not biodegrade.  One of the most shocking impacts is actually on our health.

When synthetic garments are washed in the machine at home, microplastics are released which go into our water systems and into the sea.  Fish eat the microplastics and we eat the fish!!

To give you a shocking statistic, a recent study showed that people ingest over 5000 particles of synthetic fibre each year! 

What sort of colours and designs are we looking at for the shirts? How much are they? What sizes are they available in? 

We have two colourways that are in the aqua and navy blue of our logo sized from Small to Extra Large.

We wanted to remind everyone that everything we do links back to the ocean, hence the name of the polo and the colours.

The Mako retails at £59.99 and can be shipped worldwide – our packaging is really cool. Every single element of the packaging is sustainably sourced using remarkable, recycled materials.

What sort of difference will your 25% donation to charities make to the protection of marine habitats and sustainability in golf?

Hopefully a massive difference! We are focused on supporting charities that are involved in research and specifically those targeting plastic pollution and marine conservation.

In order to fund that research, they need cash, so no matter how much you donate, every penny is being used productively.

Clearly we are aiming to build a very successful company, so we hope to see our donations grow significantly year on year.

However, in addition to the donations, we are also focused on providing our charity partners with a platform within the golf industry, for example at major tournaments, where they can reach a large golfing audience and build awareness and excitement about key areas of sustainability.

This will hopefully inspire golfers to think about their own golf clubs and what they could be doing differently. 

In my view, showing a respect for the environment and to sustainability is key when it comes to showcasing golf as a modern, forward thinking sport and ultimately that is what we need to do in order to attract a wider and more diverse audience to the game. 

adidas Golf has been doing something similar with its golf footwear and apparel in terms of sustainability, but do you think other golf brands should be starting to follow suit in 2020? 

adidas is a huge brand so clearly anything they are doing to shine a light on sustainability is a good thing. I actually own a pair of the adidas shoes! I love what they are doing, but brands need to tell the story well and make sure consumers understand why this is so important.

There is absolutely no need for companies to carry on using traditional methods of manufacture at the expense of the planet.

We have proved it. Our manufacturing partner for the Mako polo shirt runs the only factory in the world to have met the textiles procurement standard set by Greenpeace which requires the use of organically farmed natural fibres, no harmful substances, fair pay and complete transparency.  

How successful have your bamboo tees proven with golfers? 

Thankfully they have been exceptionally well received!

Despite being such a simple product, the tees have allowed us to explain what we are all about.

Our bold designs, unique packaging and transparency over materials and production processes has been appreciated by golfers and I’m glad to hear that the tees have sparked some bigger conversations on the tee box as well! 

Golf clubs like Royal North Devon started to ban plastic tees at the same time we launched our Crowd initiative to help clubs ban tees.

We’ve been proud to work with the Euro Pro Tour, with European Tour events and we have some great announcements – hopefully – to make after everything gets back to normal, whatever that means! 

RELATED: OLDEST ENGLISH GOLF CLUB BANS PLASTIC GOLF TEES

What are your thoughts about the coronavirus pandemic on the game right now? How is this having an effect on your business? 

The impact has been enormous for all aspects of the game and particularly those working in the events space, but I think we all appreciate that the steps that have been taken were essential.

When we are through this, it will be very interesting to see whether there is a change to people’s values and attitudes.

Personally, I will want to spend as much time as possible outside surrounded by my friends and family, and what better way to do that than by playing golf?

We have been quite lucky so far. There has been no delay in the production and delivery of the Mako polo shirt and we have also been able to carry on fulfilling our online tee orders.

I am positive things will pick back up quickly as soon as the lock down is lifted, and I hope we do not lose too many good golf businesses before then.  

RELATED: BRITISH GOLF COURSES EXPECTED TO REOPEN IN MAY

 

 

What’s next for OCEAN TEE?

We are following the Mako up with our “Wobbegong” zip sweater at the end of June. This is also named after a shark and is made from a novel recycling technique to create really unique products.

In the Autumn we will be adding our first women’s product, which will be made from yet another amazing sustainable fabric.

In addition, we have a castle tee coming out in late May and we have decided to extend our Crowd initiative until the end of the year to help clubs get back on their feet and go into 2021 with a plastic free future.

Fingers crossed we’ll have some great Tour event partnerships in the men’s and women’s game to talk about next time we speak. 

For more information about OCEAN TEE products, please visit www.oceanteegolf.com

 

Comments

Loading Comments...