In the fight against climate change rarely is what we wear mentioned as part of the solution. Sustainable fashion has been a huge missed opportunity because it is one of the easiest ways we can live our values. Switching to an organic cotton t-shirt or buying clothes made from recycled plastic water bottles, are relatively easy, tangible ways that we can all wear our values.
By switching to organic cotton, not only do you reduce the amount of water required by up to 60 percent but organic cotton also lowers the amount of pollutants that poison our waterways by as much as 98 percent.
Textile manufacturing is the third dirtiest industry (to agriculture, oil and gas) in the world. We can't ignore the implications of fast fashion. Out of sight out of mind doesn't work when it comes to protecting our environment.
The textile industry needs to move away from conventional cotton and polyester by increasing production of organic cotton and recycling ‘plastic’ polyester. Although polyester is non-biodegradable it can be readily recycled. There’s enough plastic in our world already to do this, instead of building more chemical plants to manufacture virgin PET (polyethylene terephthalate)

Other more environmentally friendly natural fabrics have been largely ignored and under-invested, these include hemp and nettles. A concerted industry effort with greater consumer awareness of what we are exactly wearing should signal a revival of these valuable crops.
As always the bottom line will be a prominent factor, which is why today the cheapest fibre to manufacture polyester is becoming ever more dominant. But when you include the cost to human health and the environment it’s a solution to nowhere.



Several weeks ago I sent the following e-mail to Adidas. So far they have refused to answer any of the questions.

Apparently all of their Social & Environmental Affairs Team are all on vacation at the same time.

Dear Adidas,

I have a new Adidas Climacool sports shirt which states; 100% polyester made in China on the label.
Can I please ask the following specific questions with regard to individual substances used in Adidas polyester sports shirts;
Formaldehyde has recently been confirmed as a carcinogen linked specifically to nasal cancer and leukaemia. Adidas Restricted Substances List (RSL) states the use of formaldehyde. Can you please confirm this and explain the main function of formaldehyde in your polyester sportswear? Do Adidas have any plans to replace formaldehyde with a safer alternative in the near future?

Endocrine disruptor substances (EDC's) are a group of chemicals which according to the latest research can be effective even at very low doses. Can you again please confirm the use of EDC's and provide a list of the EDC's Adidas use and the function(s) they perform in your polyester sport shirts?

Kind regards,




It appears the number 2 is our favourite golf ball number. But instead of just selecting a type face we particularly like, we could instead use an illustration to make the top part of the number look like this. With the intention of expressing our environmental concerns for using fossil fuel derived materials (plastics such as polyester) in sport which are non-biodegradable.

If you consider the sport product life cycle may only be a few years and yet the non-biodegradable synthetic materials they are made from from will be around polluting the environment for hundreds of years.



Two little questions.

Is it ok to use a little bit of a cancer causing substance in my moisture-wicking sports shirt?

Is it ok to use hormone disrupting chemicals which are still effective at very low levels in my sports shirt?



If we were the editors of Golf Digest magazine we’d put the following unseen sporting hero on the cover instead of Michelle Wie.

Phy Phearith – Cambodia textile worker."What I earn is not enough to live on, not even for one person. With overtime, I earn US$80 to US$90 a month. That's for a 10-hour day, six days a week.


In the late 1980s, Colborn, having earned a Ph.D. in zoology at age 58 after a first career as a pharmacist, made a disturbing discovery. A wide variety of predators in the Great Lakes of North America — fish, birds, reptiles and mammals — were suffering from reproductive disorders. They were also contaminated with industrial chemicals that had one thing in common: at the molecular level, they were structurally similar to the hormone estrogen.

Colborn's conclusion: these chemicals, present in everything from pesticides to plastics to cosmetics, interfered with the animals' endocrine systems, where hormones are regulated. Most of her colleagues were skeptical, but Colborn plunged into a frenzy of research, uncovering earlier studies that nobody had paid sufficient attention to and analyzing tissue samples from across the U.S. and Canada. "We had gonads flying around the country," Colborn told TIME in a 1994 story. By then she'd been appointed senior scientist at the World Wildlife Fund, where she directed the Wildlife and Contaminants program.
Colborn's tireless research resulted in the groundbreaking 1996 book Our Stolen Future, and over the past decade she's won over many of the skeptics. "Endocrine disruption has become a distinct discipline of its own," says Colborn, who retired from the World Wildlife Fund in 2003 and returned to her Colorado home to found the Endocrine Disruption Exchange www.endocrinedisruption.com, a clearinghouse for research and information on the topic. "The evidence is now overwhelming that prenatal exposure can lead to irreversible disorders," Colborn asserts. This would explain "the pandemic of endocrine-related diseases we're seeing, especially in the northern hemisphere," she says. "One out of three children born today will develop diabetes — and it's one out of two if you're a minority. Thyroid problems are everywhere."



White beetle black ball by Golf Refugees.
#golfrefugees #whitebeetle #blackball

White is everywhere in our synthetic world but in nature white is pretty rare. The beetle in picture; Cyphocilus, it blends in with certain white mushrooms in South East Asia.



Untrendy is the new trend.


Would you wear nettle? A hundred years ago German uniforms were made from nettle fibres. Nettles can grow on poor quality land /soil without the use of pesticides. The fibre is very strong in tensile, has elastic qualities and natural anti bacterial and flame retardant properties. We are currently investigating the opportunity to use nettle fibres in sportswear. With the objective of producing a lower environmental impact shirt with fewer toxic chemicals.

The dominant fibres today are cotton (non organic) and polyester. They also happen to be the most environmentally damaging; high pesticide usage for growing cotton, petroleum derived polyester with toxic heavy metals and additional chemical finishers. We need to divest funding into forgotten fibres such as nettle which are more environmentally friendly.



The Huffington Post recently posted a list of “5 Truths the Fashion Industry doesn’t want you to know,” all of which are deeply disturbing (and yet not surprising) facts about the sketchy production methods behind those trendy-looking clothes on the mannequins at stores such as Zara, H&M, Forever 21, Topshop, TJ Maxx, and J.Crew, among countless others.

I’ll share 3 of the five ‘truths’ that particularly resonated with me, but I urge you to take a look at the original article, written by Shannon Whitehead, which is very informative.

1. Fast fashion clothes are full of toxic chemicals, including lead.A number of retailers have signed agreements to reduce the amounts of heavy metals in their clothes, but they haven’t followed through. Many chains continue to sell lead-contaminated purses, shoes, and belts that are well above the legal limit.I’ll add that Greenpeace has done a fair amount of work in this area, launching a campaign last winter called “Little Monsters,” a phrase that describes the vile chemical remnants clinging to new clothes long after they’ve left the factories. The effect that these chemicals can have on wearers, particularly children, is serious.
Greenpeace tested 12 major clothing brands (a total of 82 children’s textile products), including companies such as American Apparel, Disney, Adidas, Burberry, Primark, GAP, Puma, C&A and Nike. Every brand contained toxic chemicals – perfluorated chemicals (PFCs), phthalates, nonylphenol, nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE), and cadmium.
2. Beading and sequins indicate child labour.
A large number of overseas-produced clothes are made out of factories in people’s homes, where homeworkers living in single-room slum dwellings with their families struggle to complete as many pieces as they can. Often children help their parents to do the intricate beadwork, perhaps because their little fingers are nimble, but also because the more pieces finished, the more money will come in.Apparently the machines that can do this sort of work are extremely expensive and must be purchased by the garment factory, which is unlikely if cheaper hand labour is available.

3. The fashion industry wants you to feel “out of trend” immediately.With designers creating new styles and flooding stores with new products on a daily or weekly basis, it’s impossible to keep up. No shopper will ever feel that she or he has ‘found’ that timeless style because it changes so fast.The fast fashion business model is built on selling high volume of cheap products that are marginally marked up, meaning that stores have to sell a lot in order to profit, so they’ll do anything to keep people buying. Perpetuating a constant sense of dissatisfaction with the level of one’s trendiness is a model that’s shown to work.

It’s best to stay away. Shop second-hand, buy new from privately owned clothing stores or designer boutiques, buy fewer and higher quality items, or rework undesirable/unfashionable pieces if you’re handy with a sewing machine. There are plenty of alternatives out there, as long as you’re willing to turn away from the addictive ease of fast fashion shopping