Joe Fox is a professional race car driver who started his company, Dirtball, to keep water bottles out of landfills and guys warm, dry and styling.
5 years ago I left the world of racing to start Dirtball, a 100% made in the USA, 100% recycled content apparel brand. Since then we have done some really cool things and along the way helped create and maintain a few hundred US textile jobs and keep hundreds of thousands of water bottles out landfills. Our latest creation is “The 50”, aptly named because it is made frorm 50 water bottles. It is also recyclable, the first ever closed loop piece of outerwear. When I founded Dirtball it was with the purpose of making clothing that would make a difference. A product that would be both environmentally and economically sustainable. With billions of water bottles going into our landfills annually, we decided to have recycled water bottle content in all of our clothes. The 50, our latest creation takes it to another level by making a product that is now on a closed loop. This means the item can be recycled into another product after its life as a jacket has ended, like an aluminum can for instance.
For Dirtball, from the start, we wanted to make as light a footprint as possible. Whether it is with the materials we use, the shipping distances our materials travel from mill to mill or how we package our products, we think about sustainability in everything we do. We have found that this can be easy but also can be extremely difficult—and is what makes Dirtball unlike any other brand. The big guys can’t change how they produce and for startups that want to follow in our footsteps, they have to develop an extensive supply chain, and the management of it is very difficult. On average each of our products is made using 4 different mills. The 50 uses 6. The fabric is made at one, it is dyed at another, quilted at another and assembled at yet another. The zippers and trim tabs come from another 2 mills. The difficulty in finding and coordinating to develop a reliable supply chain actually gives us a competitive advantage. Other jacket manufacturers simply don’t have the knowledge or wherewithal to develop such an extensive and somewhat complex supply chain so they just don’t do it. To that end I actually enjoy it. Every time we put in a purchase order with a mill I know that I have helped keep those American mill workers working for either a day, a week, or a month and brings me great satisfaction.
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