Oatly's Latest Apparel Collection Is a Big Step Forward for Sustainable Branded Merch
You might remember Oatly from that weird Super Bowl commercial everybody hated, but the brand wants to be known for more than just oat milk and jingles. It wants to be known as a sustainability company—specifically, a “sustainability company that happens to make oat milk and merch,” according to its Instagram.
The company on Monday explained how all that comes together, announcing a limited merch drop featuring 10 vintage jackets upcycled into branded merchandise by 10 different artists. Each jacket is one-of-a-kind, with the item listings including information on their place of origin (from Minneapolis to Ukraine) and the artist behind the design.
The jackets are listed for $250 apiece and feature messages like "choose plants" and "post milk generation" screen printed and embroidered on. Proceeds from each sale will go toward the Lower Eastside Girls Club, a New York City charity.
Via Oatly's website:
For sure, these are drops happening in a boring oat milk company web shop, but they’re really about incredible artists creating more magic than merch—all for a great cause! We’re working with the fantastic stylist Young-Ah Kim to rescue vintage clothing items and then we’re partnering with artists to turn each one into a piece of wearable art with a planet-forward message, and putting those pieces back into the world via our web shop so you can appreciate their awesome vibes for a few decades, and maybe even pass them along to the next generation.
The collection is part of a broader initiative Oatly is calling "ReRuns"—a "not-so-little experiment in upcycling stuff into merch-like objects that skip the unsustainable cycle of fast-fashion in favor of thoughtfully made pieces as planet-forward as the propaganda they’re covered in," per the company's website.
Oatly is releasing one jacket a day for 10 days (so far, two have sold and two are still available), but the ReRuns collection also includes several T-shirts not subject to the limited availability. Like the jackets, the shirts are also upcycled from pre-owned blanks—buyers can select from a few prints and sizes, but the color and style of each shirt will vary from order to order.
It's a neat approach to branded merchandise that allows Oatly to back its sustainability message with concrete action. And while the jackets are handcrafted works of art, the T-shirts are closer to traditional merch. The idea could work for other brands that want to give something like this a shot without straying too far from the usual branded apparel formula.