Singer Justin Vernon and his band, Bon Iver, have made environmental issues a core part of their ethos. That’s why they teamed up with Wisconsin print shop Ambient Inks in 2019 to sell consciously sourced merchandise on their tour and band’s website.
“It was a few years that we were just selling merch, and it was cool. But with Ambient, there’s another thing going on with sustainability,” Vernon said in a video posted on the band’s website. “Everybody in both organizations need each other. We’re trying to make all the communities we interact with stronger by doing this. We have to act now, with all this stuff. Considering the global impact…the planet is burning, and it’s time to act and to do as much as you can.”
Since teaming up with Ambient Inks, Bon Iver has sold nearly 20,300 garments as part of the i,i album collection, which in turn has helped save nearly 10 million gallons of water in the process, according to stats on Bon Iver’s website. The sales have also helped reduce over 74,000 ounces of harmful chemicals and nearly 29,000 ounces of crude oil, as well as remove over 28,000 plastic bottles from landfills.
The i,i album line with Ambient Inks includes recycled, organic, and sustainably made T-shirts, long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, and jackets. Other items include tote bags, hats, bandanas, as well as sustainably made notebooks, consciously sourced patches, and USA-made stickers.
“Clothing has a way bigger impact than what the fan is taking in,” said Aaron Brice, the co-founder and director of Ambient Inks, in the video on Bon Iver’s website. “This [i,i album] merch line set the standard for what I would consider a very socially conscious, environmentally conscious line. That was choosing items that are in the category organic, USA made, sustainable, using recycled polyester from plastic bottles, recycled cotton that is usually discarded as waste.”
With the success of the partnership with Ambient Inks, Bon Iver has continued to work in the sustainable merchandise space, announcing in February 2020 that it has collaborated with the Portland-based company Loopworks to create a re-purposed and upcycled line of backpacks, hip packs, and pillows.
The band will continue to sell the consciously sourced merchandise as part of their 2020 tour.
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