THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
We took the road less travelled, because the other one’s on fire.
Two roads diverged in a wood,
This morning my local forest is on fire. I don’t live in Parietti’s home, Mallorca like our Founder Paul, where forest fires have become common. Rather I live in a place where I can look at the news feed, feel sad, shocked, outraged and then look at some pictures of cats in hats. Yes, I live where these things are someone else's problem - in Berlin, to be precise; in the suburbs. The calm, quiet, rich and leafy suburbs where nothing ever happens… and it’s burning.
I found out this morning when setting out for my morning ride along the Grunewald, a massive forest on the outskirts of the city and home to one of my favourite cycling routes, the Kronprinzessinnenweg - the very place where I had my first ‘Parietti Experience’ - but that’s a story for another time, because I couldn’t ride the Kronprinzessinnenweg this morning. It’s on fire.
So what did I do? I acted Immediately of course. I turned right around, raced home and started writing. Yes, I’m going to save the world one blog post at a time! You see at Parietti we are an eternally hopeful and gleefully optimistic bunch, always looking for the best, for the BE GOOD in every situation, and we want to share this good with you with all that we do. From our clothes to our posts and everything in between. And the good we find in this fire, and all the others raging around the world as we speak, is that this summer - the hottest summer on record (again!) - is the summer we all wake up.
It’s the summer we as a species as a global community finally get it. Because it has become unavoidable. It’s not in America or Australia, ‘down there’ in the so-called global south. It’s not somewhere else, it’s not the ‘other’ any more, not someone else’s problem, it’s here in the privileged north and it’s all ours. So what are we going to do about it (apart from writing blog posts that is)?
We’re going to make cycling kit. That’s what. And it’s going to change the world, because we’re going to make the best, most pro-planet, pro-people, most relaxed, beautiful and meaningful cycling kit you’ve ever seen. We’re going to do it sustainably and ethically and you’re going to buy it. And that’s what will make the difference - It’s going to be huge and that will show all the other brands with their ‘sustainable ranges’ and their 'commitments to the road to becoming more sustainable' that it’s better to do it now. Better for them, better for you, better for all of us.
Yes we want to make kit that promotes a freer, more joyful attitude to cycling, we want to change the sport, but beyond that, bigger than that we want to change the industry and so change the world. Not to achieve sustainability - come on we don’t want to sustain this. But to go beyond the consume and destroy, eco-suicide of toxic-capitalism - What Alec Leach calls the viscous cycle of compulsive shopping, in his essential book 'The World is on Fire But We're Still Buying Shoes'.
We're not saying these things to upset you, or make you feel bad. Indeed we were very conscious when deciding what stories to tell that we didn’t want to preach. We know no one likes to be told off, to be made to feel bad. And like I said, we’re a hopeful, happy bunch, we want to inspire action, inspire hope, not feed that angst-hamster running on its wheel in the pit of your stomach - That guy! The feeling of fear, of panic, of hopelessness and despair that might be good for selling newspapers, for pushing Facebook posts but it’s not good for us. We are here to set you free remember. Free from the fear, the worry, the despair because there is hope. There is a better way.
We know because we’ve found it. We’ve actually walked the walk, down the less trodden path to making a product, a brand, a business that not only doesn’t do bad, but actually does some good in the world. We’ve reduced impact at every stage from production to delivery. From months spent searching for and testing eco mesh for our cargo shorts when we could easily have just not, and played the ‘it-lasts-longer-therefore-it's-sustainable' card - You can justify any evil with that one - To the extensive research to find home compostable garment bags not the ones that say they’re compostable but actually only decompose in very specific industrial conditions. And while it broke our designers’ aesthetic hearts not to have embossed, spot varnished ‘Thank you’ postcards printed on thick matt finish card, slick hang tags or super cool stickers, we had to say no. Also there are super long lead times for recycled fabric, and we spent ages searching for the Renüa eco yarn used in our forthcoming sock range. And of course we stuck with the far slower local production rather than the "quick and easy" China option to keep quality high and CO2 footprint low across the board. Not to mention the fact that all our jerseys are made from 7.2 plastic bottles and they’re still the most beautiful jersey you’ve ever seen! All this has driven us to despair at times but we never lost sight of the goal - To BE GOOD. To make the world BE BETTER.
But we can’t really do it, can't really make a difference without you. So what are you waiting for? Click that button! Buying one of our jerseys really will change the world. It will prove that the sustainable model is the model, not just because it means we get to survive as a species, which would be nice, but because it actually makes more money than the other way. That’s the way to drive change. As the old saying goes - money talks, bulls#!t walks. All we need to understand as consumers is, we hold the power. If you demand it they will change and I don’t just mean McDonalds changing their signage to green - if we demanded they only made plant based burgers they’d have to do it. And as consumers of cycle clothing we can drive systemic change in the whole clothing industry.
And as producers we’ve walked the road less travelled and if we can do it, be profitable and protect the planet, then all those other brands, they will have to do it too and then maybe, just maybe we’ll get out of this mess. And we will move the dial, move beyond sustainable to regenerative - not just not doing bad, but actively doing good. Protecting where we ride, creating more spaces to ride, free and unrestricted in the wonder of nature, forever.
Two roads diverged in a wood,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
James Harrup is Story Owner at Parietti, he lives in Berlin and is an eternal optimist. His goal is to change the world with story and when he's not steering story strategy or writing blog posts to save the earth he enjoys riding to the cool clear lakes near his home and swimming 'German style'.