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The sustainable sneaker start-up Allbirds desires to take over your wardrobe

The start-up, known in Silicon Valley for its comfortable slippers, is hoping to take on another part of your closet.

Allbirds ventures further into the clothing category and introduces four new articles on Tuesday: A T-shirt made from discarded crab shells; a wool jacket; a wool sweater (a Britishism for a sweater); and a wool puffer jacket – all made from the same New Zealand merino wool found in Allbird's popular shoes.

The launch comes more than a year after Allbirds started selling socks. This is the first outing in shoes. Underwear sales began earlier this year, indicating that more apparel products were on the way.

The new products double their commitment to using sustainable materials, including plants, recycled plastic bottles and now crab shells.

"Does the world really need a T-shirt?" Co-founder Tim Brown asked during an interview. "The fashion industry doesn't need another t-shirt unless it's better."

Brown said the company first identified a waste stream, which in this case represents an excess of snow crab shells in Canada's fishing industry. To make the shirts, minerals are extracted from the shells and mixed with wool. The result: an antimicrobial fabric that can kill bacteria, Brown said.

"The result is very special," he said.

Allbirds & # 39; new T is $ 48, the cardigan is $ 145, the sweater is $ 135, and the puffer is $ 250.

During the coronavirus pandemic has The weaker apparel sales, with fewer people dressing for work and other special occasions, has been a boon for Allbirds. Consumers want convenience, and Allbirds is known for that. The company launched its first running shoe in April. A separate mobile app was recently launched.

"Our business has been extremely resilient at a very difficult time," said Brown. "On top of that, we've seen a really incredible surge in consumer interest in sustainability."

Allbirds plans to expand its range of clothing. But as with shoes, it starts small.

"We're focusing on a handful of important things that we want to dig deeper into," said Brown. "We only sold one shoe in the first year and a half of our existence."

The start-up, founded in 2016, is perhaps best known for its $ 95 wool sneaker. Allbirds sold its millionth shoe in just two years. It has grown to attract the attention of big-name investors like actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Last month, $ 100 million was landed in a Series E funding round. Funding, led by Franklin Templeton, was Allbirds at $ 1.7 billion, according to a person familiar with the round. In 2018, the sustainable footwear maker raised $ 50 million.

"I think this speaks to the wider financial and investor community's concern for the environment and sustainability," Brown said of Allbirds' latest funding round.

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