November 24th, 2021
If you have ever taken a dip in the seas that surround the UK, then you will know, it is not for the faint hearted, as we’re not exactly blessed with the best weather here. Water temperatures range from 6-10°C in the winter to 15-20°C in the summer depending on region.
It was preparing for that ocean chill that inspired founder Tom Kay with the inception of Finisterre, a functional and sustainable outdoor clothing brand. As a surfer, Tom knew how important the products were that surfers wore and this is what the brand was born from, the need to make innovative outdoor products to inspire and build upon a shared love for the sea.
It all started in 2003 in a flat above a surf shop with a fleece that was designed to keep out chill winds and warm up cold souls fresh from the sea. Since day one, the brand was founded on three commitments; to people, the environment and the product and it has not stopped in its mission. They are committed to being a pioneer in making sustainable and truly exceptional products that are built responsibly with purpose and to last, challenging and innovating the industry and hoping to inspire a love for the sea.
Their efforts to ignite this inspiration for the sea is also to highlight the importance of it, they believe in protecting what you love. As the global consciousness of our oceans grows, we are aware that we need to do a better job of looking after them. The ocean’s future is our future and half the air we breathe comes from the sea, so it’s critical that we live in harmony.
In their continued quest in inspiring a relationship with the sea and as part of their commitment to their People, they introduced their Into the sea project. This hopes to help provide access to the ocean for all, regardless of gender, location or religion. However, in order to achieve this, products needed to be built to enable it, so say hello to the Finisterre Sea Suit. The suit hopes to help overcome barriers to surfing in countries where modesty laws make access to the ocean difficult for women and young girls. Over four years in development, Finisterre are now testing prototypes in communities across the globe in the hope of creating social change and improving access to the sea for everyone.
Finisterre are not just committed to their people though, as part of their commitment to the product and in a bid to further help look after the environment, in 2005 they started the Bowmont project to resurrect British merino wool. In their pursuit to bring some of their manufacturing closer to home they met Lesley Prior, a Devon shepherdess and guardian of the last twenty-eight Bowmont merino sheep on the planet; a breed capable of producing fine Merino wool but with the hardiness to survive the British climate. A testament to their care and commitment to craftsmanship and British manufacturing, the flock now has over 300 sheep which are all exclusive to Finisterre.
They don’t stop there when it comes to looking after the environment. As the fashion industry is one of the leading polluting industries in the world, Finisterre believes that a new way of clothing the world is urgently needed and that is why they actively promote their Lived and Loved services. They believe that the most sustainable product is the one you already own and that’s why they would rather their customers refresh and breathe new life into one of their existing Finisterre products than throw it away. Lived and Loved is a repairs shop which since it has started has given 6,000 garments a new lease of life so customers can continue to live in their beloved Finisterre products.
As well as this in their efforts towards protecting the environment, in October 2019, they launched their Leave No Trace garment bags which are water soluble, recyclable, biodegradable and break down harmlessly into non-toxic biomass in soil and sea. As an industry first, the bag took over a year to develop and even though they cost almost twice as much as a standard garment bag, they felt that it was a price worth paying to ensure that their packaging had no single-use or non-degradable plastic.
These are just some of the incredible things that Finisterre do as a company day-in and day-out to take responsibility and have a positive impact in everything that they do, so it’s no wonder that in 2018 they were awarded the highly sought after B-corporation status. As the first British outdoor clothing company to be awarded this, it’s a testament to their hard work in growing a business the right way, pushing for change and using their power to help build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
This is something that they have done from the start and they show the power and endless possibilities and opportunities that a brand can have and provide when it chooses to make a stand and be responsible. Tom has truly brought his love for the ocean to life and with it a business that does not falter in its agenda to always do better and take responsibility for its customer, their products and the environment.
Their commitments and never sacrificing their principles in the pursuit of growth has driven their work for the last 17 years and long may it continue as Finisterre are leading the way in transparency, sustainability and accountability.
“I always wanted us to have a purpose wider than just making good products. This ethos has been a guiding star since then in everything that we do; 15 years later, we live and breathe these aims every day.”
Perfectly capturing the essence of the great British outdoors, they have truly made people fall in love with the ocean again.
Written by Daisy Rogers, Head of Copy and Content, Hatched.
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