Historically, anyone that does not identify as a white cis male has been excluded from the outdoor industry. Women's clothing has been designed around stereotypes with no mind towards functionality. Why do women's hiking pants have fewer and smaller pockets than men's? Lululemon is great... but we want something you can scrape on a rock without being afraid of it ripping.
In 2018 Isabel and Lily were the first women and the first first-year students to win Colby's Business Competition. With 16K in the bank, inspiration in heart and butterflies in the chest, the real journey began. The Greenlight Maine Pitch and UMaine Business Pitch granted more money, advice, advisors and confidence.
R&D for Ruggette's first product, a hiking and climbing pant, began in the garment district of Manhattan. We built our tech pack with Maine based pattern maker Bespoke Branded Fit.
With carbon footprint and environmental impact at the forefront of our decision making, we pursued US factories. After two failed relationships with LA-based factories due to poor production quality, we started to understand why our competitors manufactured overseas. We found that when considering quality and realistic pricing, it was impossible to manufacture in the US.
In 2019, we brought partnered with two key people: Hannah joined as a core team member and we hired a sustainable fashion consultant to help us navigate overseas production, hence our ultimate decision to work with a Chinese based manufacturer vetted by our sustainable fashion consultant. The factory has a Oeko-Tex certification and is used by competitors such as Patagonia and therefore has undergone their extensive vetting process.
Why a Hemp blend?
Hemp is a super fabric...
It has earned the title as one of the most eco friendly fabrics in the world because it requires no pesticides, produces oxygen, can be cultivated in as few as 100 days, controls topsoil erosion, it is hypo allergenic... need us to go on?
Okay we will... hemp's tensile strength is 8x that of cotton, the Native Americans and British used it in sails and rope! Lastly, this eco fabric will also protect you from the sun with its UV resistant qualities. In effect, this means that hemp never dulls and releases stains more easily than other fabrics. Hemp's porous nature creates a breathable, quick drying fabric.
Beyond hemp's visual and tactical importance, our fabric blend includes recycled polyester. Not only does this repurpose polyester but it creates a more athletic feel.