The Story of Atayne
"I'm just writing the story that I want to read."
-Jean M. Auel
The story of Atayne goes back to a hot and humid Washington DC morning in May 2007 when company founder Jeremy Litchfield used a new red performance shirt for the first time. By the time he finished his run, the lower half of his body was covered in red dye. Adding insult to injury, his shorts, socks, and shoes were all stained in red dye.
The experience left him with an uneasy feeling: what nasty chemicals were being absorbed into his body as he was trying to make himself healthier by running? He decided to do some research and found out some remarkable things:
Most performance apparel is based on out of date technologies that pose harm to people and the planet.
- Newer technologies exist that are not only safer, they perform better.
What started out as a bad experience with a red running shirt has transformed into a company dedicated to inspiring positive social and environmental change through the power of active lifestyles. The first chapter in this journey, high performance athletic gear made from ”trash.” Where the story goes is anyone’s guess, but one thing is for certain -- Atayne will never make a "red shirt."
Atayne is proud to be a Certified B Corporation, a rigorous 3rd party certification awarded only to companies that meet the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility. In 2013, 2014, and 2015 we were recognized as one of the “Best for the World” businesses by scoring in the top 10% of all B Corps for overall positive impact. Additionally, Atayne was recognized as Best for the World in the Environmental Category all three years as well.
When you support a Certified B Corporation like Atayne, you’re supporting a better way to do business. Certified B Corporations meet rigorous, independent standards of social and environmental performance. They are creating greater economic opportunity, strengthening local communities, and preserving the environment.
Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on the long-term interests of their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment. The ultimate goal of the certifying organization, B Lab, is to create a new, legally recognized corporate form (like a C-Corp or S-Corp) with tax incentives, procurement preferences, and a social stock exchange for sustainable businesses.
Our reason for becoming a Certified B Corporation is simple–actions speak louder than words. It is one thing for us to preach our commitment to environmental and social responsibility. It is yet another thing for us to back up those words. Becoming a certified B Corp was an important step to communicate to the Atayne community that we mean what we say. We are legally bound in by our operating agreement to do so.
B Corps. A better way to do business. Find out for yourself at www.bcorporation.net/atayne.
We may be biased, but we think our products perform as good as anything on the market. But, we also think that anyone can offer high performing outdoor and athletic apparel. It's kind of table stakes. If a company's products do not perform, they will find themself out of business almost as fast as Usain Bolt can run 100 meters.
At Atayne, we offer more than just performance. We offer Performance with a Point of View. And it all starts with the progressive materials we use:
All of our products (not just a few) are made using the maximum amount of recycled materials possible. By using American made Repreve® recycled polyester derived from plastic bottles, Atayne’s products prevent usable materials from going into landfills and save considerable energy and water compared to virgin polyester. In 2016, Atayne’s operations prevented 8.0 metric tons of plastic bottles from going into landfills, conserved over 119,502 kilowatt hours of energy, saved 31.5 metric tons of CO2 from being emitted, conserved nearly 42,000 liters of drinking water, and supported 9 full-time American manufacturing jobs.
All of the materials used in our products have been 3rd party certified for safety, eliminating toxic chemicals and known carcinogens from our production process and products.
All our printing is done with inks free of hormone disrupting phthalates
Atayne has become a leader in redefining how the apparel industry operates and has re-engineered the way apparel is developed, manufactured, and delivered to athletes. Atayne combines domestically made recycled fabrics with a USA based Just-In-Time (JIT) production process that allows us to delay making a product until it is purchased. We make a sale and then make the product. We then deliver to our customer straight from the factory. This model is better for the environment since it eliminates the use of resources and energy on products that are not wanted in the market.
One of the key elements of our JIT production process is a localized production model, that is, making our products as close as possible to where we sell them. This is done not only for quicker manufacturing but also to minimize the harmful emissions and pollution from our supply chain and to support local jobs. Below is an overview of our current supply chain:
- Yarn - The yarns used to develop our fabrics are made in North Carolina.
- Fabric - Our fabrics are knitted at mills in North and South Carolina.
- Cut & Sew - Our garments are cut and sewn in facilities in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
When it all comes together, Atayne is not simply addressing the symptoms of a broken model by offering "greener products." Atayne is solving root problems and changing the entire model to generate better environmental, social, and financial returns.
When it comes to the branding on Atayne's apparel, we follow the mantra of “lead with our values, and the brand follows.” Instead of plastering our logo all over our apparel like other brands, we want to give the Atayne tribe a voice. A chance to perform at their best while expressing important environmental and human rights messages.
Our vivid and bold designs are not for everyone. Some people prefer to stay quiet and follow the swooshes and the stripes. But for those of you who would rather stand up for what you believe in and promote YOUR values -- not just the logo of a multi-million dollar corporation, we think Atayne products are right in your wheelhouse.
Ever wonder who is behind the brands and products you buy? Well here are our c-founder's profiles. Our stories are very different up to this point but, one thing is for sure, we are Atayners. Interested in joining the team? Don’t send us your resume or cover letter! That is not our style. Find another way to get our attention.
Atayne Product Performance
"So your products are sensitive on the environment. But how do they perform?"
We get that question a lot at camp Atayne. And it's a good question. Many people still have a hard time believing that recycled performance apparel performs as well as all the conventional stuff. Well here's the thing, the fabrics we use are not that much different from our competitors. Most performance apparel is made from virgin polyester. Our apparel is made from 100% recycled polyester. In most regards, recycled and virgin polyester are the same thing. Both fabrics wick moisture from your body and dry quickly. This helps you better regulate your body temperature. Something that is very important during endurance activities like running, cycling, and hiking.
However, there is a key difference between our recycled polyester fabrics and our competitor's virgin fabrics. The raw material for our fabics is post-consumer plastic bottles. The raw material for their fabrics is petroleum. Because of this difference, it takes 70% less energy to make our fabrics. We also help to prevent plastic bottles from going into landfills. Depending on the size of garment, it can be between 5 to 10 plastic bottles.
We can go on and on about how well our products perform and give you reams of data from lab testing. But here is the thing, we don't play in a lab and we know you do not either. Whether you are running, cycling, or hiking, we are pretty sure you are doing it in the outdoor elements of the sun, rain, snow, cold and heat. Not a controlled environement in a lab. You are also probably not on a treadmill. You are on the roads and trails, and in the mountains and deserts.
So instead of giving you data from a lab, here are some testimonials from some happy Atayne athletes.
“Just thought I would tell you that I love my shirt! It's amazing, performs excellently, I love the color green of it, and I had so many people ask me about it when I met up with my marathon training group a few weeks ago and wore it (to run 23 miles--and it was comfortable and dry for all 23 of them). It created great discussions about recycling, trash at marathons and other running events, and the type of environmental impact that runners have on the earth. Thanks for doing something truly amazing.”
“I don't know if it was the shirt, but I wore it for a jog today and went further and easier then usual. I have a bunch of cotton t-shirts and have run in them. Only recently have I been getting some technical shirts at races and have come to really like them. Some are real good at wicking and others look good but the Atayne is both. It was nicely warm at first and as I warmed up it got rid of the perspiration nicely. When I really heated up it didn't get clammy. It does it all and I went further than usual and with less effort.”
“WOW! What a great shirt! From the way it feels, stays dry through the 8th repeat, the great fit, and looks sweet. You guys have put a great shirt out there.”
"I ran my first 50 mile race a few weeks ago. I finished 2nd overall with a time of 8:03:29! I wore my Atayne shirt, because, well, it's my favorite shirt to run in! I had never worn it for that long before, and I just wanted to let you know that it was the best shirt I could have ever worn. For 8 hours of running it didn't give me any chafing, and by the end of it I still smelt pleasant enough for my crew to hug me in celebration! The temperatures ranged from about mid-40s at the start of the race, and by the time I finished I think the temp was up around 70. The shirt kept me at the perfect temperature the whole time. Amazing. Thank you so much for making such a great product. I'm going to recommend these shirts to every runner I know (especially ever ultra runner)."
"Shirt drew lots of comments. Performed well. Finished first female and 8th overall at the Ice Age 50 miler. Loved the feel of the shirt."
"Wish our Army PT Uniform shirts were as comfortable or as environmentally conscious."
"I have 2 of these shirts, one was a premium at a recent race and the second I bought at the race's expo. The material is so soft and pliable, the cut fits well, and overall design is sharp looking. But one of my favorite parts is the weight. Entering Fall, this shirt has a little extra thickness to transition seasons better than anything else I have. I believe it'd still be light enough for summers, but this is it's prime time. I never heard of Atayne until the Freedom's Run expo and am very glad to have been exposed to them, both for the shirts I'll keep buying and the mindset of the company!"
"From running in a sweltering North Carolina summer to hiking up an early season snowfield in Washington, this shirt can handle it all. The material is a bit heftier than other synthetic running shirts and has a soft feel next to the skin. In spite of this, it has a generally breezy feel to it and maintains the ability to effectively wick sweat without getting weighted down. I would also say that the chitosan helps to keep the odors down - after hiking days on end, it seemed to smell a bit less than a typical synthetic shirt. After owning it for a year and a half, the cumulative odor build-up common to most synthetics also has yet to develop."
"I've been an Atayne running shirt lover since their first incarnation, and they just get better and better. My running group (Chicago Ultrarunners) purchased the Grind Ts as our group running shirt and I wear mine for every race! They have stood the test of time...and grime! I love the little loop on back so I can just rinse my shirt and hang it in the shower to dry so that it's ready for me the next day. Atayne is my hero :)"