WILL&BEAR -THE SUSTAINABLE HAT BRAND THAT HELPS PLANT TREES
In our exclusive interview with the founders of Will & Bear we talk about fashion beyond sustainability. This is how they continue to inspire a community of nomads who are educated about positive human-nature co-existence whilst giving back to their community
Words: Emily Georgieva
20 March 2020
On-the-road lifestyle, incredible places and the lust of travellers was the inspiration for creating Will&Bear. The high-quality brand exists because of the love of travel. The founders believe in giving back to their community. Not only sustainably made, the hats that the brand creates are also entirely influenced by the beauty of nature. Will&Bear continue to grow four years after it was founded to include wanderlust nomads, conscious shoppers and adventurists into their wonderful community!
Made in China, Mongolia and Sri Lanka, the hats are tailored from 100% natural materials and recycled fibers. Not only stylish looking, they are also fair-trade, REACH and SGS approved (global certifications for process, standards and trade). We simply fell in love with the brand at first sight! The cool designs are remarkable and the style of the hats is uniquely crafted for the explorers of the great wide world. If this isn’t enough to get you scrolling through their online shop, the fact that Will&Bear team up with trees.org just might!
This is fashion beyond the industry. The brand has a forward-thinking approach. Their ongoing partnership with the environmentally friendly organisation helps grow forests and mirrors the way the founders spread awareness about the human impact on nature.
Designed in Australia. Homemade for the world.
Will&Bear create products that keep giving back. Their community of likely-minded travellers and adventurists has started a movement. Every hat contributes to the Forest Project – each purchased hat equals 10 planted trees. There have been over 116.9 hectares of trees planted so far. This reassures the continuity of native species in the areas and strengthens the soil. The forests of trees provide income for many families who make a living from agriculture. Through their collaboration with the Forest Project, the brand gives each customer a platform to become part of this incredible chain of giving back to nature whilst working towards climate stability.
From caps to bucket hats, beanies to wide brim hats – take your pick! Choosing between the designs is a challenge as they are all uniquely beautiful, practical and aesthetically pleasing. The founders, Lauren and Alex continue to be inspired by nature. Their love of travelling was the reason they created their first hats, but it was also why they went that extra mile to make sure their community keeps roaming without limitations. You can shop their accessories, such as the Carry Clips, which allow you to carry your hat comfortably with you wherever your feet take you and know that it is safe and sound.
‘‘If sustainability is important to you, be proud to stand up for what you believe in!’’
Lauren Williams, co-founder of Will&Bear
Lauren Williams, co-founder of Will&Bear
We talked to Lauren (WILL) and Alex (BEAR) about their journey, the reason they founded the business and why seeking adventure is so important to them. Here's what Lauren shared with us:
NOMADSofORIGIN: Can you remember the moment you decided to start the company? Did you ever expect it to become so influential?
Will&Bear: We had just started a road trip around Tasmania and were on the hunt for a good hat for the trip. After searching a few stores we were left feeling a little disheartened, sure we found hats but none from a brand that resonated with us or filled us with a sense of adventure. When we would stop in a town for supplies, we would inevitably end up rummaging through the local op-shop for hidden gems. We found incredible vintage yet timeless hat styles every time and this started the conversation of creating our own hat brand. One that connects you to and gives back to nature. We never imagined the impact we'd be able to have!
NOMADSofORIGIN: What is the best place you’ve been to that would be a perfect stop for a stylish nomad inspired by the outdoors?
Will&Bear: To many to count! A few of our favourites are Bay of fires, Tasmania. Flinders Ranges, South Australia. South Island, NZ.
NOMADSofORIGIN: What are your travel rituals whenever you decide to hit the road?
Will&Bear Alex (Bear) Ritual is surfing & Loz (Will) is yoga/meditation daily. To keep our sanity and fitness in check while on the road.
NOMADSofORIGIN: Seeking adventure is clearly important for you both. The love of being on the road was the inspiration for Will&Bear. Do you think it is crucial that we all seek and follow our wanderlust in a sustainable way that leaves a positive impact on nature?
Will&Bear: For us, Vanlife has allowed us to grow immensely through being outside of your comfort zone and constantly feeling like you’re on a never-ending adventure is addictive. As individuals we wanted to make a difference to the environment, create a business we would be proud to work for and create a community around those ideas. We designed a vehicle for change that you see today as Will & Bear. We wanted to build something we would be proud to promote and allowed our personal and business goals to align.
Needless to say, the Vanlife isn't for everyone. With that being said, we think the days are over for new brands to think of starting without first thinking of the environment. This is a message we want to spread and hope this campaign helps.
NOMADSofORIGIN: You have traveled to many places and roamed the lands of different countries. Which culture you encountered left the most lasting impression on you?
Will&Bear: Senegal, Africa. We were lucky enough to be able to visit and stay in some very remote communities while visiting the tree planting project we work with. The family culture in senegal was amazing, so much love and care for a community.
NOMADSofORIGIN: Is there a brand or sustainably thinking designer we should be watching closely?
Will&Bear: Gosh there are so many! We’ve seen a massive trend in this direction of late, and it’s something that makes us super proud to be a part of. To name a few: Opia, The Social Outfit, Outland Denim, Salt Gypsea.
NOMADSofORIGIN: What is your favourite hat from the collections right now?
Will&Bear: William Brown, hands down. This was the very first hat we ever designed and has been our best seller in the range since we launched a few years ago. This product represents what we stand for, simple design.
NOMADSofORIGIN: Thank you so much for your time. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Will&Bear: If sustainability is important to you, be proud to stand up for what you believe in! Find your community and get involved, the people around us are such a massive part of the success of our Will & Bear. From being inspired by their journeys, seeking advice or just having the support of people you care about is so important.
Photography: Aura House
Photography: Aura House
Shop the products online
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NOMADSofORIGIN x Will&Bear
This interview appears in NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine print issue #02 THE CLIMATE CHANGE ISSUE.
NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.
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