Admitting that it was time to give in and get a rain coat felt like a dangerous step towards middle age. First you buy a raincoat, then you start classing a trip to the local garden centre as a solid day out. Next up it’s exercise classes that take place entirely on a chair and then it’s staring resentfully at your husband each morning over a bowl of bran flakes. It’s a slippery slope, is what I’m saying.
That is, of course, unless you buy a raincoat that’s cool AF. So that’s what I did. Enter: Insane In The Rain. As with most new things, they were an Instagram discovery and their distinctly non-garden centre aesthetic instantly appealed, as did their ethical credentials. As a brand, they are staunchly anti-single use plastic. Their jackets are made from RPET, a recyclable fabric created from PET plastics (things like water bottles) and they avoid using any new plastic in their production or shipping. So far, so completely perfect but I wanted to know more. I was mid-shopping break at the time after all, so I wanted to be sure the first thing I bought once the three months were up was suitably ethically sound.
So, I emailed IITR to ask them what they could tell me about their factories. This is what I wrote:
I love everything Insane in the Rain is all about and your Earth jacket is next on my list. Before I buy, I was wondering if you could provide a little info about your factories? For example, do you visit them/are they audited/how do you ensure they’re safe and fair?
Luckily, they welcomed the opportunity to talk about their factories, with whom they work very closely. The first, their fabric supplier based in Shanghai, is run by a woman named Helen who wholeheartedly shares the brand’s passion for protecting the planet. The second, which manages production, is run by a kind soul called Unicorn (that’s his chosen western name and I genuinely love him for it) who taught his employees all about IITR’s ‘be kind, be aware’ philosophy.
Not only do they ensure they visit their family-run factories regularly to harbour a close working relationship, they work hard to support the needs of the community, helping to employ local women in their factories and offices.
They were so open and willing to talk about their factories, it made for a refreshing and decidedly welcome departure from infamous big brands who take a ‘not our responsibility’ approach. Sub-contractors and diluted supply chains lead to underhanded operations and diminished culpability but IITR are happy to own their process from start to finish; not just whispering about it when pushed but openly discussing the details with their curious customers.
So, the ethics and the sustainability both add up, what about the aesthetics? Well, we’ve already established that this brand is cool AF and in my world, that generally means vibrant, stand-out, bright and any other descriptor for ‘hi, look at these clothes’ style. I can confirm they live up to all of that. They do florals, polka dots, abstract shapes, geometric prints and, my choice, the ‘Earth’ jacket. For once, I didn’t go for the brightest of the bunch. Instead, I opted for the versatility of their angular, contemporary take on camo. It goes with everything in my wardrobe and I’ve yet to not receive a compliment when wearing it.
The boxy, oversized cut (I went for a size 4) distinguishes it from its more functional counterparts yet it can stand up to any downpour with zero problems. It’s without a doubt one of the most practical purchases I’ve ever made but it works beyond the parameters of its intended purpose. I layer over jeans and a shirt on cooler days, throw it on over my workout gear for my cycle to the gym, wear it over dresses to add a twist to my look and pair it with prints when I feel like clashing. It’s more than just a raincoat. Sure, it’s a statement piece but it also represents a kinder outlook, a dedication to our environment, a commitment to treating people fairly and different way of thinking.
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