Maximizing Performance and Sustainability
New Kickstarter campaign: The young label NEUALP solves an age old dilemma of outdoor clothing by perfecting functionality and design together with nature and recycling
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PLAUEN, June 02, 2021 – Those who love the outdoors and enjoy roaming its rougher climes are usually faced with a tough decision when it comes to choosing the right wardrobe: performance or sustainability? This is especially true for the highly engineered functional clothing in the outdoor sector, both sides are rarely considered compatible. But that is changing today – and as so often, the solution comes from the niche. The small, innovative label NEUALP from Plauen in the Vogtland region of Germany has just launched its campaign on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter for a new generation of thermally insulated jackets that proves otherwise: high quality and environmental awareness can very well be combined.
“I’ve always found it extremely regrettable that outdoor textiles, of all things, have a particularly lousy environmental footprint in their manufacture,” says founder Sascha Eichelkraut. On one of those memorable evenings in the Alps, when the wind-swept peaks glowed in the last of the sunlight, the passionate mountaineer and climber decided to finally resolve this dilemma. Surely it must
be possible to develop specialized garments that meet the highest standards of functionality and performance, aesthetics and design on the one hand, but on the other hand also make resource conservation and sustainability from production to distribution a prerequisite. Eichelkraut began to research and investigate, tested various material combinations, explored manufacturing processes, drew up a mission statement and set out to find appropriate partners. Already at the end of 2018, the first models of a thermally insulated outdoor jacket went into series production after the successful Kickstarter campaign, and the extremely positive feedback from global buyers and from the scene proved him right.
“With the launch of our label NEUALP, we primarily wanted to test the market. Since then, we have been working on optimizing it in every way,” the entrepreneur continues. “This perpetual search for new ways and solutions, for further improvements in a wide variety of details and processes naturally also promotes creativity and is really fun. This also includes the exciting talks with our customers, whom we have involved intensively.” After a year and a half of constant development, two new products have now been created, and the crowdfunding that has just started is intended to secure funding for the production of the first batch.
The ASCENTEC HYBRID JACKET uses a novel hybrid construction of two natural insulation materials. “Wool and recycled Down combined give a superior performance that really surprised us. This is high-tech direct from nature that doesn’t require the consumption or even the contamination of vast amounts of water.” Their use together is based on the body-mapping principle, i.e. according to their specific strengths and the requirements of the body. The chamber construction in the back retains heat, while the wool simultaneously provides heat and moisture regulation. The outer material also ensures overarching well-being: weather-proof ripstop nylon made from 100% recycled industrial waste.
The FUSION MERINO MIDLAYER, meanwhile, impresses with a waffle-style structure made of merino wool on the inside. “Normal fleece, after all, has the major disadvantage of releasing a multitude of microplastic particles into the environment. In our case, however, these are biodegradable fibers of merino wool.” Moreover, in strategic zones of the midlayer that require special protection, sheep’s wool is used as insulation. “And, of course, we’ve also made sure that the sheep themselves, whose wool we process, can enjoy their lives in natural and sustainable conditions.”
The defining theme runs through like a thread. Even some history provided inspiration: in the Kickstarter campaign clip, Hans Carl von Carlowitz addresses the audience. While in his book
“Sylvicultura oeconomica,” published in 1713, he coined the term sustainability and is thus considered its inventor, even if he was still referring purely to forestry at the time. The Electoral Saxon chamberlain and mountain councillor as well as chief miner of the Ore Mountains also owned a forest district in the Vogtland, Eichelkraut’s homeland. “Sustainability has therefore been in our DNA for over 300 years, so to speak. Many mountain sports and outdoor enthusiasts explore here anyway, and their community is particularly aware of our responsibility to the environment.” And so it is only logical that Sascha Eichelkraut will ship his products in boxes that are largely made of grass fibers.
The FUSION MERINO MIDLAYER will be available in the future at a unit price of about 170 euros, the ASCENTEC HYBRID JACKET will be around 330 euros. The Kickstarter campaign offers a number of price advantages and savings of up to 1⁄3 off the MSRP.. Assuming a successful crowdfunding – with the goal of 10,000 euros – delivery of the products will begin in January 2022. At the same time, NEUALP is already tackling the next projects: “There are already more products in the pipeline, including a highly functional three-layer hardshell jacket that consists largely of recycled materials and is produced entirely without solvents. We’re also fine-tuning concepts to ensure the longevity of our products – that’s all about repair, reuse and ultimately recycling.”
NEUALP is an innovative supplier of specialized clothing for mountain and outdoor sports. Based in Plauen, Germany, the owner-managed company develops and distributes unique products that meet the highest standards of quality and environmental responsibility. NEUALP guarantees performance and sustainability from material research to processing, shipping and application.
About the person:
Sascha Eichelkraut was born in Plauen in 1977, where he still lives and works today. Already as a child he discovered his love for nature and especially for the mountains. His parents’ numerous excursions to Saxon Switzerland and the High Tatras were not entirely innocent of this. After his training as a banker, he therefore fulfilled his compulsory military service with the Mountain Infantry Battalion 571, which was stationed in Schneeberg in the Ore Mountains. After longer stays abroad in America and Turkey, where topography further served his passion, Eichelkraut decided to study political science in Marburg and Moscow and subsequently broadened his horizons via further research stays in the USA and Russia. Since 2015, Sascha Eichelkraut has been working as a management consultant in his native Plauen and enjoys spending his free time in the nearby Steinicht, one of the oldest climbing areas in Germany. In 2018, he founded the label NEUALP.
Sascha Eichelkraut (owner)
08523 Plauen, Germany
+49 3741 25 18 52 1