Stio was founded in the ski town Jackson Hole, Wyoming and their mission is “to inspire connection with the outdoors through beautiful, functional products infused with mountain soul”. They sell various outdoors apparel and some products. They use Bluesign® approved textiles wherever possible and are known by their whitebark pine logo, which is inspired by the greater Yellowstone ecosystem and its reflection of nature's perfect design. According to Stio, the logo “reminds us every day that we need to help protect the places we love and every action, big or small, makes a difference”. They do this by incorporating recycled materials and partnering with various organizations including but not limited to The Conservation Alliance, Outdoor Industry Alliance, and Good360.
The women’s Divide Tee LS is made of Drirelease®, a recycled polyester and organic cotton blend (85% recycled poly, 15% organic cotton) that “wicks moisture, maintains shape and neutralizes odor”. The fabric is soft and dries 4x faster than cotton. Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides and from seeds that have been genetically modified. Therefore, less harmful chemicals went into the making of this shirt compared to a regular cotton-blend performance shirt. Recycled polyester keeps plastics from ending up in landfills and the oceans and reduces emissions compared to non-recycled polyester. However, once recycled polyester is blended with cotton, as it is in this shirt, it is nearly impossible to recycle that fabric after it’s use and recycled polyester still releases micro-plastics during washing/drying, similar to regular polyester.
Stio strives to source environmentally friendly textiles, many of which are BlueSign® approved and contain high levels of recycled content. Stio is pushing the outdoors industry to do better with their recycled and organic materials. Other products by Stio are also made with responsibly sourced materials. For example, 100% of Stio's Down is RDS (Responsible Down Standard) Certified. More specific information on how this specific shirt is made is not provided. However, they do provide an in-depth video about the steps to making their Basis Power Wool Baselayer collection which is manufactured in the United States. This product is designed in Wyoming, the fabric is knit and dyed in Tennessee, and the apparel is sewn, finished, and inspected in Pennsylvania before being shipped to customers. All of Stio's products are durably made, which come with a high price tag. This shirt is $69 but meant to last longer than most. I have my own stio shirt and I can attest to its strong durability, as I wore it every other day while I backpacked abroad and it still looks as good as when I bought it. This is also a sustainable aspect of their products, since it reduces the amount of overall consumption of consumers. The expensive nature of the products make it less accessible to everyone, but if you are able to purchase one of their products you won't regret it in the long run.
All Stio apparel is designed, developed and tested in Jackson, Wyoming. However Stio® manufactures products in the USA, Canada, China, El Salvador, and Vietnam. They currently use textiles sourced from the USA, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, Portugal, China, Brazil, El Salvador, Taiwan, and Korea. They provide a disclaimer that manufacturing was pushed abroad because these “countries have become the standard with some of the most highly skilled, technical labor and machinery, along with some of the best business practices in the world”. It is unclear if there was also a financial incentive to this decision. Information about working conditions in international manufacturing locations is not listed on the website, except that they make personal visits an average of 2-4x per year, as well as employ an experienced quality control firm to conduct inspections to ensure compliance. Each year, Outside Magazine conducts a country-wide survey to identify the best places to work in the United States. For three years in a row, 2018, 2019, and 2020, Stio has made the list showing that their Wyoming workers feel supported. Overall, the transparency is above average compared to many other companies that I have reviewed and it is clear that they are trying to use the most sustainable products as possible.