EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Passionate about wildlife and the outdoors, Antonio Escalera was inspired to launch ETHYKAL Gear to bring awareness to the Sun City through sportswear made from recycled plastic.
“Since I’m always outside and, you know, since COVID started, I would see all this trash on the mountains, and it would make me really sad. And so, I started thinking about doing something different,” Escalera said. “And so yeah, the idea of the shirts has always been there, but you know, I combined it with the outdoors, the wildlife and trying to recycle.”
The amount of trash he often found when he would hit the trails got him thinking of doing something different to help reduce trash, but also to help the environment. After some research, Escalera found two companies to work with based in Guatemala and Haiti.
Escalera said it takes about eight empty plastic bottles to make one shirt.
“The way they do it is they collect all these plastic bottles, they cut them into little pieces and then they make them into like little spheres,” Escalera said. “Then they make fibers … after they start making shirts, which is pretty cool.” Because he wanted bring attention to the environment and wildlife, the recycled sportswear features local wildlife printed on the front of the clothing.
Escalera said that it’s been an adventure since he had no prior experience in the clothing industry. ETHYKAL Gear doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar store, but sells its clothing through its online store, which launched in the middle of the pandemic.
The name, ETHYKAL Gear, he said, is based on the company’s ethics.
“We want to do something. We want to do business, but we also want to help the environment and help wildlife in a way,” said Escalera.
The company is currently focusing on polyester shirts but hope to expand to offering merchandise made from a mixture of recycled cotton and polyester.
Escalera also partners up with Sun Tribe, a local organization that strives to reconnect people with nature through education, wellness and hiking. Through this partnership, they aspire to showcase the desert by arranging hiking groups.
ETHYKAL Gear is also working on launching a sustainable water bottle made of 50-percent recycled materials. If things go as planned, he hopes to add more styles and options.
You can find ETHYKAL Gear online through their Instagram page or their online shop: https://ethyklgear.com/.