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10 YEARS ON: PICTURE ORGANIC CLOTHING INTERVIEW

As the most innovative eco-snowsports company out on the slopes right now, we were thrilled to meet and interview the three founders of Picture Organic Clothing. 

 

Joining Julien, Vincent and Jeremy at the screening of their epic new film Zabardast: A High Altitude Travel Diary, we grabbed a beer and, in the comfort of a Shoreditch arthouse cinema, chatted about how it all began, why sustainability is important to them and what the future holds for the entrepreneurial trio. 

 

Picture Organic Clothing Event Electric Cinema Shoreditch organised by ACM. © Sam Mellish

Credit: Sam Mellish

The Origins

It all began in Clermont-Ferrand, France, where three young friends bonded over a passion for skateboarding and, for two months a year, snowboarding too. 

 

Fast forward a decade or so, after completing university and gave working for a living a try, Julien, Jeremy and Vincent decided they needed to work on something more rewarding together. But what? They pondered. 

 

A shop? No.

 

A boardsports park? No. 

 

What about a snowsports brand? Yes! 

 

It was 2008 and Julien was working in events marketing for Coca-Cola, Jeremy was an eco-architect following in his family’s footsteps, and Vincent a recent IT graduate. They soon realised they could combine their snowsports passion with their desire to protect the environment they loved to play in. 

 

Jeremy: “We share the same passions with our friends and family, so it was important to us to create something to inspire our community.” 

 

Julien: “To start with we had no idea how to do it, but we had a strong vision: to make all garments from at least 50% recycled materials.” 

 

So, combining Jeremy’s cutting-edge designs (mapped out as architectural-like drawings!) with a new way of thinking, they set out to create a visionary snowsports brand.

Sustainability

The Picture ethos is simple: Ride. Protect. Share. 

 

10 years on from its humble beginnings, the Picture brand is flying high and leading the way in sustainable skiwear. Whether it’s making ski jackets made from recycled plastic bottles or using 100% PFC-Free water repellent treatments on all technical products, the Picture team is always pushing the industry boundaries. 

 

Julien: “I started my career at Coca-Cola – the world’s largest plastic producer” he says shaking his head ashamedly. “After just a few months I couldn’t see the sense in what I was doing. I knew I could be doing something better for the world.”

 

“We love being in the mountains with each other, with our families and our friends, and we could see the urgent need to protect them right before us.” 

 

“Inspired by what Patagonia had done for their outdoor community, we knew we could introduce a brand to our snowsports community without leaving a big impact. It’s fair to say Picture has been created with two visions: to embody the freeriding spirit of Burton whilst demonstrating the Patagonia philosophy. We have tried to create an action outdoor movement.” 

 

 “But we must continue to innovate. The more we do to push the boundaries in sustainability, the more we can push the industry’s bigger brands to take notice and change their approach.”

The Future: what’s in store for Picture over the next ten years?

Julien: “Last year, we decided to focus the next ten years on removing our dependency on any fossil fuels. And not just where the product is concerned, but by looking at all elements of our business. 

 

“Finding better solutions to plastic packaging will be a big focus for us. It remains one of our biggest challenges. Every product that gets distributed is wrapped in plastic to avoid damage in transit. But we produce around 600k products a year, which means a lot of plastic bags! We are now testing new bio-degradable polybag alternatives, and looking at how we can use sugar cane and corn to further reduce our impact. There are options out there but our challenge is to ensure there is no extra cost to our customers.” 

 

In the meantime, they have pledged to collect all plastic waste generated by the distribution of Picture products to retailers and recycle it responsibly. 

 

Julien: “We’ve also set up a workshop group in the industry, bringing brands like Patagonia and Schöffel together to push them all to use bio-degradable polybags and sign up to our recycling initiative.” 

 

“We really want Picture to be an activist company and get involved with more projects. This is why we have just launched our Picture for Good initiative. These projects could be fighting climate change or focussing on corporate social responsibility. This is an important internal commitment for us."

 

Finally, we ask what has been their proudest moment…

 

Vincent: “We are proud to be working together as friends. Picture is a friends’ brand. It always will be. Our ethos will never change: Ride. Protect. Share.” 

 

And with that, the lights fade and we are taken on an epic, high-altitude journey deep into Pakistan’s Karakoram range…

 

Watch the action-packed film here

 

Shop Picture here

Picture Organic Clothing Event Electric Cinema Shoreditch organised by ACM. © Sam Mellish

Credit: Sam Mellish