If I could sum up the South Carolina weather in one word, it would be “humid.” In two words, it would be “humid” and “erratic.” So imagine my (non)surprise when no sooner had I put away my winter coats and sweaters than the early spring again rewound to late winter. Thankfully, I had a new and distinctively innovative garment arrive just in time for this particular quandary, the Evolution Hoodie.
From the ecologically-minded team at Coalatree, the Evolution Hoodie is made from recycled bottles and spent coffee ground. Yes, really.
Now, that said, it doesn’t feel (or smell) like it’s made out of shredded plastic and soggy, ground beans. In fact, it’s got a softness, a suppleness that you’d likely associate with more pedestrian fleece trailwear. Available in four heathered hues—a deep wine red and forest green alongside the less flashy grey and tan—these hoodies pair style and comfort with sustainability and storage.
Surprisingly light but generously cut, the Evolution Hoodie packs in all the must-have extras for the frequent traveller—be it by bus or plane or your own well-worn boots. It boasts thickly cuffed thumbholes and stay-put drawstrings to cinch the slightly oversized hood, perfect for those in-between seasons when things get unexpectedly chilly. Further, it hides behind the more standard pass-through hoodie pouch a secondary zippered kangaroo pocket that’s perfect for stowing your wallet, passport, phone, or tablet.
Its reinforced seams and distinctive composition let it stretch and move with you without tearing, and its slight taper—around two inches from chest to waist—make it perfect to throw on over any casual ensemble. In short, it’s become not only my new go-to hoodie, but also a tagalong piece I routinely pack (or, y’know, just toss in the back seat) for the east coast’s frequently unpredictable weather.
All that said, this item does come at a premium, but that too comes with a caveat. Retail priced at $109 directly from Coalatree, you’ll cut that down to a cool $69 if you pre-order through the current Indiegogo campaign. And since we’re talking crowdfunding, you can, of course, save even more by buying multiple Evolution Hoodies or similar Coalatree bundles.
Still, the big question remains; is it worth it?
As someone with a deep and abiding passion for both apparel and bargains, let’s answer this by doing a little comparative shopping. A licensed band hoodie, for example, typically costs $50-$60 (though I’ve been asked to pay as much as $80 at concert merch booths) for the standard 80/20 cotton-poly blend. On the more utilitarian end, trail fleece jackets and pullovers run around $60, for your midrange brands, on up to $150+ for your upscale stuff.
Even at $109, the Evolution Hoodie is far from a market outlier, with the $69 price via Indiegogo hitting a definite sweet spot—and that’s even without taking into consideration Coalatree’s novel approach material construction.
Dark cotton blends fade and stretch while standard polyester polar fleece tends to trap heat and is prone to unsightly pilling. By contrast, the Evolution Hoodie is breathable and moisture-wicking, and its recycled contents—around three cups of coffee grounds and ten recycled bottles per hoodie—make it a uniquely sustainable product.
What Coalatree has done with the Evolution Hoodie is put some real foresight into fashion, and the result is a wonderfully comfortable, perfectly functional, and ecologically-conscious garment that you can feel good about wearing. Just as importantly, it’s a fine addition to any wardrobe that you’ll actually want to wear.
Review materials provided by Coalatree. I may or may not have also indirectly committed multiple tons of coffee grounds and/or plastic water bottles to their distinctive recycling efforts.