Affordable apparel company road-trips up the West Coast for sustainability and clean beaches
We love the environment, but sustainable eco-friendly clothing is not necessarily easy on the wallet; Canadian-made apparel company Lifestyle Over Luxury is here to change that. Living a less materialistic lifestyle can mean a desire to help the environment but no money to afford the hiked-up prices plastered on eco-conscious goods. Adventure junkie and avid traveler Jeff Duke—a surfer with a true passion for the ocean and keeping it clean—saw a hole in the sustainable apparel market and decided to fill it. His company Lifestyle Over Luxury is spawned by passion and the hope for a happier mother earth.
L/L not only functions as a frugal outfitter (the prices stay comfortably in the $34 range) but also as a means to clean up coastal beaches. Working with a British Columbia-based company called Living Oceans and their volunteer program Clear the Coast, a portion of L/L proceeds go to funding the company when they fly to remote parts of the coast and barge the beaches of marine debris.
“There is no one there to pick it up and it’s super detrimental to the Pacific and the ecosystem,” said Duke of Clear the Coast. “A portion of the L/L proceeds go to support this, paying for the actual debris haulage. What we’re donating per sale actuates to about a full garbage bag of Styrofoam, plastic and fishnets.”
Originally from Canada, Duke’s journey to founding L/L began after dropping out of university where he was studying business and finance and heading off to Costa Rica. What was supposed to be a three-month trip turned into a five-year adventure that took him to Australia and introduced him to the world of surfing. Now twenty-six years old, Duke has found the passion that he lacked in university.
“Going from the very corporate, profit-driven mindset to that no-responsibility life changed my life, “ said Duke. “It put me in the right headspace—I was not in a good place in school—and I drew from those experiences to start this business. I started surfing when I left and that was pretty awesome for me. I kind of fell in love with the ocean so I wanted to do something that would give back. You can’t be in business without making an impact on the environment. I think that it’s important that every single person tries to give more than they take.”
Lifestyle Over Luxury is for those who lead active, outdoorsy lives while being conscientious of their eco imprint. Its primary material bamboo is notoriously comfortable and is usually used in sleepwear and bed sheets; L/L actually makes a t-shirt that is 70 percent bamboo and 30 percent organic cotton. Most importantly the company is 100 percent about brand and environmental awareness rather than profits. While working retail in Australia, Duke noticed the need for more affordable sustainable apparel.
“All the products that were eco-friendly and sustainable were twice the cost of products that didn’t have that option,” said Duke. “If it was the same price as other t-shirts, than absolutely I’d have bought the sustainable one. [I] wanted to bring that option to everyone at a cost that was affordable.”
There is nothing traditional about either Duke or L/L, a fact clearly evident as the founder is currently making his way up the coast from California to B.C. in a van named Lucy hosting pop-up shops and small events to connect with customers over the cause. Lucy—a solar-powered former U-Haul van—currently functions as Duke’s home and store and will eventually pull into Vancouver in about six-weeks’ time. Those interested in the young company and its West Coast passion quest can check out and join the cause soon right here in the city or—as always—online.
Currently on his eighth week living in the van, Duke is fully immersed in the L/L mission. For every item sold, an entire garbage bag of trash is cleaned up off of B.C.’s beaches. The apparel is simple yet fashionable, and will hopefully act as an example for other sustainable brands to follow suit with some affordable options in the future.
This article is sponsored by Lifestyle Over Luxury.