Retail Therapy: JanSport teams up with Nicole McLaughlin to reimagine its products

It’s been another weird week in retail. Upcycle artist Nicole McLaughlin partners with JanSport to reimagine its popular backpacks, New Belgium releases a new beer to urge climate action and a new dog brand wants to ensure your dog looks fresh once you finally leave your homes again.

This, and more, in this week’s retail therapy.

JanSport upcycles popular backpacks

Earth Day was this past Thursday, which meant several brands pushed out messages around the environment and sustainability. The apparel industry in particular has been criticized for unsustainable practices.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 17 million tons of textiles were generated in 2018. That same year, just 2.5 million tons of textiles were recycled, while 3.2 million tons were combusted and 11.3 million tons ended up in landfills.

To help bring attention to the environmental benefits of upcycling materials, backpack maker JanSport teamed up with artist Nicole McLaughlin to create six one-of-a-kind pieces: a multi pack and camp seat, a pair of slippers, a bra, a pair of shorts, a director’s chair and a fishing vest.



Those interested can visit JanSport’s website to purchase a $5 entry ticket by this Monday for a chance to win one of the products. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Slow Factory Foundation, a nonprofit focused on using education to support environmental impact.

“By transforming samples from our warehouse and pre-worn packs sourced from warranty centers, we are able to keep product out of landfills and support the Slow Factory Foundation with some of our most recognizable and iconic imagery,” Roger Spatz, president at JanSport, said in a statement.

The partnership joins other sustainability efforts the backpack brand has been pursuing, like launching its Surplus Ski n’ Hike collection earlier this month, which uses excess materials to create products.

New Belgium brews up a bad beer to urge big companies to take climate action

Building on the Earth Day messages, beer maker New Belgium took a different approach.

The company crafted a specialty brew for its Fat Tire line — America’s first certified carbon-neutral beer — which offers a glimpse into a potential future if companies don’t start taking climate change seriously. 

The “Torched Earth” beer uses ingredients that would be available in a “climate-ravaged future,” including hop extracts and dandelions instead of fresh hops, a blend of malt extracts instead of just malt and smoke-tainted water instead of purified water.

New Belgium


“We brewed this beer to inspire the 70% of Fortune 500 companies who do not have a real climate plan to make one now – before it’s too late,” New Belgium said. 

The brand is asking consumers to tweet at their favorite beverage makers and call on them to take action against climate change.

The beer is available for purchase on the company’s website and all proceeds will benefit Protect our Winters, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting climate change.

As we think about our post-pandemic wardrobes, don’t forget the pups

As more people become vaccinated and prepare to venture outside their homes for the first time in who knows how long, some may be doing a little wardrobe refresh for their big debut. 

It’s nearly time to toss those leggings aside and pick up, dare we say, jeans? But as we primp ourselves, it’s important to not forget the ones who have been by our side through it all this past year: our pets.

Consumers more than ever turned to their pets — or became first-time pet owners — as a source of comfort during this intense period of uncertainty. According to Packaged Facts, the number of U.S. households projected to own a pet increased 4% last year. So to help get your pooch ready to hit the streets, pet wear brand RifRuf introduced sneakers for dogs. 



“We represent more than just dog fashion. We exist to elevate the ways our dogs live: with products that act as functional and design-driven mediums, whether they’re for daily walks or the runway,” the company said.

Co-founders Peter Liu and Jeremy Yoon came up with the idea for premium dog sneakers after Caesar, RifRuf’s “chief dog officer,” nearly had his paws burned, inflamed and cut. The brand through its “Caesar 1” sneakers aims to marry function with fashion.

The shoes retail for $65 on RifRuf’s website.