Outdoor and sportswear brand Napapijri is strongly involved in sustainable causes and fashion. Their jackets, for instance, employ sustainable materials such as Thermo-Fiber, exclusive down-free padding, and Ecofur, a synthetic fur made with Kanecaron, a soft-touch sophisticated fiber produced by Kaneka, leading Japanese fiber manufacturer.

Photographer and environmental activist Sebastian Copeland
Photographer and environmental activist Sebastian Copeland
The brand is also constantly involved in initiatives aimed at increasing environmental awareness. At the end of 2015 they presented “Arctica. The vanishing North"?, a photo exhibit and a book by Sebastian Copeland, record-breaking explorer, photographer and environmental activist. The exhibit presented images from the book which is a visual trip through endangered polar cap regions such as the Iced Arctic Sea, Greenland and Antarctica, all visited by Copeland on his missions.

The book and the exhibit were disclosed in Paris in December 2015, at Galerie Yann Arthus-Bertrand during the same days as COP21, the annual United Nations conference on climate and climate change. Copeland also participated in COP21 and discussed the destiny of the polar ice cap, the Arctic and the world’s ecosystems.

Foir fall/winter 2016 Napapijri will also release a capsule collection named after Copeland in order to stress the strong involment with the explorer’s cause.

Here, Copeland answers some questions about the state of the art and his work with Napapijri.

Why did you choose the days of COP21 for the launch of your exhibition?
Given the international focus placed on the COP21 in Paris, and the role played by the Arctic region on global climate, Napapijri and I agreed that a presence would promote the right message, and further the discussion on the need to address climate change. As my new book Arctica: The Vanishing North was being released that fall, we decided to have the official launch in Paris during COP21.

What was the feedback for this initiative?
Photography, and art in general, has a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the heart and the mind, especially when discussing climate change. To bring beautiful images to light of a fragile environment is an invitation to care and to do something about it. The feedback and experience was very positive and enthusiastically communicated by the attendees.

What does your work with Napapijri involve?
I definitely test garments in the cold and extreme situations that I specialize in. The Napapijri clothing that I wear is mostly off the shelf, with some specific modifications that reflect my needs. These are critical for me, but minor in terms of the design, materials and application of the clothing. I have introduced some ideas that were developed in to certain items. We are discussing the integration of certain environmentally friendly processes, but the VF group is very committed to sustainability in general, as is Napapijri, as demonstrated by their support of missions such as mine.

How can fashion become more involved in preserving the environment?
Fashion has traditionally a big footprint, by virtue of the materials and dyes used in their process, not to speak of the seasonal introduction of new lines. That is the world that we live in, and unfortunately it is governed by social laws that are not going anywhere anytime soon. However, integration of disruptive technologies, different dyes and organic materials can make a difference. Promoting a philosophy of the outdoors, for instance, can have an important incidence on a desire to preserve them. Supporting advocacy programs and giving back where the industry takes is also a critical way to help initiate a global shift towards a sustainable way of thinking.

Will you continue collaborating with Napapijri?
Napapijri is supporting my upcoming expedition to the North Pole, as they have for most of my big trips since 2005. The focus of this one is placed in the melting of the polar cap, and how this type of expedition will not figure in the coming decades for the explorers of tomorrow. Which is really sad in a way. Napapijri is also releasing a capsule collection in my name this coming FW’16. We’ll see how this does, and I am looking forward to develop that idea into different seasons.