Sean Kim

Three years ago, Sean Kim wanted to find a way to raise awareness about climate change, and raise money for nonprofits working on solutions. So while still in high school, he founded an apparel company called Pacific Peak. He began donating all net profits to an environmental charity.

Kim: “We started off as a clothing company that made clothing just like any others, through many wholesale sites and stuff. And it was then when we realized how terrible our shirts really were for the environment.”

He and his partners learned that the textile industry is a significant cause of carbon pollution, so they began looking for a better source of materials.

After raising money through an online fundraising campaign, they developed a line of t-shirts made from recycled cotton and polyester. The cotton is made from fabric scraps and old clothes, and the polyester is created using recycled water bottles.

Kim says this reduces carbon pollution and saves five-hundred gallons of water per shirt. And he says his company helps make sustainability cool.

Kim: “It’s more than just wearing a brand. You’re really representing a movement that will hopefully reshape the way teenagers think about environmental issues.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Jan O'Brien was assistant editor and website manager at Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. She brought more than three decades of experience in environmental publishing and policy research and more...