Ride. Protect. Share.Gear
An interview with Picture Co-Founder Julien Durant about building an all-season and sustainable outdoor brand.
Picture Co-Founder Julien Durant is a skater and snowboarder from France who refuses to stand still. Always exploring and seeking out the undiscovered, he and Co-Founders Jérémy Rochette and Vincent André are on a mission to fight climate change, encouraging their community to join them on the ride from a small start-up to a globally recognised sustainable outdoor brand.
‘We don’t really think about how much the brand has scaled over the years. We just focus on our brand mission to fight climate change. What’s exciting is that we can really act and make decisions that change the game.’ Picture Co-Founder Julien Durant is referring to when he persuaded a yarn supplier to power the factory using energy from solar panels instead of coal. ‘They did it for 35 per cent of their production, which shows our voice is understood and we can influence other businesses.’
Julien founded the brand in 2008 with his friends, Jérémy Rochette and Vincent André, where they grew up in the foothills of the Massif Central mountain range in France. They set out to make a sustainable brand with cool designs that speak to younger generations who love skating and snowboarding. But now, as a B Corp Certified business, their objective is much broader. ‘We want to be known as a leader in sustainability and outdoor action sports. This concerns all generations because there is no age limit to be a sportsperson and adventurer concerned about the environment.’
Their mission is reflected in the logo: a drop of water to represent the origin of life, and a pine tree that acts as a symbol for CO2 absorption. ‘The name Picture comes from a snowboard movie called Picture This, which inspired the founders when they were younger and was filmed with a follow cam to give a birdlike perspective. Picture to us also means photo, creativity, and the picture of a better world.’
Picture has gear for all seasons within its four categories – Surf, Streetwear, Outerwear, and Activewear. ‘We want to encourage outdoor adventures all year round while upholding sustainability. 100 per cent of the collections use recycled fibres, organic cotton, or bio-sourced fibres. If it’s not possible to produce a product sustainably, we simply don’t produce it.’
Wetsuits are the best example of this. Instead of Neoprene, a non-renewable derivative of petroleum that doesn’t biodegrade, Picture uses EicoPrene, a foam made from limestone and recycled tyres. ‘Picture relies on this material for a cleaner surfing practice and to democratise alternative solutions,’ Julien says. The wetsuit lining is made from recycled polyamide from fishing nets, FlexSkin technology, 100 per cent regenerated Econyl fibres, and solvent-free glue. These comprehensive solutions are not to deter Picture from innovation. ‘We have just developed a new EicoPrene with our wetsuit manufacturer, SHEICO, substituting limestone with a natural, recycled, and renewable filler made from crushed oyster shells.’
Picture’s Streetwear collection embodies the meeting of outdoor and urban lifestyles inspired by nature and the wilderness. These products are made from natural, bio-sourced, recycled, or recovered fabrics – such as Tencel, a renewable, compostable, and biodegradable organic fibre from FSC-certified wood; linen, an eco-friendly, natural, and authentic fabric; and EcoVero, soft, silky, and luxurious-feeling fabric made from wood pulp.
The Outerwear collection features jackets, pants, bibs, tops, and sweaters for ski and snowboarding. A new rental service allows customers to borrow gear for €13 (£10.80) a day. The aim is to get multiple uses from the same products and provide a more affordable option to people who want to get out on the snow. ‘It’s a real solution for so many people. The world is going in that direction; we just have to make it easy for the consumer.’
Activewear is a natural extension of Outerwear as it uses the same technologies and fabrics. They are designed for environmentally friendly adventurers looking for freedom of movement, breathability, insulation, and waterproofing. All products are made in factories that are members of the Fair Wear Foundation, an independent, non-profit organisation that works to improve conditions for workers in garment factories.
It’s in Picture’s DNA to turn away from tradition and continue to explore the concept of circularity and innovation. Roll packing is now used across all lines, which means that instead of sending products in a plastic bag, they roll the product and tie it with string. ‘We save more than one million plastic bags every year (one bag per product sold) by sending products this way.’ The challenge with this approach is keeping the products clean in the warehouses. ‘We are having to change habits of all our supply chains to make it work.’
Just like the three friends who grew up skateboarding and snowboarding in France, Picture refuses to stay still. ‘We are always reinventing ourselves and moving forward. It is challenging, but it’s exciting at the same time, especially when your community follows your decisions.
‘We don’t measure success. Instead, we take steps to achieve our goals, influence the industry to fight climate change, and reduce their emissions by 65 per cent by 2050. It’s a process, and even if we are still small compared to our competitors, we have a big voice, we want to listen, and we want to be heard.’