After receiving a Comfy as a birthday gift and seeing all my peers also owning one, I wanted to look deeper into the materials and sustainability of this trendy product. Comfy is a fairly new company that focuses on producing large, oversized hoodies with soft inner lining priced at $40.00. As comfortable as the Comfy is, my research into Comfy changed my view on the product and made me realize how unsustainable Comfy is. Comfy was created in 2017 and found success through the popular entrepreneur show, Shark Tank. After its appearance on Shark Tank and through Barbara Corcoran’s investment, the Comfy rose in popularity and gained widespread success. From an initial glance, it seems like Comfy has an admirable project, Feel the Happy, where part of the proceeds for each Comfy sold go towards Feel the Happy to donate Comfys to the homeless and frontline workers. Despite the admirable project, there is no central focus on sustainability; there is no sustainability webpage or statement about the company’s environmental impact, and after looking into their company and production process, it was apparent that sustainability was not Comfy’s main priority. Comfy is quite transparent regarding what their Comfy is made out of, but information about the sourcing of materials, employees, and production process is absent. Although it may seem like the perfect gift for students, I urge potential consumers to reconsider purchasing the Comfy, as many other companies also produce equally comfortable loungewear, but in a more sustainable method. Other companies like Bassike and Myrah Penaloza use recycled fabrics and source locally for their product, making them much better alternatives for purchasing sustainable, comfortable clothing.
The Comfy Original is made of 100% polyester, and its exterior is composed of “ultra-soft microfiber” with a soft, sherpa-lined interior. I find the use of 100% polyester to be concerning, as polyester has significantly harmful impacts on the environment along its entire life cycle. For its production process, polyester is derived from petroleum, a non-renewable resource; the conversion of petroleum into polyester releases large amounts of greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change. During its use, polyester sheds small microfibers and microplastics when washed. These microplastics commonly end up in oceans, natural ecosystems, and urban communities where they are consumed by marine life, humans, and various other organisms. Finally, polyester at the end of its life cycle is still damaging to the environment, as polyester is not biodegradable, persisting in landfills for several centuries. Thus, Comfy’s use of polyester is directly supporting the petroleum industry and unsustainable methods large oil companies use to acquire petroleum. Furthermore, Comfy fails to be transparent when describing their supply chain as well. I was unable to find where Comfy sources their polyester from and trace back to what suppliers they may be working with, but the general use of polyester is disappointing. As for the sherpa lining, although sherpa is a more eco-friendly alternative to fleece derived from sheep, sherpa is still made from polyester fabric. Just like regular polyester, sherpa also negatively impacts the environment throughout its life cycle. There are many eco-friendly alternatives to polyester in the textile industry today, but it seems like Comfy may prioritize polyester for its cheap price despite its environmental impact. Sadly, the only sustainable step that I could find Comfy taking is that the online description states the Comfy Original also uses 100% recyclable packaging, giving this section 0.1 planets.
On their website, Comfy says their products are designed in the USA but made in China. This is the extent of the information given, and no other details are disclosed regarding the production process. The Comfy design is patented, so it is uniquely made, mass-produced, and manufactured in one size most likely to maximize efficiency. The Comfy is double-layered, and I infer that it is sewn and stitched together by automated machines within factories in China so the cost of production can be minimized. It is difficult to assume the actual production process, but on their website, they say Comfy’s initial design was based on a 5XL oversized hoodie layered with a blanket. The overseas shipping and production processes from China release greenhouse gases, which further drive down Comfy’s overall rating for this review. Furthermore, the lack of sustainability on Comfy’s website shows that Comfy’s primary goal is to maximize profit and expand their business. This mindset within companies is based on the extractive business model, where companies including fast fashion brands make it their priority to extract materials and resources from the ecosystem for profit. Due to this fast production cycle, the extractive business model often outsources materials to minimize the cost of production, causing large amounts of greenhouse gases to be emitted for transportation and manufacturing. Furthermore, fast fashion causes landfills to fill up quickly and creates excessive waste. The use of the extractive business model for Comfy is likely attributed to Comfy’s origin on Shark Tank. Due to their product becoming one the best selling products on Shark Tank, Michael and Brian Speciale most likely feel that they have a reputation to uphold or that they have to maintain their record by continually surpassing it to gain traction and popularity.
Comfy was founded and created by brothers Michael and Brian Speciale. They are the main designers of the Comfy, but there is no information about the factory workers in China. Since their appearance on Shark Tank, Comfy says they are sold in over 70 countries and that they have become the 5th most successful Shark Tank product. However, information on supplying partners, the design team, and the factory employees are absent. As a consumer, I am frustrated at the lack of transparency, as I am unaware of the working conditions in manufacturing plants, how the workers are being treated, and how human rights are enforced. In contrast, Myrah Penaloza, the alternative loungewear brand mentioned above, is transparent regarding their sourcing and manufacturing, as many of their garments are made in homes that focus on family-oriented production rather than factories. On the other hand, Comfy’s supply and production chain is shrouded in mystery, giving consumers the sense that they have something to hide. Overall, I am disappointed by the lack of information, and I do not recommend buying from Comfy at the moment. Comfy mainly bases their reputation on their humble beginnings as a small business starting on Shark Tank, urging others to become entrepreneurs too, but it is clear that they do not currently value sustainability. As a company with such a trendy and popular product that appeals to younger generations, I expect better transparency and a focus on sustainability.