Tennis Apparel Made From Water Bottles?
Female-founded, sustainable tennis apparel brand Jgame is a grand slam in our books.
If you love tennis, care about your carbon footprint and want to look effortlessly chic on and off the court, you’ve come to the right place. Meet Jgame, an eco-conscious and ethically made tennis apparel brand that merges style with sustainability.
Jgame was founded by Jackie Meretsky, a former NBC News weather anchor turned entrepreneur who has always had a passion for tennis. From playing on USTA teams to forming some of her most meaningful friendships on the court, the sport has been a constant light in her life. But with a renewed global appreciation for the sport and its accompanying apparel, Meretsky wanted to take things a step further. Although much of the fashion industry turns toward fast fashion with little accountability for environmental protections, working conditions or carbon emissions, Meretsky chose a different path. “I thought, if sportswear can represent your style, it can also represent your values,” she says. “This is why I created Jgame, a brand dedicated to putting the planet ahead of profits.”
And so, Jgame was born, merging effortlessly chic, timeless styles with beautiful and comfortable recycled fabrics that are eco-friendly and ethically manufactured in NYC. The collection, which features crisp whites, bold colors and subtle prints (the crocodile-inspired pattern is the most popular), includes classic tennis tops, skirts, dresses and compression shorts. Launched in April 2022, the brand has already made a dent in the tennis apparel industry. It especially soared in popularity after last summer’s Wimbledon, when it was seen being worn by Canadian doubles champion Gaby Dabrowski.
Sustainability has been at the forefront of Jgame’s ethos from the beginning. For example, all styles are made from sustainably sourced 75%-100% recycled polyester fabrics made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) from clear plastic bottles. The bottles are broken down into small chips that are processed into yarn. This helps decrease greenhouse gas emissions and diverts waste by reducing the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfills. The process also uses less water than virgin polyester, and it reduces the dependency on petroleum (the raw material used to make virgin polyester).
Meretsky also aims to mitigate the culture of disposability by creating timeless pieces meant to last. Each garment undergoes a rigorous wearing/washing/drying process to test its longevity.
Meretsky is proud to have a manufacturing partner in Manhattan. Thanks to her meaningful relationships in the NYC apparel manufacturing community, she and her team can see and feel every design and immerse themselves in the work environment. Shorter distances also mean fewer CO2 emissions, and when they need to make a new sample or check on the sewing of a garment, they aren’t adding significant greenhouse gas emissions through cargo ships or sea freight traffic. Manufacturing locally also leads to transparency, as they can ensure proper working conditions and verify how everything is made.
Meretsky is also reducing Jgame’s carbon footprint by partnering with a company that delivers high-quality, sustainable packaging that is compostable, reusable or recyclable. She is also extremely judicious about the brand’s packaging when fulfilling orders.
As a mom of a teenager and a pre-teen, Merestsky is always thinking about the future. Whether it’s sourcing eco-friendly materials, finding local factories that produce small quantities or choosing recycled packaging, there are a million hurdles along the way. But she’s up for the challenge because it’s what she believes in and where she sees the future heading.
“Jgame is not only a sustainable brand; we are also an ethical brand that prioritizes inclusivity,” says Meretsky. “Tennis requires access, and that’s why we partnered with First Serve Miami to donate new tennis apparel to its Adopt-A-Player Program, which gives children who lack financial resources the opportunity to compete locally and nationally with the goal of using their talent and academics to attend college. We are also making uniforms for their youth camps.”
So what is on the horizon for Jgame? “An exciting new pickleball collection is in the works,” Meretsky says. “We will also be launching a men’s line and the cutest mother/daughter apparel ever!”