Fashion & Footwear November 8th, 2016

Pulling Back The Curtain: Mountain Khakis

Here at Zappos, transparency is our middle name. It’s energized throughout our headquarters thanks to our comprehensive, self-governing work structure called Holacracy, as well as in the spirit of our sixth core value, “Build open and honest relationships with communication.” So, it’s only natural we feel all warm and fuzzy when our brands embrace transparency within their operations as well for the benefit of the consumer.

What is Mountain Khakis?

Mountain Khakis was founded, developed and remains headquartered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming — known as the Gateway to Yellowstone National Park. MK is the 2003 brainchild of cofounders Ross Saldarini and Noah Robertson. In the same vein in which Amazon, Google, Apple and similar billion dollar giants started humbly in the family garage, MK birthed from a casual conversation at the Shady Lady Saloon right there in Jackson Hole. Since then, it has landed among the highly respected, top-performing outdoor-inspired lifestyle brands. On the opposite end of the spectrum from where those Silicon Valley kings deliver techie-ness, MK rules the frontier and appeals greatly to the freedom-seeking, rugged adventurist.

However, being a frontiersman doesn’t mean MK's CEO can’t hang with the best of them in the .com world. Saldarini, who boasts of choosing action over inaction any day when seeking out new business ventures, was one of the first to capitalize on the internet boom. His business partner, Robertson, is a real renaissance man, living the hiking, skiing, fishing and mountain climbing kind of life with his wife and children. As the director of production and design, he is the designer behind the products. Together, their leadership has allowed MK to enjoy a 638% growth over a three-year period leading up to 2009.

Transparency and best practices

As important as we deem transparency within the confines of our office, it’s just as vital in the bigger scope of retail. In other words, the public deserves to see what the companies they purchase from are doing not only to provide an excellent product, but also to impose as little harm as possible to the environment in the process. How is their carbon footprint? How are they taking care of the people on the bottom rung of their operation? What innovations are they bringing forth to improve their community? Mountain Khakis scores big in all these areas.

As a manufacturer of outdoor lifestyle apparel for men, women and children — servicing to the likes of ranch hands, golf pros and everyone in between — MK maintains greenhouse compliance from their factory level all the way to its retail stores. It has become second nature for them to leave as few greenhouse gasses as possible in the course of their operations.

The brand also ensures that the people who work in their factories receive fair wages, health care for their families and a safe and clean work environment. They recently began using all new biodegradable packaging for shipping their products. This material has only a three-year life span before it disintegrates into the earth. Two thumbs up for that!

Mountain Khakis shows their commitment to responsible apparel manufacturing by partnering with Fair Trade USA. Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that uses third-party certification to promote sustainability for farmers, workers and fishermen; to protect fragile ecosystems; and to build strong, transparent supply chains. By having the Fair Trade Certified label on their apparel, MK’s customers have peace of mind that their hard-earned money is going towards a company that adheres to rigorous manufacturing and trading standards.

Consumers can rest assure MK offers fair wages and safe conditions for their workers, invests time and money back into their communities and is all about protecting the environment. In fact, MK has promised to continue manufacturing more goods in India because more fair trade practices exist there.

For every Fair Trade Certified style produced by MK, they place a portion of that garment’s cost in a designated account called Community Development Premiums. The account is managed solely by the factory employees and is set aside for critical emergencies or ongoing needs within the community (e.g. education and health care).

Sustainability for its community

The location alone of MK’s headquarters tells you they’re all about being green, preserving wildlife and managing our ecosystem. One of their many sustainable objectives over the years includes being a proud supporter of a special Africa short film project called Green Living Project (GLP). It’s been noted that GLP’s focus on sustainability-related stories, conservation, education and empowerment aligned perfectly with MK’s philosophy.

For the conscious consumer

With such a rapid rise in sales early on, it goes without saying MK’s apparel and accessories have found their way into the closets of many satisfied outdoor enthusiasts. Its style juxtaposes the ruggedness of the Old West with the sophistication of the New West, making practically anyone with a satiable appetite for the outdoors feel comfortable.

They offer pants, shorts, capris, sweatshirts, hoodies, jerseys, long and short-sleeved recycled lifestyle tees, logo visors, hats and belts. Their signature pants are rugged enough for extreme environmental elements but flexible enough to segue into a business casual office setting.

Coming up this fall, MK is releasing additional styles, including 100% Indigo-dyed cotton Go Indie shirts for men and the Contour dress and the Wildflower dress for women.

Zappos is pleased to offer such authentic and timeless Mountain Khakis products. Our customers can proudly shop knowing they’re making a real difference in the world simply by purchasing apparel.