No.80, Ayeyarwaddy Street, Shwe Than Lwin Industrial Zone, Hlaingtharya Township, Yangon, Myanmar

No.80, Ayeyarwaddy Street, Shwe Than Lwin Industrial Zone, Hlaingtharya Township, Yangon, Myanmar

When we approached renowned glove maker Kenzo Takashima at his facility in China in 2009 with the idea for our Alpha SV glove, he immediately knew it would mean making gloves in a completely new way.

The Arc’teryx Design Team’s ambitious vision was for a high tech glove to fit a hand the same way a GORE-TEX jacket fits the body, while also being waterproof. This approach meant taping and pressing instead of just sewing, and using machines to mold the glove shell into finger shapes with unprecedented precision. It also required a willingness to fully immerse the gloves to test for waterproofness, which was not industry standard at the time.

Kenzo took on this challenge without hesitation. He saw the Arc’teryx vision as an opportunity to advance a stagnant glove industry and create a new standard for this vital but often overlooked piece of apparel.

Bringing years of expertise and knowledge to the table, Kenzo helped us turn design into ground-breaking reality. As part of our commitment to innovation, we developed the tools needed for production. He offered assistance in modifying the equipment to be more efficient and effective. His employees learned to work with material in different and more complex ways.

In early 2017, Takashima moved their operation to Myanmar, a country with a strong textile background and a growing apparel manufacturing sector. Later the same year, global attention was brought to the Rohinga crisis and we reassessed our presence in Myanmar. We spent time there consulting with experts. After much debate and consideration, we agreed to watch the situation closely and engage more directly on the social and environmental impacts with our manufacturing partners (learn more in the Arc’teryx in Myanmar Blog). We discussed two social impact programs with Takashima, and with their agreement launched those programs in 2018.

During the SMART program, which is an E.U.-funded, local Myanmar program, management personnel are trained in worker communications and dialogue over a six-month period. More than two-thirds of the program recommendations were completed by the facility, and both Arc’teryx and Takashima were pleased with the progress on emphasizing a work culture that prioritizes workforce communications and employee satisfaction. Takashima has also been participating in a 12-14 month women’s health education program called Health Enables Returns (HER).

For the last decade, Takashima has been the main provider of Arc’teryx gloves. Our gloves may vary in technical complexity, but all of them have been improved significantly with the expertise and talent Kenzo and the talented Takashima team bring to the process.