For Mike Lamagna, North Shore native and founder of Long Wharf Supply Co., making a positive environmental impact is very much the heart and soul of his brand. Both the company and Lamagna are fueled by a love for the outdoors and inspired by a childhood spent on the water – much of it on the North Shore. On many of those days Lamagna found himself dismayed at the amount of plastic and waste in the water. He found himself inspired to look for a way to help make the water itself better, and not just by picking up plastic bottles (although he’s certainly no stranger to that).
Inspired by a vintage sweater of his dad’s, Lamagna decided to find a way to produce quality and classic clothing that incorporated recycled materials. It was not exactly a small task, but it was one he accomplished all the same. The result? A line of garments that helps to reseed coastal oyster reefs that naturally filter seawater.
Each year, millions of pounds of oyster shells find their way to landfills, where they become toxic as they break down. Long Wharf’s sweaters are made from a blend of recycled oyster shells, recycled water bottles, and natural lambswool or cotton.
In order to turn an oyster shell into a sweater, the shells go through a few stages of grinding until they become a fine powder. From there, they go through an extrusion process in which they are fused together by lasers and recycled polyester comes out the other end. After that, the filament is spun with other fibers – mostly cotton, but lambswool or other natural fibers can also be used to achieve different desired properties of the sweater, such as warmth, thickness, or breathability.
Every garment diverts at least five oyster shells and eight water bottles from landfills, says Lamagna. Though you’d never know it: The brand’s signature line, their SeaWell Collection, launched in 2020, is luxurious, super soft, and quintessentially New England in style. Through Long Wharf’s charitable partnerships, including the Massachusetts Oyster Project, the brand has helped reseed over 350,000 oysters that naturally filter 17.5 million gallons of seawater daily. The innovative approach even landed the company an appearance on TV’s Shark Tank in 2021.
Currently, Long Wharf is thrilled to be at its first brick-and-mortar location, a seasonal pop-up at 119 Newbury Street in Boston. While Lamagna’s passion for his brand and its mission are more than evident, he is equally excited about Long Wharf’s home for the holidays on the beloved Newbury Street, where fans of the brand and new customers can come in, meet the team, see the clothing in person, and experience the brand in real life, says Lamagna. “Being able to do this during the holidays, in this space that feels like a perfect fit for the brand, has been a dream come true,” he says.
Some of Long Wharf’s best-selling items include the Edgartown SeaWell Quarter Zip for men, the perfect sweater to take you from day to night (named after Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard) as well as the Rye SeaWell Sweater for women, which takes its name from the picturesque landscape and breathtaking coastal views found in Rye, New Hampshire.
Merchandise is available in store or online. As Lamagna looks ahead to the spring, he sees warmer days and more time on the water on the horizon, which of course means a new Long Wharf Supply Co. spring and summer collection isn’t too far behind.