Meet the brands putting plastic waste to good use.
The world’s plastic problem is one that cannot be ignored. Particularly when it comes to protecting and preserving our natural habitat. During a presentation at Business of Fashion’s Voices event in 2017, sustainability expert Ellen MacArthur revealed that if we carry on the way we are now by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea by weight.
The manufacturing of plastic and the product can never be destroyed, only moved. To this end, some companies have made the decision to launch ocean-plastic made items in an effort to help clean the oceans and upcycle the dumped plastic.
Let’s meet some of the ones available to us, shall we?
Specialised technical rainwear experts, Okewa have produced a six-piece capsule collection made from a new fabric they’ve developed using 100% recycled plastic bottles.
The Wellington-based Okewa team was started by founder and creative director Nevada Leckie. Nevada sums up Okewa’s philosophy as “elevating the raincoat to be the favourite thing in your wardrobe.”
On the topic of their capsule, “in the end, we scoured the world from Portugal to France, UK, China, Vietnam, even Australia, for the best manufacturers who value environmental sustainability, ethical making, and could work with us in a true partnership,” says co-founder and husband Nick Leckie. “We’re excited to have confirmed a partnership with a very high-quality manufacturer in Thailand who produces for Patagonia and Burberry. This team have literally advised Burberry on their factory-building – they’re one of the world’s best, and have an excellent track record.”
In 2015, company’s Adidas and Parley for the Oceans teamed up to produce a sneaker made entirely of a yarn recycled from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gill nets. Though impressive in both design and sustainability, the partnership didn’t really come to fruition until 2017 when sneakers like the Parley x Adidas Ultra Boost became readily available on the sneaker scene.
Now, having sold more than 1 million pairs of shoes over the past year, their next focus is the Parley A.I.R. Strategy — an acronym for “avoid, intercept, and redesign.” Ramping up their environmental efforts with a long-term sustainability plan the collaborator’s efforts now include a new line of Parley x Adidas Outdoor footwear and apparel for both men and women.
Founded on the principles of recycling, Spanish brand Ecoalf was born out of frustration for the world’s depleting resources and excessive waste in developed countries. Its intent was to produce apparel that was made out of 100% recycled materials, which was something ‘barely available’ in the marketplace according to the label.
“Discarded fishing nets, post-consumer plastic bottles, worn-out tires, post-industrial cotton, and even used coffee grinds become our outerwear, swimsuits, sneakers and accessories. In order to ensure 100% transparency and provide the highest levels of quality, our team manages the full process from waste collection to recycling technologies, manufacture, design and retail,” the brand shares with Fashion Revolution.