Turning Ocean Trash into Fashion

You may already be familiar with the name Pharrell Williams, former N*E*R*D frontman, but what you may not know is that Pharrell Williams is a big advocate for sustainability and forward thinking fashion. Williams recently joined forces with Amsterdam based company G-Star Raw to launch a new line of clothing called Raw for the Oceans. The collection consists of shirts, sweaters, hats and jeans made with returned textiles including eco-friendly Bionic Yarn of which Williams is a part owner. Bionic yarn is a multilayer fiber which is made from recycled plastic that has been harvested from the earth’s many oceans.

The process of making bionic yarn is simple, the first step is grinding the reclaimed plastic into chips which are then shredded and stretched into thread. The thread is then spun and mixed with other materials including cotton and polyester before being woven into fabric. To look at the finished project you would never guess that you are wearing clothes that contain old water and soda pop bottles. G-Star is a big advocate for sustainability and responsible manufacturing processes and they are already using revolutionary and innovative materials including tencel which is manufactured from fast growing eucalyptus trees. In recent years, the company has made huge strides to reduce environmental impact with the production of their clothing line.

The end result: a collection of clothing that is designed with an environmental message in mind. Making sure human beings and the earths oceans co-exist in harmony with one another. The collection features a cartoon squid that is big and bold on some items such as t-shirts and a more subtle design on other pieces including dress shirts and caps. On some items the design is minimized and worked into an over-all pattern.

Discarded water bottles and other items are picked up along the oceans shorelines and there is a plentiful supply to work with. Other retailers interested in making an impact are shoe and sports giant Adidas who recently joined forces with a conservation group called Parley for the Oceans to put the supply of discarded bottles and other plastics to good use. The two groups combined forces to develop a shoe with an upper construction made from ocean plastic and discarded deep-sea gillnets. Gillnets were collected by members of the Sea shepherd Conservation Society who collected the materials during a 110-day expedition off the coast of West Africa.

At first glance, you would never dream that the shoe is made from discarded plastic from the ocean. The collaboration between Parley and Adidas proves that fashion items can come from sustainable and eco-friendly sources. While it is uncertain that this particular shoe will ever be available for sale, the development marks the beginning of a new era for Adidas. The company will begin to incorporate recycled plastic into its footwear by early 2017.