Plastic – the future fashion trend
Plastic is everywhere. Used in everything from bottles to electronics, it’s a blessing and a curse – a convenience of modern living that now presents a major problem for our environment. Plastic pollution on land and in the oceans is presenting a threat to humans and aquatic life.
Compared to the amount of plastic that is produced (in the last ten years more plastic has been produced than in the last century), only a small amount is recycled. That means more plastic is being manufactured while plastic waste piles up in oceans and landfills.
Companies that create sustainable goods have begun to use recycled plastic to manufacture everything from dog beds to skateboards. Pioneering fashion designers and textile companies have adopted this practice as well and are designing clothes from plastic. This post looks at the process of transforming plastic into a textile material, and how designers are promoting this trend as the fashion of the future.
The Recycling Process:
Textile companies like Unifi manufacture polyester yarn from recycled plastic bottles. The plastic flakes are initially purchased from processing centers as flakes. Unifi molds the flakes into pellets and then the pellets are melted and spun into polyester yarn.
There are variations on the way plastic is spun into fabric yarn. Another pioneer of this trend is the company Bionic, which produces a yarn that is comprised of plastic wrapped with other fabrics such as cotton and bamboo. The plastic used in this yarn is harvested from coastal and marine environments.
The Textile Process:
The process of making the yarn has environmental benefits. According to another textile company, D-Grade, their yarn production uses 50% less energy than making polyester from scratch, releases 55% fewer carbon emissions and uses 20% less water.
Once the polyester yarn has been manufactured, it is purchased by textile companies like Reprieve, that weave or knit the yarn into a polyester fabric.
The Brands Using Recycled Plastic:
Polyester fabric is versatile and can be used many different types of garments. This makes it an easy choice for fashion designers seeking to promote this pioneering trend of using recyclable materials. Here are a few of the brands that use recycled materials and sustainable methods in their garment production. From jeans to bathing suits, plastic bottles can be created into clothes and consumers have another option to support sustainable fashion.
- Dirtball – These jeans are made from a combination of recycled plastic polyester yarn and cotton.
- MG Surfline – One-piece reversible bathing suits made from recycled plastic.
- 30AGear – Recycled shirts made from eight 16-ounce plastic bottles collected from landfills.
- Ecoalf – Sneakers and coats made from recycled plastic.
- Girlfriend – Leggings, sports bras and other active wear all made with sustainable materials.
- Brave Gentleman – Suits with faux “silk” lining and pockets made with recycled plastic.