Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
Designers of clothing and other apparel thrive on being at the forefront of every trend, and often create them. No surprise then that as the desire to be more sustainable grows, designers are applying their creativity to greening and using recycled plastics, often bottles, to do it. We’ve seen recycled plastics become stunning gowns on showbiz celebrities at the Oscars, but everyday fashion and even athletic wear also are seeking sustainability these days.
Everyday fashion: The tags on Bottle Rockets jeans from New York-based apparel company Bonobos say they are made from recycled material. Not content with that, the company makes it abundantly clear that the fabric is recycled from plastic beer bottles. When you meet a guy wearing these jeans and he says, “I feel like a beer,” rather than being thirsty he simply may be self aware.
The fabric is made by Cone Denim of Greensboro, NC, a major denim supplier founded back in 1891, and one that obviously keeps up with the times. Bottle Rocket jeans can be had in two colors, indigo rinse or natural canvas, but in either color the owner will be sure of the fabric’s content. The pocket liners are stamped with origin and ingredient information, as well as a graphic showing the number of plastic beer bottles used to make the pants.
Athletic wear: Spain’s FC Barcelona professional soccer team is one of the world’s top club squads and widely popular. It’s also watching its environmental impact. When ‘Barca’ takes the field this season in its newly designed “kit”, meaning the colorful uniform of jersey and shorts, fans will be cheering madly while looking at the reincarnation of about 13 recycled plastic water bottles on every player.
With the new design, the traditional blue and red stripes of Barcelona’s home kit have fused together, with the blue becoming dramatically darker. It still carries on the tradition, but with a thoroughly updated look. The away kit, on the other hand, is a true departure; an explosion of bright orange and yellow should make it easy for Barcelona players to spot an open man for a pass. On another note, both kits show how easily recycled polyester material can be precisely colored for a specific use, even colors as vivid as Barcelona’s.
The new uniform is not just about style. Made by Nike using an innovative manufacturing process that consumes 30% less energy than previously, both new Barcelona kits are 23% lighter and 20% stronger than their predecessors, and they incorporate Nike’s Dri-FIT technology to wick moisture away from the athlete during the action.
So if you recycle your plastic bottles, soon you could be wearing them.