As consumers, our purchasing choices have power. Fortunately for those concerned about ocean pollution, a trend that seems to be gaining traction in the fashion industry is apparel made from recycled materials plucked from waters around the world. Forward thinking, socially conscious companies, often working hand-in-hand with environmental groups, are behind these products.
Shoes: The adidas X Parley running shoe—made from upcycled plastic ocean debris, including illegal deep-sea gillnets—is the result of a collaboration between German sports brand adidas and Parley for the Oceans. Parley brings together artists, designers, inventors, scientists and other creative types to draw attention to the beauty and fragility of the world’s oceans and come up with solutions to address the threats against them.
Jackets and board shorts: Outerknown is a sustainable men’s clothing company based in Southern California, co-founded by champion surfer Kelly Slater. Outerknown’s Evolution Series jackets and board shorts are made entirely from recycled fishing nets and other nylon waste. The company estimates there are 640,000 tons of abandoned fishing nets in the ocean, trapping whales, turtles and other wildlife.
Denim: In 2014, Amsterdam-based clothing company G-Star Raw, in partnership with artist Pharrell Williams’ company Bionic Yarn, introduced a line called RAW for the Oceans, the first denim made with yarn created from plastic waste reclaimed from the sea. G-Star Raw is now starting to completely replace the conventional polyester in its collection with recycled plastic. Earlier this year, G-Star announced that it has teamed up with the Plastic Soup Foundation to fight the fact that machine washing clothes contributes to plastic pollution in the oceans. Small plastic fibers from synthetic garments end up in the waste water produced when we do laundry, polluting rivers and oceans.