Music producer and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams announced last weekend at New York Fashion Week a new partnership with denim label G-Star Raw to create a line of jeans made with plastic collected from the oceans.
"The oceans need us now," Williams said as he announced the collaboration between G-Star and his textile company, Bionic Yarn, which Williams co-founded in 2010 to produce fabric from recycled plastic. The new collection, "Raw for the Oceans," which will be the first denim collection to incorporate marine plastic, will debut in stores and online on August 15.
“Working with G-Star was an obvious choice, because they have a legacy of pushing the boundaries of fashion and denim forward,” Williams said at the event. “Bionic Yarn is a company built around performance, and denim is the perfect category to show the world what Bionic Yarn can do. Everyone has jeans in their closet.”
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According to Forbes, G-Star had to turn its entire supply chain upside down in order to make “Raw for the Oceans” possible, going all the way back to the raw materials. That meant working with Bionic Yarn and organizations such as Parley for the Oceans and the Sea Shepherd’s newly launched (http://www.seashepherd.org/)Vortex Project, aimed at finding new ways to extract the plastic from the water. G-Star says it is planning to incorporate Bionic Yarn into all of its future product lines.
Joining the ranks of other companies such as Levi’s and Dirtball — which are also producing denim made from recycled plastic — and Thread, which creates fabric made from plastic waste collected from Haiti, “Raw for the Oceans” also joins a diverse and growing list of initiatives aimed specifically at finding ways to upcycle marine plastic:
- The Healthy Seas Initiative has partnered with companies, including Aquafil, Star Sock and now Interface, to collect marine plastic for reuse in products ranging from carpet to socks to swimwear.
- A startup called Bureo is using marine waste collected from Chile to make skateboards.
- In 2012, cleaning company Method launched a limited-edition soap bottle made from a blend of marine plastic and post-consumer recycled plastic.
- Ecover, maker of non-toxic cleaning products, began collaborating in March with Closed Loop Recycling, a UK plastic recycler, to develop a new type of plastic for packaging using waste plastic collected from the seas around the UK by EU fishermen.