Plastic waste has long been considered one of the biggest threats to the world’s oceans but it can be hard to see what you as an individual can do to help. In a bid to educate their customers and save the world’s oceans, a number of fashion and beauty brands have taken up this cause — and a number of other ocean-related problems — through special collections and donations. Here are our favourites…
Thanks to its Conscious Collection and clothes recycling initiatives, H&M has long been at the forefront of sustainable clothing on the high street and this season it is turning its attention to the oceans. The brand’s latest Conscious Collection has been created entirely from a cutting-edge material called BIONIC which is made using ocean plastic waste collected from shorelines around the world. The range, which includes everything from evening gowns and heels to everyday staples and accessories, is fronted by a campaign starring supermodel and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova (pictured) and will be available worldwide from April 20, 2017.
As a brand built on an anti-cruelty, fur and leather-free ethos, it seems only fitting that Stella McCartney should now be turning its attentions to the oceans. As part of its autumn/winter 2017 collection, which was shown at Paris Fashion Week in March 2017, the brand debuted a range of 'skin free skin' looks created using newly developed fabrics — many of which were produced using recycled plastic bottles recovered from the ocean. With highlights including incredibly realistic looking (and feeling) leather bomber jackets and suede skirts, investing in high fashion without the guilt just became much more stylish.
Online surf, skate and skiwear retailer Surfdome has long been a supporter of ocean sustainability projects and in 2014 launched its own 2MinuteBeachClean project with writer and television presenter Martin Dorey. Based on the 'every little helps' line of thinking, the project asks visitors to beaches around the world to remove as much or as little plastic litter as they have time for because every piece removed makes a difference. As well as publicising beach cleans, Surfdome has replaced its plastic mailing bags with recycled cardboard boxes printed with information about the campaign and implemented a greater focus on selling sustainable clothing. Alongside this Surfdome has also founded The Plastic Project which sends explorers and documentarians to the remotest coasts on earth to discover how plastic pollution is devastating these otherwise untouched areas and shed light on the importance of human intervention in this crisis.
As part of its ongoing collaboration with environmental body Parley for the Oceans, Adidas has launched a project which aims to find ways to turn ocean plastic waste into high-tech sportswear. Its initial efforts were unveiled in December 2015 with a pair of prototype 3D printed trainers created from recycled ocean rubbish. Although those were never available for purchase, Adidas has since developed the Ultraboost Uncaged Parley trainers, created using yarn made from ocean plastic waste, which are due for mainstream release in the coming months. The campaign has also seen the sportswear brand team up with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich football clubs to create football jerseys made from Parley Ocean Plastic. These fully functioning, technical kits will be worn by the teams during league matches beginning with Bayern Munich’s meeting with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on November 5, 2016.
Founded by husband-and-wife team Quang and Ellie Dinh and designed by a team with experience at Lululemon and Puma, Girlfriend Collective’s leggings were borne out of a desire to offer sustainable workout gear without sacrificing on function. Each pair of leggings is created from 25 recycled plastic bottles in an SA8000 certified fair trade factory in Vietnam meaning the company both contributes towards reducing ocean plastic waste and provides its workers with a guaranteed living wage and fair working conditions.
The brainchild of a group of surfers working in collaboration with water aid charity Waves For Water, Saint Luke creates colourful, hard-wearing travel bags with the specific aim of providing clean water to those in need. Available in short, mid and long haul sizes, Saint Luke’s simple zip-up bags are ideal for the frequent flyer and every one sold buys the materials and resources needed to provide 40 people with clean drinking water for five years.
A long-time favourite among the sailing community for their stylish and practical boat shoes, Sperry Top-Sider has just unveiled a collection of its popular CVO sneakers made from recycled sailcloth. Created in collaboration with Barneys New York and used by members of the US sailing team, each shoe will be unique thanks to the cut, pattern and stitching featured on the sail used to create it.
Based in Maine, New England, Sea Bags prides itself on creating its bags entirely from sails collected from the local boating community. Designed and sewn in-house, each bag aims to incorporate the unique features of the sail used to make it and you can even design your own on the brand’s website. Sea Bags also uses eco-friendly inks and employs innovative methods for reducing scrap which have helped it save 500 tons of material ending up in landfills over the last 15 years.
Argentina-based brand Mafia is the brainchild of professional kite surfer Marcos Mafia and his sister Paz and gives worn out windsurf and boat sails a new lease of life by turning them in to bags. Having found huge success in the US and Japan with their colourful designs and hard-wearing accessories, the brand is now expanding to the UK and Europe. Handmade in California, not only do Mafia’s bags stop sails heading to landfill or polluting the oceans, but because there are so many different sail designs each one is completely unique.
Dutch denim brand G-Star Raw has recently collaborated with Pharrell on a recycled ocean plastic fashion line. Instead of just donating to ocean cleanup charities, RAW for the Ocean is particularly notable for its focus on turning plastic ocean waste into wearable — and highly fashionable — clothing. The line contains pieces for both men and women and it is estimated that around 700,000 plastic bottles have been salvaged from the ocean and repurposed for the range so far.