Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney

9 June, 2017
Partnership with Parley
Incorporating Ocean Plastics In Fashion
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Stella McCartney's fans have one more (eco) reason to worship this fashion label! The brand has long been synonymous with eco-fashion since 2001. As the top fashion brand name announced its long-term partnership with Parley for the Oceans—planning to use the yarn fibre the organisation upcycles from plastic trash collected from oceans—it's stepped up its level of environmental friendliness.

“To take something that is destructive and turn it into something that’s sexy and cool, how can that not be luxury?” McCartney says.

Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans, recently met with Lisa Christensen, Ecozine Editor-in-Chief, Founder & CEO in NY at the UN Ocean Summit & Festival. They discussed climate change solutions and about this new fashion partnership.

Cleaning the oceans, one micro-particle at a time

Ocean plastic pollution is an alarming problem that has caught worldwide attention. The United Nations predicted in February this year that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the seas. The UN writes, “As many as 51 trillion micro-plastic particles—500 times more than stars in our galaxy—litter our seas, seriously threatening marine wildlife”. For the second year now, Parley has been working with the government, resorts, fisheries, schools and fishing vessels of the Maldives to collect 80-120 tonnes of plastic from the oceans per month. The organisation then cleans and sorts the ocean plastics; condenses them into smaller pieces; and ships them to recycling plants where they are turned into filament and then into premium yarn or fabric. Currently, Parley is collaborating with the UN to extend its programmes to 38 small island developing states.

Can we save our planet with fashion?

Now, what may fashionistas turn their binoculars to? McCartney revealed that the Ocean Plastic™ material—in lieu of woven or recycled polyester—will be used in products like shoes, bags and outerwear. She has already worked with Parley on a sneaker design for adidas and expects pieces with Parley material to go on sale in July.

The bold move is matched with the eco-design's silent procession into stores. Last year, McCartney said in an interview with Vogue that her sports line collaborated with adidas to make the first pairs of vegan Stan Smiths, but she told the sports brand not to tell anyone in the first two years because she believes that products need to be stylish and gorgeous to justify a purchase. You shouldn't be able to tell the difference between a fashion piece made with eco-friendly materials.

Fantastic plastic

Would you buy Stella McCartney's, say, plastic suit that may be worth hundreds of dollars? The designer's not worried that the company's eco-friendly approach would drive away luxury-craving consumers. “Is a recycled plastic ever going to be something people think is a luxury? If they don’t notice it and if they feel that living on this planet longer is a luxury, then yes, to me that’s my idea of luxury".

The fact is, consumers are increasingly interested in eco-friendly fashions. As vegan lifestyles are becoming more mainstream, people are paying more attention to how their everyday outfits are made, even luxurious items.

“They want to have info and they want to be more conscious in what they consume. It’s not just about what they eat or how to get from A-Z, it’s why shouldn’t fashion be within that conversation?” McCartney says.

The designer would not say how much of the material is used in the products, but let's give it some time—the process of using it in products other than shoes has just begun. The ultimate goal for both Parley and McCartney is that plastic could be replaced by a new material so there'll be no plastic trash in the ocean for them to reclaim.

Beware—eco-friendly fashion items may be creeping into your closets without you knowing.

But that's a welcomed invasion.

By: Ecozine Staff
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