Fashion created out of plastic waste
PARIS — It may have been a long time coming, but eco-fashion is no longer a hippie pipe dream.
Biker jackets made from pineapple leaves and leather tanned with olive extract rather than hugely polluting chemicals are now within reach, experts say.
Everyone from young avant garde designers to the big-name brands are racing to hop on the bandwagon, with trainers with soles made from recycled plastic bottles already selling by the million.
Last year alone, Adidas sold one million of its Parley trainers — made from plastic fished from the ocean — and the German sportswear giant is ramping up production of a range of similarly recycled styles.
And on Wednesday, Yolanda Zobel, the new designer at the futuristic French brand Courreges, did the “unthinkable” and declared that she was doing away with the space-age vinyl that has been the label’s stock and trade since the 1960s.
After a final numbered capsule collection called “Fin de Plastique” (The End of Plastic) that will count down its stocks of vinyl, the German will try to source sustainable or recycled versions of the shiny fabric.
“There’s no better world coming if we don’t take actions today,” Zobel said.
Attitudes to eco-fashion have “totally changed in the last few years”, said Marina Coutelan, who helps run Premiere Vision, a hugely influential twice-yearly trade fair in Paris where the movers and shakers of the fashion industry flock in search of new materials and ideas.
With the millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) now beginning to call the shots in the fashion industry, “we are seeing lots of trendy products from sustainable materials because they have grown up with the idea that we need to be eco-responsible”, Coutelan said.
A case in point are rising stars Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh, the Dutch pair who have just been headhunted to take over the Nina Ricci Paris fashion house. “Sustainable fashion was always talked about,” said Herrebrugh, 28. “Now it is something we can see.”