During the Paris Climate Talks, Adidas made the bold decision to unveil a new line of high quality sneakers made
entirely out of ocean trash. As a founding member of the ocean conservation organization, Parley for Oceans, Adidas is bringing to light the pressing issue of ocean plastic pollution through a common media – shoes. Parley for Oceans serves both as a platform that brings together creative thinkers from multiple disciplines to solve ocean problems and as an activist organization that strives to promote businesses and individuals to use ocean friendly practices. Members of Parley for Oceans include famous movers-and-shakers in marine conservation such as; Captain Paul Watson, Sylvia Earle, Louis Psihoyos (The Cove, Racing Extinction), and Fabien Cousteau; joined by artists and designers: Eric Leidkte (Adidas Executive Board), Cyrill Gutsch (artist/designer), among many other innovative thinkers and artists. In particular, Leidkte has been crucial in developing and promoting sustainable techniques for Adidas, a multinational corporation.
The timing of the release of the new Adidas prototypes is not coincidental. By revealing the plans to manufacture sneakers made from illegally discarded fishing line, was coordinated with Parley for Oceans to push ocean preservation on the climate agenda of the U.N. The hope is that by marketing an item as desirable, functional, and sustainable the new sneaker will raise awareness for the extensive issue of plastic pollution facing our oceans. The goal of this project was driven by Leidkte and Parley for Oceans vision of using creativity to create sustainable solutions and promoting recognition of the need to address the ocean when dealing with climate change.
Scientists estimate that there are 315 billion pounds, and ever increasing, of human’s forgotten and displaced plastic trash. In the Pacific Ocean, there is a floating island of plastic debris the size of Texas, and 4 other plastic gyres around the world. Not only are fishing industries and huge shipping lanes sucking the life out of the ocean, but plastic pollution is unravelling the ocean ecosystem from the inside out. Marine animals such as, sea turtles and seals, cannot decipher the difference between jellyfish and plastic bags or plastic water bottles and a tasty snack. This confusion causes thousands, maybe millions, of marine animal deaths due to suffocation, starvation, or strangulation. With such an enormous amount of plastic inhabiting the ocean that takes an excruciatingly long time to decompose, many innocent animals fall victim to the suffering and painful death that plastic can cause at sea.
Hundreds of feet long, the discarded fishing line roaming the open ocean, trapping and killing every fish in its path was confiscated and given to Parley for Oceans to be repurposed. Though there are regulations restricting the dumping of fishing line and gear into the ocean, it is much easier and cheaper with minimal risk to simply discarded unwanted gear into the blue abyss. Adidas took this opportunity to develop an innovative sneaker design that would use only recycled ocean trash, mainly fishing line, and a “no waste” knit pattern to create a stunning and sustainable line of shoes. By knitting fabric together, instead of cutting out patterns, there is essentially no wasted materials in the process of creating the shoe. The complete line of shoes is going to be release in 2016, but the prototypes have many hopeful that this sustainable approach to fashion will become a growing trend. Earlier this year, superstar Pharell Williams, in conjunction with Bionic Yarn and Parley for Oceans, sponsored a popular clothing line made from recycled ocean trash, called Raw for the Oceans, check it out at: http://rawfortheoceans.g-star.com Similarly, Adidas and Parley for Oceans are hopeful that this statement on the need for oceans to be of top priority when discussing climate change legislation will get the attention of global citizens and government bodies alike.