Ocean Friendly Fashion by Pharrell Williams #ftw
By: Ashley Gustafson
Whether you are a fan of Pharrell’s music or into his crazy fashion sense ( 2014 Grammys enough said), something everyone who tries to do good by the planet can be into is his new clothing line that uses recycled plastic taken from the ocean. Environmentalists would be proud of this not only ecofriendly collection but also innovative and proactive line that uses the harmful pollutants already in the ocean as its materials. It is estimated that eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year. In case you’re having trouble imagining eight million tons of plastic it’s about the equivalent of five grocery bags per every one foot of coast line around the globe. This is horrendous news for the ocean and all of the animals that utilize its prosperity (that includes us).
Introducing the RAW for the Oceans collection
This will be Pharell’s third clothing collection with G-star RAW. His new line RAW for the Oceans collection will feature denim garments made using recycled plastic removed from the oceans. G-star RAW is a Dutch fashion brand based out of Amsterdam and produces urban style clothing for men and women. The brand has always focused on raw “just the product” slogans which is why the slogan for this new line “Turning the tide on ocean plastic pollution” is no surprise.
To create the fabrics, the textile company Bionic yarn and environmental group Parley for the Oceans collaborated and developed new looks for the garments in the collection. Bionic yarn produces environmentally friendly fabrics without the loss of quality and performance. On their website they proudly state, “We believe all of the resources we consume on Earth should have a positive impact on society and our natural environment. Turning things we discard into raw materials we can be proud to use in our everyday lives. We make high performance yarns, fabric, and more for all walks of life.” They strive to achieve sustainability without the sacrifice of quality and are committed to making the planet and our future a better place to live. In addition to Bionic Yarn, the initiative Parley for the Oceans encourages artists to re-purpose ocean waste and raise awareness of the massive issue of ocean pollution.
So, how do I make plastic a T-shirt?
Now you are probably asking yourself, how do turn waste like plastic into a cool, fashionable sweater? The line is able to use ocean plastic, straight from the ocean, by breaking it down and weaving it with other sustainable materials to create high performance fabrics. This probably sounds too good to be true, but I’m here to tell you it isn’t! Plastic taken out of the oceans deemed appropriately “ocean plastic” is this year’s breakthrough material. G-star raw is not the only company to be using this new fabric of choice; Adidas has also produced a range of training lines using the fabric. Further innovation is also on its way as a young, unnamed designer has created a machine to harvest tons of waste material out of the ocean to use for sustainable and proactive to boot fabrics. Here are some of the highlights from the line:
Where can I find this stuff?!
You can check out G-stars website here to order online to ship in the US. While the line is slowly making its way over to the United States, the London Department store Selfridges is currently hosting an exhibition about ocean plastic that includes a series of objects created from the material. The line is high fashion and carries that price tag, as a pair of jeans averages $190-$200 a pop. While costly, the money does go to a great cause.
William’s latest collection is already available in G-star stores and online. It features jeans, denim jackets, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. The statement jacket (featured on Pharrell for the promotional ads) is a hooded jacket William’s calls the Occotis HDD Bomber. This jacket covers a good amount of the wearers face when zipped all the way up and is inspired by a cross between a submarine escape suit and military attire. This was the starting point of the whole collection and was the original sketch Pharrell submitted for the Autumn Winter 2015 collection. The collection, naturally, has a nautical theme with many stripes as well as an octopus mascot featured on several pieces throughout the collection.
The Good of removing plastic from the ocean
Parley for the Oceans has removed and repurposed roughly 700,000 plastic bottles from the ocean for each of the collections created by RAW for the Oceans so far. This is a great start for helping aid some of the damage and harm done to the ocean by the poor disposal of plastic and waste materials. The idea of taking plastic out of the ocean is quite uplifting, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that even more is being put in than taken out. That is why it is so important to dispose of waste and recyclables properly within your community as well as support others in doing the same. It may seem like one person may not make a difference, but that simply isn’t true. According to Bottled water facts, the average American used about 167 disposable water bottles and out of those bottles only recycled 38. That statistic alone shows that as an individual you can make an impact on not only plastic consumption but proper disposal as well. If we all act as individuals, it will make a large impact that we will be able to see.