Fashion Daily

The Future of Textiles: Bionic Yarn Fabric Made to Conserve the Ocean

Bionic Yarn, a company that produces high-performance yarn and fabric from recycled plastic, and Parley for the Oceans, a forum that partners with brands to stop the destruction of nature by creating more environmentally sound practices, now work in partnership with celebrity Pharrell Williams to create real fashions from the Oceans pollution.

A comprehensive February 2015 report published in the journal Science found approximately 19 billion pounds of plastic in the oceans every year. A hypothesis, made by Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and a team of other marine conservation biologists, states that the effects of the rapidly spreading pollution from humans and unsustainable fishing will have a devastating impact on the environment.

22n January, 2014 Kuta Beach, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia Bali's famous beaches have been swamped by a sea of plastic in the last 4 weeks. Photo Jason Childs Photo Credit-(c)Jason Childs
22n January, 2014 Kuta Beach, Kuta, Bali, Indonesia Bali’s famous beaches have been swamped by a sea of plastic in the last 4 weeks. Photo Jason Childs

Gutsch, who founded Parley for the Oceans in June 2012 after realizing how dire the ocean’s needs are has partnered with Bionic Yarn to produce high-performance yarn and fabric from the plastic Parley for the Oceans retrieves.

“There is more plastic in our oceans than plankton and more plastic particles than fish eggs in our lakes and rivers,” Gutsch says. “We are destroying the most important life support system of our planet. And if we succeed doing this, we will not be able to live on this Earth.”

Bionic Yarn, which boasts musician and record producer Pharrell Williams as creative director and an investor, takes plastic and infuses it into various fabrics to create real fashions.

The process includes creating small fibers from plastic waste, then binding it onto fabrics such as yarn, lycra, cotton and polyester, which make up the majority of clothing.

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RAW for the Oceans collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, Bionic Yarn and Pharrell has collected 53 tons of ocean plastic debris from the coastlines of Indonesia, China and Australia,” shared Shubhankar Ray, G-Star’s global brand director. “We use about 10 tons of recycled plastic, which translates to two million recycled plastic bottles.”

When asked about the waste associated with denim production, Ray replied that G-Star has looked into more environmentally conscious processes.  “We are also pioneering reduced water usage in our production to make jeans, as well as investigating ozone bleaching and laser treatments that do not rely on water or chemical processes,” Ray says.

Since the partnership began other large brand producers such as Adidas have worked with Parley for the Oceans  incorporating recycled plastic waste into its products.

Though turning plastic into functional clothing is a step in the right direction, it still isn’t the ultimate solution.

“The biggest problem right now is that nobody really has a full picture of what is going on or where the plastic is located and what exact amounts are floating around,” Gutsch says. “[Finding] ways to get plastic out of the oceans without harming sea life is the ultimate challenge.”

Gutsch predicts that his company, which has been researching more effective ways of collecting plastic, will come up with feasible technology before the end of 2016.

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