The call to act has never been sooner than now. Just a few weeks ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations has announced its findings that we have only over a decade—12 years to be exact—to save the planet from an environmental catastrophe. The pressure has been greater among companies, fashion labels included, to consider more sustainable options in the production and packaging of their garments. We have all heard of brands swearing off the use and manufacture of fur—a list that includes Michael Kors, Armani, Gucci, Versace, and Burberry, among many others—which besides being cruel to animals, is also a big culprit in environmental pollution. Now we’re seeing select labels take the next step by choosing to no longer use plastic.
This year has already seen the production of 400 million tons of plastic, at least according to the statement released by brand Everlane. The fact that it is non-biodegradable only makes it more urgent to address the issue, especially since they’re finding their way to our oceans, affecting marine life, and may possibly affect other life forms on land. Everlane’s founder, Michael Preysman, firmly believes that companies such as theirs should be responsible in creating a livable world, and that while revenue is a priority, it should not take precedence over the need to protect the environment. Instead of producing and using virgin plastic, it would be wiser to just reuse what has already been manufactured.
In line with this, Everlane has vowed to stop the use of virgin plastic completely by 2021 and consequently introduced a new material it calls ReNew, which is made by recycling plastic bottles. It will take the spotlight in a line from the brand that bears the same name, with 13 new outerwear which include puffers, anoraks, parkas and fleeces, for both men and women, already available for purchase this October. The fabric is certified by Bluesign, which guarantees that it is made through sustainable means.
The direction is not surprising for the label, nor is it made for mere publicity. The label, which started its operations just eight years ago in San Francisco, has been committed to ethical manufacturing right from the beginning, definitely a plus for fans who have followed it for its modish creations. Everlane has previously introduced a denim collection that has been made with recycled water and another Bluesign-certified line in Clean Silk. In addition to its goals to be free of virgin plastic by 2021, the label is also targeting that its dyed fabrics will all use recycled water and renewable energy, and that its silk will be produced through regenerative agriculture.
Everlane began with the outerwear in its vow to stop using virgin plastic, the items produced to have a shelf life of at least 5 to 10 years, after which it can be recycled for other uses. Eventually, the label eyes on using its ReNew technology on every piece, from clothes, undergarments, all the way down to footwear. It currently gets its recycled plastic in Taiwan, enlisting the services of a factory that complies with sustainable and ethical practices. Besides generating profit, Preysman hopes that the move will also prompt consumers to consider the effects of the products they purchase for the sake of fashion, as well as inspire other companies to follow their lead.
Image credit: Everlane