Business Plastic in the Ocean Turned Fashionable: Pharrell Williams’ Bionic Yarn

Published on March 17th, 2014 | by Talancia Pea

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Plastic in the Ocean Turned Fashionable: Pharrell Williams’ Bionic Yarn

Plastic in the Ocean Turned Fashionable: Pharrell Williams' Bionic Yarn

From mass producing ‘closed-loop’ garments to coloring t-shirts with waterless dyes, technological advancements are helping the sustainable fashion industry evolve into a powerhouse. Innovators are coming up with ingenious ways to create ethically-made garments without harming workers, shoppers or the environment. The blogosphere was particularly abuzz last month following popular musician and designer Pharrell Williams’ debut of his latest project. The style maverick’s company, Bionic Yarn, plans to transform plastic in the ocean into yarn.

Here’s a graphic and short video illustrating how plastic bottles collected from oceans and beaches are chopped into tiny flakes, melted and ran through a shower head to make highly durable fibers. Denim label G-Star RAW then will use the “plastic” yarn to create the RAW for the Ocean collection of jeans and shirts for men and women. For a slightly more expansive look at the process, take a few minutes to watch SHFT’s overview of the product:

The oceans are a lifeline to us all. Yet, they are being polluted with up to 1.5 million tons of debris each year. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates 80 percent of litter in the ocean originates on land, and most of it is plastic. Therefore, when we eliminate pollution, we also are protecting marine line such as fish, seals and seabirds. These animals mistakenly ingest plastic as food then sadly die from chocking, intestinal blockage and/or starvation. Read more to learn how celebrity brand power is working to broaden public awareness of environmental issues such as this one and safeguarding those who call the seas their home.

Together We Can “Wear the Responsibility of the Oceans”

Whether you are a fan or foe of celebrities, their power of persuasion is undeniably evident in the causes they adopt. Pharrell’s distinct fashion sense yields a portfolio including collaborations with big name brands such as Topshop, Timberland and Italian activewear designer, Moncler. The award-winning producer shared in an interview with National Geographic, “We (Bionic Yarn and G-Star RAW) are trying to infiltrate the entire spectrum of fashion, high-end and low.” The goal of this project is to make sustainable fashion and Earth conservation accessible to everyone via garments they purchase. You, too, can wear the responsibility of the oceans as the collection will be available worldwide in stores and online in August. Additionally, consider adopting the following five small changes into your daily life to make a big difference:

  1. Use a refillable water bottle rather than buying disposable plastic ones and/or purchase a home filtration system to improve the taste of your water
  2. Bring reusable bags to the store and say “No thank you” to plastic
  3. Recycle and never litter
  4. Take a closer look at how you are responsible for plastic waste getting into the oceans
  5. Volunteer to pick up trash on your local beach(es) and in the community.

You can sign up here to get updates about RAW for the Ocean sleek, new fashions. Pharrell’s now-famous line fittingly sums up this post, “Happy ocean, happy life”!

Image credit: epSos.de via photopin cc



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Sustainable Fashion Blogger since 2008 with work featured in magazines and newspapers, among other publications. Find her on .



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