Sustainable fashion with plastic recycling: some Italian projects

Did you know that fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world after the oil industry?

Based on a report by the United Nations, the fashion industry is responsible for 20% of the global waste of water and 10% of carbon dioxide emissions, in addition to the highest production of greenhouse gases compared to all international shipping and air transport. Moreover, cotton crops account for 24% of the use of insecticides and 11% of the use of pesticides.

Fortunately, a whole host of projects are starting up with the aim of guaranteeing a reduction in environmental impact and a rise in sustainable development in the fashion sector. Because the fashion industry can and must make an important contribution to the circular economy.

In this article, we showcase several Italian projects for sustainable fashion produced using recycled plastic materials.

  • WAO is the first fully eco-friendly shoe made with sustainable, innovative and natural materials. The “eco” effect of WAO comes precisely from its cyclical nature: the 12 parts which make up the shoe come from the earth and return to the earth when their use has finished. The manufacturer also only uses natural resources and works directly with local companies and artisans. Last but not least, 4% of the proceeds from sales will be donated to non-profit organisations, such as LEAL, the Italian Anti-Vivisection Society.
  • Quagga – which takes its name from an extinct South African zebra – was created under the auspice of “Dress Responsibly”. It is an all-Italian brand, certified Animal Free which reuses plastic bottles and discarded fabrics to create clothing. A benefit for our health and the environment, but not just that: at the end of their life, the garments can, in fact, be recycled again.
  • Backpacks, bags and pencil cases from everyday recycled plastic bottles? Made possible with S Bag, the eco-friendly range introduced by Smemoranda in collaboration with Nava. Every accessory has a label with the exact number of bottles used to make it; a symbol of the tangible result of recycling.
  • The famous Italian fashion house Prada invests in recycled nylon and has chosen to use plastic taken from the ocean for its bag collection. Prada presented the Re-Nylon capsule collection in which six of its iconic bags were created using Econyl, a yarn obtained from plastic salvaged from the ocean, fishing nets and other waste products. Re-Nylon is also infinitely reusable because it can be regenerated an infinite number of times. The company’s aim is to eliminate virgin nylon by 2021: a revolutionary announcement if you stop to think that Prada uses about 700,000 metres of this synthetic fibre every year.
  • The “sustainable” duvet made from plastic bottles has arrived. The idea by the Prato-based company Cashlab is to replace goose down with padding made from recycled cashmere and regenerated polyester. A circular and animal friendly fashion concept that also helps to recover plastic waste by giving it a new and useful life.
  • Feeling Felt is a start-up founded in 2019, fired by the passion for design, creativity and desire to be an active part of combating climate change. Feeling Felt accessories are made from innovative materials with a low environmental impact, such as felt obtained entirely from recycled plastic bottles. The entire production supply chain is Made in Italy, contrary to any kind of exploitation and totally cruelty-free in respect for the environment and people.

We would like to round off this overview of sustainable fashion with an interesting fact about one of the most popular outerwear garments in the world: the Parka. Maybe you don’t know, but the Parka is one of the most recycled items of clothing and is now made of 100% polyester made from recycled PET bottles! So, what about you? Have you ever worn or bought recycled clothing? Think about it next time you go shopping. Even how you shop and the choices you make contribute towards the sustainability of the environment in which you live.