This FashionTech Collab Aims to Save Our Oceans

Mano ten Napel | @Mano10Napel

Bionic Yarn, a New York City-based startup, has become well known for making fabric from recycled ocean plastic. Most recently, the innovative brand has collaborated with G-Star RAW, a Dutch design clothing company founded in Amsterdam in 1989. They are the producer of urban clothing, who showcased at the New York Fashion Week from 2008 to 2011. The partnership has spawned the “RAW for the Oceans line” that includes a range of denim pieces woven with about nine tons of the plastic, that normally would still be in the oceans.

Of course this does not immediately solve the Eco waste problem at hand but it is better than doing nothing. They are making it possible to imagine Bionic Yarn’s efforts and ideas being implemented in the textile industry, which in turn will make it cheaper to produce denim and fundamentally create a win win situation.

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Tyson Toussant, co-founder of Bionic Yarn, sees the popular garment as a kind of a Trojan Horse in the battle to clean up the sea. He told Wired: “Weaving ocean plastic into denim, he says, is a surreptitious way to get consumers to take on some environmental responsibility without sacrificing on style.” Toussant continues: “I had to face the fact that the only way people are going to move is if it appeals to their vanity, after they buy into that, you let them know, ‘Hey, you can look good and ignore the companies that don’t make sustainability a priority.’”

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Their cause is necessary and I am sure that Human kind needs no convincing that the environment has a serious problem when it comes to the amount of plastic messing up the oceans. Bionic Yarn’s an approach deserves the alternative Noble prize. We would like to suggest the The Right Livelihood Award. Toussant and his co founder friend Tim Coombs are not fooling themselves, they understand weaving plastic in denim isn’t going to make the big change that is needed. But imagine if it is woven into every textile that needs weaving in the first place!

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Another problem is that 99% of the plastic debris that ‘should’ float in our oceans is missing. Creating a scary thought that it could be entering our food chain, unless you believe that the aliens are cleaning up the oceans. When it comes to the big push, we are happy to share that Pharrel Williams has expressed his concerns regarding this issue. He has teamed up with Bionic Yarn by taking the position of creative director. Bionic initially would have been happy to only be woven in to Pharrel’s own clothing brand. But when he offered to be involved as staff, strengthening the Bionic team they logically couldn’t refuse. Which, I am sure will create a positive PR machine around Bionic Yarn. A positive that the world needs more then it might realize.

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With G-Star Raw throwing some gamification in it by creating an app, free to download, we join them so we can also raise awareness about throwing plastic into our waters. We want to share a short video clip featuring Pharrel Williams that according to Pharrel: “We aim to raise awareness. No-one who has played this game will ever throw a plastic bottle in the ocean again”.

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