Who remembers Anya Hindmarch’s I’m Not A Plastic Bag bag? Those who do probably remember 2007 being the year that every person and their mother strutted down the high street with their I Am A Plastic Bag bag casually swinging from their shoulder. After thousands of people queued to purchase the tote from Sainsburys (80,000 on launch day). Hoping to bring attention to the problem of single-use plastic, the project garnered huge press coverage globally, ignited the debate around the use of plastic bags and contributed to the eventual decision to charge for plastic bags in the UK. Hindmarch successfully brought attention to the plastic problem before fashion got into the business of being good. Thirteen years later, it feels like the problem is far from being solved. The only change is that we have gone from no longer having an ‘awareness’ problem, but instead having a ‘what now?’ problem.
On her recent project, Anya Hindmarch said: “Circularity of materials, is something we’ve spent the last two years working on with the I Am A Plastic Bag project.” Hoping to make a small dent in the 8 billion tonnes of plastic on the planet, Hindmarch created the I Am A Plastic Bag collection. Each bag is made from an innovative new cotton canvas-feel fabric that’s generated from 32 half-litre recycled plastic bottles. The material is then coated with recycled windscreens. Each piece is designed never to be thrown away.
“Each bag is made from an innovative new cotton canvas-feel fabric that’s generated from 32 half-litre recycled plastic bottles.”
Taking her cause earnestly the designer closed her London stores until 18th February 2020. She decided to fill them with used plastic bottles as a showcase to connect people to the enormity of the problem of single-use plastic going into landfill. Fun fact, it took 90,000 plastic bottles to fill the stores. This is the number of how many plastic bottles go into landfill every 8.5 minutes.
On their journey, from 2007 ‘s I’m Not A Plastic Bag phenomenon to I’m A Plastic Bag of 2020, the Anya Hindmarch team took two years to develop the collection. It is a collection that goes hand in hand with the Butterfly Mark award from Positive Luxury. “It is a symbol of trust earned by brands that have adopted sustainability as a business strategy”, states their website.