Turning ocean plastic debris into denim
At a press conference under the suspended blue whale replica at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA joined with partners Bionic Yarn and Cookies for All for the U.S. unveiling of The Vortex Project, an unprecedented partner campaign to clean the oceans of plastic debris and transform it into fashion, and its first collaboration, G-Star’s RAW for the Oceans,’ a long-term partnership between denim brand G-Star RAW and Bionic Yarn to turn ocean plastic into denim.
The New York Fashion Week event is part of Parley for the Oceans, an initiative comprised of artists, activists, tastemakers, entrepreneurs and innovators to address and solve the plastic pollution problem impacting ocean ecosystems. Sea Shepherd is an official partner of Parley for the Oceans and together with Bionic Yarn is cofounder of The Vortex Project.
The Vortex Project takes waste from the oceans and shorelines, and recycles, enhances, and reuses it for yarn, fabric, and other elements in consumer products. Parley collaboration partners will use the reclaimed plastic waste from the oceans to create exclusive products with a unique product story. They will also seek to close the loop by again recycling these products at the end their product life and manufacturing new products in such a way as to not further pollute.
At the launch, highly acclaimed photographer and environmentalist David LaChapelle, creative advisor to Parley for the Oceans, introduced iconic conservationist and Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson, who gave an extensive State of the Oceans address to the crowd of 300 fashion industry professionals and media gathered in attendance. Other speakers included Bionic Yarn’s co-founding partners Tim Coombs and Tyson Toussant, G-star CMO Thecla Schaefer and Sea Shepherd consulting scientist and R&D Developer of The Vortex Project, John Davis. Speakers from The Vortex Project Support Network included CEO of Ocean Alliance Iain Kerr and Executive Director of Plastic Pollution Coalition Daniella Russo. The press conference closed with an address from Grammy winner, fashion entrepreneur and Creative Director of Bionic Yarn, Pharrell Williams and the first commercial that promotes the collection, RAW for the Oceans.
Sea Shepherd will lead The Vortex Project in the areas of collecting, scientific innovation and awareness-building, and will work with Sea Shepherd entities worldwide to mobilize teams to help clean up the oceans and beaches.
RAW for the Oceans is a G-Star collection that will be made with Bionic Yarn created out of plastic recycled from the oceans. The collaboration is a long-term creative exploration, where both parties will join to innovate denim and commit to make an impact on the ocean plastic pollution problem. In addition to planned seasonal collections, G-Star will integrate Bionic Yarn material into its product lines wherever possible. The first collection made with recycled plastic from the oceans is slated to be in stores in August, 2014.
At Parley for the Oceans at Berlin Fashion Week last summer, Pharrell Williams and Captain Paul Watson introduced “The Vortex Project,” which is a core initiative of the Parley movement. Experts from the fields of art, innovation, business, conservation and more came together to share knowledge and forge alliances.
Captain Paul Watson is enthused about helping to launch this unique partnership. About the endeavor, he says: “Plastic is choking our oceans and precious marine wildlife at an unprecedented rate. Straws, single-use bags, six-pack rings, drink lids and more are ensnaring marine animals or blocking their digestive systems, killing these magnificent creatures. It’s time humanity takes responsibility for our actions and cleans up the mess we’ve made. We hope this is the first of many meaningful collaborations to come.“
Musician and entrepreneur, Pharrell Williams has been the Creative Director of Bionic Yarn since 2009. About the collaboration, he says: “Working with G-Star was an obvious choice because they have a legacy of pushing the boundaries of fashion and denim forward. Bionic Yarn is a company built around performance, and denim is the perfect category to show the world what our product can do. Everyone has jeans in their closet.“
Source and Image Credit: Sea Shepherd