If you read the minuscule amount of information on Wikipedia about the use of plastics in clothing you will probably be thinking why there isn’t more information or more interest or why there is not some race to market by a global conglomerate to create a line of clothing from all the waste plastic blowing down the street, floating in the ocean and clogging up landfill.
It seems like a hot topic and so ‘on trend’ that you would imagine that it might have occurred to some plucky ‘go-getter’ that a gap exists for this type of product and that it might have become more mainstream by now.
But wait….it is happening and it has been for a few years now…..it just doesn’t seem to be percolating out into the mainstream or into the wider conscious of your average clothes buyer…aka your average teenager who has grown up with fast fashion. They don’t give a two figs.
The clothing brand Patagonia, the sports brand Adidas and the high street brand H&M are just some of the well know brands that have been producing garments made from recycled plastic but it is hard to see any marketing messages that are extolling these virtues to the ‘nextgen’ and that are helping to change attitudes. It looks like the majority of recently post pubescent millennial type people don’t really care and are not even aware.You can test this yourself by asking the nearest teenager what they think about recycled plastic clothing and you will get a shrug and a pffft..
A recent 2018 poll by Bof and Mckinsey (whoever they are) stated that Sixty six percent of global millennials are willing to spend more on brands that are sustainable ; State of Fashion 2018 report.
Other statistics by Oeko Tex claim that millenials are more aware of the debilitating effect that the clothing industry has on the environment and that 69 % are interested in certified sustainable clothing but only 37 % actually factor this into their purchasing decisions.
Our own Shirtworks ‘back of a fag packet’ estimate is that these figures are massively optimistic and likened to the sort of response that you would get if you asked them all if they brushed their teeth twice a day. The answers you get often reflect what the surveyed demographic think they should say rather than reflecting what actually happens.
It could be that your average teenagers brain is not yet fully formed and that empathy and wisdom are too far down the track, impossible for them to perceive until they have strapped themselves to a burning fuselage, high on contraband and had time to burn out that feeling that they are indestructible before they can give a hoot about the planet.
The question of whether plastic clothes are a good idea, although lost on most of us right now, has an easy answer…….yes!
There is nothing bad about taking Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) out of the waste environment and making something usable out of it again, and again and again.
Obviously it would not be a great idea to be making clothing from newly formed ‘virgin’ plastic but super science geeks in textile technology labs figured out a long time ago that you can make fibres from certain types of used plastic which you can then weave. Hey presto, you have a skin covering, most often made from something that had a completely different objective.
PET is the type of plastic that is used in the majority of drinks containers/bottles and in the last 18 years the UK has gone from recycling just 3% of PET household waste to 60%. This sounds like a great leap and if only the rest of the world would catch up. The rest of the world, especially East Asia seems to be the problem. Sorry guys but the troof is the troof.
Kelly Slater, that Buddha like surf bloke with white super white teeth and a West Coast tan thinks it’s a great idea, with his OuterKnown range of clothing, that is in some part made from ocean salvage. This photogenic surf dude is a great ambassador for sustainable clothing but if you look at his website you will see the pitch is firmly aimed at your ‘over 30’s demographic.
And there it is…..your market.
You can mostly forget anyone under 30. They pretend to care because virtue signalling gets them points in the social competition that involves attracting a mate and self promotion but it won’t translate into real action…you are going to have to wait 15 years until they move into your caring demographic.
Those who have had time to get fed up with declining standards, those that have children and now have a reason to pass on something better. They have had their ‘caning it’ days and they see their mortality edging closer, they have burned that impatient energy and now slowed down, long enough to give everything a little bit more consideration.
So….if you are starting out on the road to your own sustainable fashion brand and you need an entry product then you you need to look at the SALVAGE range of products.