by Kate Finnigan
As World Oceans Day approaches, Net-a-Porter’s Lucy Yeomans is leading the way in tackling fashion’s addiction to the ‘plastic drug’. But there’s a long way to go
In April, at a Net-a-Porter event where the online retailer’s trends for this autumn were presented, one of the most popular accessories was not a leather handbag by Gucci or a leopard-print, high-vamp shoe, but the black Net-a-Porter.com-branded “keep” cups that the coffee was served in. At least one fashion editor was witnessed shouldering her way over to the bar muttering: “I just need one of those cups!”
A number of established designers and brands are listening. Stella McCartney, who worked with Parley in 2016 to make ocean plastic trainers for Adidas, now uses recycled polyester and ECONYL® – a regenerated nylon made from industrial plastic, waste fabric and fishing nets – in certain accessories and outerwear, with a commitment to stop using any virgin nylon by 2020.
“The challenge for the future is to create a world where brands make a product, consumers use it and then return it to the manufacturer to make another product,” says Giulio Bonazzi, CEO and president of Aquafil, a company that transforms plastic ocean and landfill waste into textiles. “For me this is not just about avoiding the use of plastic. There needs to be a fundamental shift in how we approach the design of products. We have to think about the end of life – what happens when the garment is finished with? If it is going to end up in landfill or filling our oceans then we should not be making it.”