100 Per Cent Recycled Ocean Plastic Sportswear at Australian Open

Connector Winter 2019

Players contracted to Adidas wore the company’s first sportswear range made from 100 per cent recycled “ocean plastic”, which it created in partnership with ocean-protection organisation Parley.

Some of the world’s top tennis players, including Alexander “Sascha” Zverev, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber and women’s singles champion, Naomi Osaka wore the range.

Parley founder Cyrill Gutsch said the organisation had the idea for creating yarn from plastic collected from shorelines around the world in 2012. Adidas was prepared to join as its first apparel partner, in 2015.

“Today there is no excuse for any company to use new, virgin plastic,” Mr Gutsch said from New York. “We have proven consumers are willing to pay a little more money and … prefer products made from ‘ocean plastic’ than other recycled plastics or new plastics.”

Of course, working with a top sportswear company required Parley to address two key – and sometimes competing – criteria: performance and style.

“We wanted to take two things away from the pre-judgement that people have [about recycled fashion] – that it’s ugly and looks like a tree hugger, and it’s low quality,” Mr Gutsch said. “We have to make it an appealing and desirable mindset that it’s cool to be an environmentalist.”

Sustainable fashion editor and author Clare Press said fashion and environmentalism must never be viewed in isolation.

“I believe this is the future – fashion is a great innovator … we should and could be applying lots more of our energy to circularity,” she said.

Press said the Adidas project was commendable “because the messaging is so strong”. She also acknowledged the fashion industry is still finding a solution to the issue of microfibre “shedding” from recycled garments.

But initiatives such as Parley yarn are a great start, she said.

“When we talk about moving towards a circular fashion system the process is almost as complex as fashion itself. There are so many parts of the puzzle that need to be in place to make it work,” she said.

Shannon Morgan, brand director – Pacific of Adidas, said the tennis collection provided a platform to spread the message of ocean health.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald