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Recycled plastics: the height of fashion

United States – Many of today’s hottest fashions are coming from an unexpected source – namely yesterday’s plastics, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC). New recycling technologies have provided a growing number of designers with used plastic packaging for their creations, thus helping to reduce waste.

‘Plastic fabrics and materials have played an essential role in fashion and everyday clothing for generations,’ argues Jennifer Killinger, senior director of sustainability and public outreach for the ACC’s plastics division. ‘Now it’s easier than ever for consumers to find clothing and accessories that are made with recycled plastics. It’s an eco-trend that’s here to stay.’

This is partly thanks to ‘Plastics Make it Possible’, an initiative sponsored by the ACC. A large variety of pieces made for the project are now available in stores, ranging from ‘green’ jeans and handbags to faux leather, T-shirts, party dresses and fleece jackets. Use of lightweight recycled plastic is said to minimise bulk without compromising warmth and to deliver the durability that helps the creations to last ‘season after season’.

To boost awareness of sustainable clothing during the 2013 New York Fashion Week, a special vending machine was installed on midtown 8th Avenue to enable passers-by to purchase a limited-edition designer T-shirt made by ‘Plastics Make it Possible’ – using a plastic bottle as currency. The device is said to have attracted plenty of attention.

Celebrity stylist Gretta Monahan observes that recycled plastic fabric ‘is being used by both established and up-and-coming designers’ and its impact has been ‘much bigger than just a few collections’. She elaborates: ‘The eco-chic movement has permeated the fashion world so that, now, entire brands are built around sustainability.’

The involvement of mainstream brands such as H&M and Levi’s has further popularised this trend. ‘Style and sustainability can go hand in hand,’ the stylist concludes.

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