23/10/18 Everlane Will Stop Using Virgin Plastics

Last week, Everlane, the brand known for its “radical transparency” in terms of pricing and ethical factories, deleted all of their photos from Instagram. Why? The wipe was all part of the brand’s ambitious announcement that they will eliminate all virgin plastic from its supply chain by 2021. Instead, all plastics in their packaging and clothing will be sourced from recycled plastic water bottles.

Everlane has projected they will recycle 100 million water bottles in the next five years. For context, 500 billion new plastic water bottles are produced each year. And once plastic has been created, it doesn’t biodegrade, it just breaks down into progressively smaller bits (see: the Great Pacific Garbage patch).

When you consider that plastics are in everything from body glitter to tea bags, things start looking pretty bleak. So, congrats to Everlane for making this monumental move.

 

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Image courtesy: Everlane

The plan was announced at a dinner held last Tuesday on the rooftop of the Brooklyn Grange farm, where the food was by Dan Barber of Blue Hill, whose sustainable farming and cuisine philosophy sits nicely with Everlane’s. Invited guests stayed cosy in the al fresco setting with Everlane blankets and sweaters made from their new ReNew fleece, which is made from recycled plastic bottles, while Preysman delivered some staggering statistics: There are 8 billion tons of plastic on the planet, which is roughly one ton per person that exists; and plastic cannot be broken down in the environment. “It’s a really convenient thing, but it’s actually incredibly damaging because once plastic is made, we use it for a second but it lasts forever,” Preysman said, as reported by WWD. He acknowledged the “cognitive dissonance” intrinsic to a company that is built on producing and selling new stuff all the time, and how Everlane plans to reconcile that cognitive dissonance as best it can.

 

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Image courtesy: Everlane

ReNew consists of 13 women’s and men’s cold-wear styles, such as parkas, winter puffers, lightweight puffers and fleece sweatshirts, made from more than 3 million recycled plastic water bottles. Colours include lavender, brick, mustard, rose, stone and navy.

To coincide with the ReNew launch, Everlane will open a ReNew Concept Shop in SoHo in New York, offering an interactive and inside look into the ReNew production line, tracing the journey from discarded plastic bottles to garments. Visitors are invited to learn about the problem of plastic waste and get inspired to take action, with a range of on-site experiential installations, educational workshops and interactive programming stations.

New products will be introduced to the category over the coming years and all Everlane products will be distributed in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bags. Collectively, these changes will recycle 100 million plastic bottles within the next five years.

As well as removing virgin plastic from its supply chain, Everlane plans to use silk grown in regenerative farms by 2021 and aims for it to be dyed and washed with 100% recycled water in processes that use 100% renewable energy by 2022.

 

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Image courtesy: Everlane

Everlane isn’t the only fashion brand thinking about its use of plastic. New York City-based designer Gabriela Hearst committed to going plastic free by April 2019 back in June. While performance-wear and outdoor brands including Patagonia (which began recycling plastic bottles into polyester in 1993), have been on top of the issue for decades, for most of the industry, abandoning new plastic is still a radical suggestion and faces much resistance.

The hope is that more and more brands will make the transition towards sustainable supply chains, with moves by the likes of Everlane pushing them towards it sooner rather than later.