Sunday, 14 June 2009

Recycling PET-bottles for Executive Suits

It is seldom that a well-dressed young female executive turns up in my blog. But this is different.
How many women are out there willing to wear a suit made from recycled PET-bottles?

Using recycled PET-bottles in clothing is not new. Polar fleece, usually referred to simply as "fleece", was created in 1979 by Malden Mills, now Polartec LLC. They came up with a soft napped insulating synthetic wool fabric made from (recycled) PET or other synthetic fibres. A material meant to mimic and in some ways surpass wool. Fleece has some of wool's finest qualities but weighs a fraction of the lightest available woollens. It is used in casual jackets, and outdoor outfits.

Last year I wrote the article “A Samurai outfit made from PET-bottles”. Kosuke Tsumura, designer for the urban survival clothing brand Final Home in Japan added an extra dimension to the recycling possibilities of PET-bottles. Not recycling to fleece material, but creating fashionable albeit not effective armour and combat suits by slicing up PET-bottles and sewing them together.
The armour will not stand up against the slightest battle and moving around may be a problem, but for a party anybody wearing it looks fashionable and cool in this samurai design.

Although interesting with regards to recycling the billions of PET-bottles the world is throwing away daily on landfills, it was primarily a ‘fashion joke’. However it certainly was also the beginning of a new era for the re-use of discarded PET-bottles.

Eying the current credit crunch, in which people are looking for good value and still wanting to keep up their commitment to sustainability, Debenhams, a High Street department store in the UK, introduced a female business suit created entirely (although I doubt that) out of recycled plastic bottles. According to Debenhams, the ultimate eco-friendly outfit is equally friendly priced at £55 (€ 65).

The project to create clothing from 100 per cent recycled sources has taken the fashion retailer 12 months to perfect. The resulting expertly tailored trouser suits look and feel like any other outfit created for smart female executives.

Each suit is made from 50 bottles which are put through a special process. The bottles are cleaned and have their labels removed before being ground down into chips which are melted at a plant in Taiwan. The mixture is then refined and woven into a soft but hard-wearing type of polyester. The suit is made in Vietnam.

A spokesman for Debenhams claims that the single-button jacket and the boot-cut trousers will tempt the ' fashion conscious' shopper and 'would not look out of place in the boardroom'.

And here is an expert review from some fashion website: “Although its polyester feel may not be luxurious enough for everyone, the unique jacket and trouser suits from Collection, Debenhams own brand, do not compromise on style. The single-buttoned jacket is nipped in at the waist with a subtle herringbone lining, while the trousers have a modern shape with a boot-cut finish, ensuring the suit ticks all the right boxes for the fashion conscious female.”

Debenhams claims its eco-suit is an innovation which saves energy, reduces CO2 emissions and cuts down land-fill sites, making it the perfect outfit for eco-friendly fashionistas.

An outfit for life as PET doesn’t biodegrade.


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