Every year, we are reminded of how precious is our planet – – and these days more than ever.
When I design a collection, I always think of how we as a company can be a part of the solution. Fortunately, the fashion industry is taking “sustainability” seriously and that is exciting for me. We’re living in a special time of innovation in fashion and textiles.
Let’s look at recycled polyester. Many years ago, when I was at Ralph Lauren, I mentioned polyester made from recycled plastic bottles to a senior executive. The reply was – – polyester? Who wears polyester? Well, this week, RL launched The Earth Polo.
Recycled polyester has always been one of the staple fabrics for inPhorm. And it’s now the trend in the fashion industry. According to the non-profit organization Textile Challenge, the use of recycled polyester is up by 36%, from less than 10% five years ago.
Of course, there are pros and cons to recycle polyester. Giving a second life to material that’s not biodegradable and would otherwise end up in landfill or ocean, reducing energy resources in the production of recycled polyester compared to virgin polyester, lessening our dependence on petroleum as a source of raw materials, are all kinder to the environment. However, recycling has its limitations. Many materials are not made from polyester alone, but a mixture of other fibers, which makes it difficult to recycle. Even clothes that are made of 100 percent polyester can’t be recycled forever. Also, there are arguments out there about the process of melting down the plastic that is harmful to the environment.
It’s been less than 20 years, but we’ve made huge strides toward creating recycled fabrics. The technology is not perfect yet. But I’m confident that we will find solutions. Our mission, my mission, is to empower consumers with better choices.
Recycled polyester, dry-dye technology (dying fabrics without water) and sustainable cellulose fibers are some of the materials and technologies used by inPhorm. Every day, we look for ways to be more sustainable.