“Fashion can be a universal player in protecting the planet. Fashion is certainly a huge part of everybody’s lives. You wear it every day and for some people it’s a status symbol, or a statement of how much they have spent on clothes, or it’s a means of expressing their identity and who they are.

[By recycling ocean trash into denim, Bionic Yarn and G-Star Raw] are trying to infiltrate the entire spectrum of fashion, high-end and low. It’s a part of sustainability and the cause is to never throw anything into the ocean again. The ocean is just one part of the Earth we’re concentrating on, but the world is made up of 75 to 80 percent water. It’s a huge place to start.”

—Musician-entrepreneur Pharrell Williams, creative director of recycled-textile firm Bionic Yarn, speaking to National Geographic about the role fashion can play in environmental activism.