The ReNew outerwear line, launched in late October by Everlane, has yanked three million water bottles out of the waste stream and turned them into fibers for the venture. The new collection offers cleaner fashion in an industry known for heavy pollution and resource consumption. This first round of renewed clothing includes four fleece pullover options, six puffer jackets and three parkas.
While other companies have edged toward the trend of incorporating recycled materials into their production, Everlane is taking it a step further. Everlane has vowed to eliminate all virgin plastic from its manufacturing processes by 2021 and instead will rely 100 percent on recycled materials. Furthermore, the company will eliminate all single-use plastics from corporate offices and retail store locations. It has also committed to the use of recycled bags when shipping merchandise.
The commitment is a firm one, as evidenced by the process involved to turn plastic into usable fibers. First, the facility receives large bales of compressed plastic bottles that are sorted using a combination of human and machine efforts. After sorting, the bottles are ground down into tiny flakes and subsequently melted into molten plastic. Next, that plastic is sent through a machine that turns it into long strands and then dices the strands into crystals. Once they arrive at the spinning facility, those crystals are melted down once again, turned into thread and spun into yarn for fabrics.
In addition to the ReNew line aimed at conscientious material sourcing, Everlane offers sustainability with the goal for its products to last for decades. This is in steep contrast to many textile industry business plans that market trendy and disposable clothing to encourage consumers to constantly purchase the newest, flash-in-the-pan item. In addition, the company demands fair trade practices from the factories it works with and believes in ethical treatment of employees. In fact, all Black Friday profits are returned to the employees in some fashion. As a case in point, the 2018 profits are earmarked to build an organic farm on the campus of a facility in Vietnam, a country with otherwise excessive pesticide use that pollutes the food supply.
Images via Everlane