By Stephanie Wilson
H&M is set to launch its latest Conscious Exclusive Collection on April 20th. And while I used to believe H&M’s conscious fashion endeavours was just lip service, I’ve since changed my tune. When big brands who are invested in the status quo make incremental positive changes, they should be encouraged and praised. When a company has the massive platform that H&M has, and uses it to focus on a message of sustainability, it reverberates throughout the fashion industry. And that’s why I’m so excited for their upcoming collection that features Bionic Yarn.
But what exactly is Bionic yarn, and why is it important for conscious fashion? Founded by Tyson Toussant and Tim Coombs, Bionic is a textile start-up headquartered in New York City. The two friends realized just how much plastic was going to waste by simply looking at the streets of their city. The freely available but wasted material helped launch their sustainable start-up. After collection, plastic bottles are processed by melting them down and spinning the results into yarn.
Bionic yarn comes in three types: 100% recycled PET (FLX), recycled PET blended with either synthetic or natural fibres (DPX), and recycled PET fibres where each thread has a core and outer case of natural or synthetic fibres (HLX). Brands and manufacturers choose the type that best suits the functional and aesthetic needs of their collections and projects. The different types of thread mean that the fabric possibilities are endless. They also construct fabrics from this technology to produce a more durable and appealing material than other recycled fabrics.
Bionic’s first big client was Pharrell Williams who at the time was designing for Moncler, Topshop and the Gap. He was so taken by this innovative new fabric that he’s now the company’s Creative Director. But it wasn’t until Bionic worked with Pharrell on the G-Star Raw project – Raw for the Oceans – that the start-up began to use recycled plastic waste collected from the oceans.
Recent studies suggest approximately eight million metric tons of plastic waste enter the world’s oceans from land each year. Much of this waste includes bags, bottles and straws, and tons of it threatens marine ecosystems, and it enters the food chain continuously. The Raw for the Oceans denim line, launched in 2014, was made from a total of nine tons of recycled ocean plastic.
H&M hints at using more Bionic yarn in the future, which fits nicely with Toussant & Coombs’ mission to decrease plastic waste in our oceans and increase its use in recycled textiles. Of course, this is only part of the solution — plastic waste will decrease in our oceans (not to mention our marine food supplies) when we one day cease our use and disposal of plastics. But it’s definitely one important piece of how to solve this gargantuan problem.
In the meantime, the upcoming Conscious Exclusive collection has been teased with the image of a billowing, blush-coloured gown that’s as special as it is sustainable. It makes an important image change for eco-friendly fashion that we as conscious consumers can be excited about and wholeheartedly support.
My name is Stephanie Wilson, and I am fashion obsessed. I love pouring over fashion magazines, dressing up, and beautifully made clothes. I’ve long had a love affair with fashion. However, in 2014, I learned for the first time about just how harmful the fashion industry can be to ourselves, to the environment, and to workers. Since then, I’ve made a personal commitment to buy clothes that are eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and based on fair trade and fair labour practices whenever possible. I run a green beauty, sustainable fashion blog: Sense of Aesthetic.