Fashion brands are increasingly using recycled plastic in their lines

Sustainable stances aren’t just in vogue—they’re crucial for brands to implement as the realities of global warming magnify fashion’s reputation as a horrifically dirty industry. The fashion industry is at a pivotal moment when it comes to sustainability, and brands that aren’t taking actionable steps to reduce their environmental impact in society’s Race To Zero waste, explored in our Innovation Outlook report, will be left behind. 


Everlane, the brand that pioneered direct-to-consumer high-quality basics and popularized hyper-transparency throughout its process, recently announced that it plans to eliminate the use of all non-recycled plastic in its clothing and accessories by 2021. The announcement was almost immediately followed by the launch of ReNew, the first line the brand is releasing as part of this commitment. The ReNew line consists of 13 styles of puffers and fleece for both men and women, all of which are made from recycled plastic water bottles and priced from $55 to $198.


Sustainable and size-inclusive activewear brand Girlfriend Collective, whose product offerings are fabricated from a superfine and supersoft polyester fiber that is made from recycled water bottles, is now retailing at Nordstrom. The brand’s comfortable and functional leggings and bras are moisture-wicking, compressive, and are designed with a minimal aesthetic that is currently trending in the athleisure and activewear space. Girlfriend Collective’s popularity points to an exciting development in sustainable fashion, as both plastic alternatives and recycled plastic don’t just do the job, but look the part as well. 


Fast fashion brands are often the first to take the blame for the fashion industry’s wastefulness, but recently this sector of the industry is introducing initiatives that offset both this stigma and their own environmental impact. Swedish retailer H&M’s first eco-friendly fall line, Conscious Exclusive, contains multiple types of recycled fibers, such as wool, cashmere, and polyester, but the brand’s use of Econyl, an innovative fabric made from recycled plastic, is a particular standout. Like Everlane, H&M has made an eco-conscious pledge: to use only sustainable or recycled materials by 2030, and concepts like Conscious Exclusive help H&M achieve this goal.