Ghost fishing nets, which are lost and left in the ocean, make up 10 per cent of plastic waste in the sea and these nets take about 600 years to decompose. Aquafil, one of the main producers of nylon 6 in Italy and the world, collaborates with Healthy Seas and Ghost Fishing to recruit volunteer divers and collect these fishing nets. The goal? To recycle the nets and transform them into new textiles. Something they have been doing since 2011.
The company calls this regenerated nylon fibre material, ECONYL®. The fabric is part of a closed loop production cycle: it’s woven entirely from found waste and is, in turn, 100 percent regenerable. A recent mission took place in the Aeolian Islands and led to 4000kg of discarded fishing nets being brought to the surface. As more and more brands get on board - Levi Strauss Co., Speedo, Volcom were pioneers - and use ECONYL® in their designs without necessarily telling consumers about it, we decided it was time for a round up of our favourite ones.
Husband-and-wife duo, Quang and Ellie, set out to make a change after she could not find eco-friendly activewear. Together they founded Girlfriend Collective back in 2016 with the objective to offer 100 per cent green and chic athleisure wear that wouldn't compromise on performance. Their first product - a pair of black legging made with 25 recycled water bottles - was given away for free to curious customers around the world. Today, the brand's collection also includes tops and bras in a variety of shades, and is one of the best 'value for money' out there.
Designer brand Gucci was one of the first luxury houses to use ECONYL® in their men outerwear last year. In its Gucci Equilibrium - a platform highlighting the brand's work to bring positive changes to the fashion industry - the label details publicly its commitment to not use PVC and the switch from virgin to recycled plastic, which started in 2015.
Following the notorious standards for sustainability set up by Kering (the luxury group Gucci is a part of), the positive actions also includes the use of an engineered fabric made from post-consumer bottles, responsible gold from artisanal small-scale miners and recycled metals in their accessories.