Plastics and other non-biodegradable materials have become increasingly unpopular in recent times. The movement toward sustainability has hiked in the last few years, in correlation with the public’s awareness of environmental issues. There has been a subsequent shift in priorities and values when it comes to consumption.
The younger generations are striving to bring about a sustainable shift in consumer goods. Their purchasing power, needs and a sense of socio-civic responsibility are compelling corporations to adapt to earth-friendly alternatives.
Millennials and Gen Z are battling the adverse effects of the climate crisis, including famines, water shortages, extreme weather changes, rising sea levels and unrest in destabilised societies. Big brands and companies are taking accountability and aiming to integrate environmental, economic and social issues into their business operations.
Brands like Nike, Adidas and Gucci are upping their manufacturing processes to cater to a smart, sceptical group of young consumers with long lives to live, money to spend, and ecological concerns to tackle.
To cater to the needs of runners who wish to wear snug shoes that fit like a sock, Nike designed Flyknit in 2012 – a fundamental breakthrough in sustainable innovation. After working on the technology for nearly a decade alongside designers, engineers and programmers, Nike developed a fabric that fits like a sock, without compromising the support and durability needed for sporting activities.
Nike found innovative ways to minimise its carbon footprint and transform its manufacturing process by switching to recycled polyester for creating these Flyknit shoes.
The Flyknit process weaves knit strands of yarn together to form one seamless footwear upper, which allows for engineering accurate down to the millimetre.
As per the company, Flyknit shoes dramatically cut down on material waste by making use of digital knitting technology, rather than the traditional cut and sew production, which produces a lot of scraps.
With an aim to double its business while reducing the company’s environmental impact by half, each pair of these shoes is crafted using materials equivalent to six recycled plastic bottles.
Shop Nike Flyknit Shoes for Women
Shop Nike Flyknit Shoes for Men
Founded in 2015, the Los Angeles clothing brand Reformation is an ethical and ‘slow’ fashion company, which advocates for sustainability and climate positivity. The brand hopes to lead by example and inspire customers to join in this critical move, through its eco-friendly interventions. Its clothing has been sported by numerous celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber, Blake Lively, Taylor Swift and Hailey Bieber to name a few.
Featuring eco-friendly products like the ‘Glenna Cashmere Sweater,’ made from fine-gauge 90 percent recycled cashmere and the ‘Upcycled Patchwork High Rise Straight Jeans,’ made with 57 percent regenerative cotton and 43 percent TENCEL™ Lyocell, Reformation clothing is inspiring people to shift to slow fashion.
Its 100 percent recyclable ‘circular Ref Jeans’ are made from fabric scraps that would have otherwise ended up in the trash.
Shop Cynthia High Rise Straight Jeans
Shop Upcycled Patchwork High Rise Straight Jeans
Breitling is a Grenchen-based Swiss luxury watchmaking company which was founded in 1884 by Léon Breitling in Saint-Imier, Switzerland. The brand is known for precision-made chronometers designed for aviators.
Apart from timepieces, the watch company also produces colourful and eco-friendly watch straps co-designed with Kelly Slater’s surf wear brand, Outerknown. Exuding an edgy look while offering sustainability, these single-piece watch straps are manufactured from ECONYL yarn.
This fabric is an innovative material repurposed from nylon waste extracted from the oceans. With a slew of vibrant colours to choose from, their Outerknown ECONYL yarn straps are perfect for your summer adventures.
In 2015, Adidas partnered with an environmental organisation, Parley For The Oceans, which focused on the preservation of the oceans and reducing threats of contamination. The brands collaboratively worked on turning scrap generated from marine pollution into sportswear and launched apparel and footwear too. They brought together high-performance technology and sustainable materials, to create products made entirely from recycled ocean plastic and gillnets.
The brands addressed some of the biggest and most tangible threats looming in the marine environment, and showcased it to a global audience.
Each Adidas Parley sneaker repurposes approximately eleven plastic bottles that would have otherwise ended up in the oceans. The colour palette of this collection reflects the environment, which the brands aim to safeguard. It features seafoam blues, deep greens and a spectrum of navy.
Everlane, the San Francisco based direct-to-consumer fashion retailer, launched ReNew in 2018. It is a collection of women’s and men’s puffers and fleece that has been made entirely from recycled plastic water bottles. Everlane also pledged to eliminate all virgin plastic from its supply chain.
“Starting with the ReNew collection, all virgin plastic poly bags used for shipping products will be removed and replaced with renewed poly bags made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic,” the brand said in a 2018 press release.
In 2019, Everlane also collaborated with The New York Times to help raise awareness about climate change and sustainability.
Blending together exceptional comfort, innovation and sustainable design, Rothy’s is a San Francisco based direct-to-consumer fashion company, which was founded in 2012 and launched in 2016 by Stephen Hawthornthwaite and Roth Martin.
Made from 100 percent post-consumer plastic, the lightweight washable flats and loafers from this brand, also feature foam components in the insoles, which are upcycled from other pre-owned footwear. The company has recycled over 50 million plastic water bottles since the inception of their brand. Rothy’s durable flats are made manually as well as on 3D knitting machines.
The brand also branched out into making handbags in 2020 and has opened further stores in Washington, D.C., Boston and New York City.
Launched by L’Oréal in 2018, Seed Phytonutrients is a clean beauty brand with a mission to craft haircare and beauty formulas that are more trusted than they are trendy, and ensure minimal carbon impact on the planet. The brand’s products were picked up by cosmetics giant Sephora in less than a year of its production.
The products are packaged in a shower-friendly bottles, made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper. It also features a post-consumer recycled plastic liner.
The body and hair care brand offers products that are vegan, paraben-free, gluten-free, sulphate-free and made with organically and locally-sourced farm ingredients.
As part of their green and circular initiative, the shampoo and other bottles reveal a small surprise packet containing diverse heirloom seeds at the bottom, once the product is over. This has been done in collaboration with Hudson Valley Seed Company to preserve seed diversity. Consumers can plant and grow these seeds in their home-gardens and further contribute to a circular ecosystem.
Designed for mindful and environmentally-conscious consumers, Gucci Off The Grid was launched in 2020, as part of Gucci Circular Lines—the house’s initiative for circular production. The collection uses recycled, organic, bio-based and sustainably sourced materials to make packing cubes, laundry bags, backpacks, handbags, hats and footwear.
The accessories are crafted for contemporary and stylish travellers, with a mission to bring about positive changes and secure our collective future. The collection is made using materials such as ECONYL regenerated nylon, which is completely derived from pre and post-consumer waste, including dumped fishing nets and carpets.
The sustainable Gucci collection makes good use of harmful plastics and waste materials, which are otherwise likely to end up in landfills. They regenerate this trash into new high-quality yarn.
Shop the Gucci Off The Grid collection
Hero and featured image: Courtesy of Adidas
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