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The fashion industry responds to World Oceans Day


The fashion industry responds to World Oceans Day

With World Oceans Day on our doorstep, Lucy Yeomans, Net-a-Porter’s chief executive, has spoken out against the ‘plastic problem’ in the fashion industry. This is a great step, especially bearing in mind that fans of fashion are by definition ‘followers’, so when someone as relevant to the industry as Lucy Yeomans speaks out, there is a chance that people will listen.

As a first step, the magazine for Net-a-Porter (‘Porter’) is being delivered this month in paper packaging, rather than its usual packaging, and Yeomans reports that as soon as they have used up all of the plastic packaging they have in stock, the magazine will be packaged in paper on a permanent basis. Not only this, but Yeomans has made all fashion shoots at the company plastic free zones.

Unfortunately, however, the problem is so large that simply banning plastic bottles at a shoot is not going to make up for the damage the fashion industry has done to our environment, particularly our oceans. Erik Solheim, the UN environment chief, called the plastic problem a global “plastic calamity”. Not only are the fashion industry extracting more and more raw materials to make virgin plastic products that form parts of our clothing, but much of our clothing also contains plastic microfibres that it sheds during the wash cycle.

The environmental organisation ‘Parley’ has had its founder Cyrill Gutsch begging designers and brands to wean themselves off the “plastic drug”. He is encouraging fashion brands to stop using virgin plastic, but instead to collect ocean plastic, which is already accumulated at the bottom of the sea. He believes this ocean plastic can then be recycled into new materials for use in fashion. A number of brands and designers have taken on board his requests with Stella McCartney and H&M using recycled plastics to make many of their garments. Stella McCartney even produced ocean plastic trainers for Adidas in 2016.

Lucy Yeomans

Lucy Yeomans. Photograph: Shot by Mario Sorrenti courtesy of PORTER

Yeomans is happy to play her part in speaking about the plastic issue. She hopes that in this week surrounding World Oceans Day she can help to use her influence to inform people “that plastic is not fantastic.”

Source: “Plastic is not cool” – is fashion finally cleaning up its act? By Lucy Finnigan

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