Strolling along Old Street yesterday, I came across a plastic waste installation created by Andy Billett for Corona x Parley for the Oceans to mark their ambitious sustainability collaboration. Well known for their work with Adidas, Stella McCartney and other brands, the Parley team have pioneered the use of ocean waste transformed into synthetic yarns which are then reworked into textiles and products including apparel and footwear. I then connected with the Parley and Corona teams and came to learn more about how for World Oceans Day they are reimagining and recreating the Hawaiian shirt out of ocean plastic and safeguarding 100 beaches.
In the lead up to World Oceans Day, Corona is using plastic from beaches to build sculptures in London, Melbourne, Santiago, Bogota, Santo Domingo and Lima. These installations serve as a representation of the issue with the local plastic seamlessly integrating into Corona’s paradise imagery. The “Wave of Waste” sculpture in Old Street, London, features Australian actor Chris Hemsworth surfing in a wave of plastic collected in the UK, including waste from Holywell beach collected by The Marine Conservation Society. It brings the total weight to 1,200kg of plastic, with over 10,000 individual pieces of plastic – representing the amount of marine plastic pollution found on the beach every two miles in the UK.
To mark World Oceans Day, Corona and Parley for the Oceans have created a symbolic Hawaiian shirt woven from recycled ocean plastic yarn, complete with plastic waste print design (toothbrushes morph into marine life, amongst waves) to drive home the issue of often unseen plastics infiltrating our oceans.
The team at Parley are known for their Parley For The Ocean drive and previous collaborations include Parley x Adidas swimwear, clothing and trainers. This time around, they are working with Corona to go beyond product collaboration, on an initiative that seeks to protect 100 Islands around the world by 2020, spanning Mexico, Australia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Italy and the Maldives. The initiative combines an educational drive to put in place preventative measures for plastic waste entering the oceans, collection of plastic waste from beaches and design and development to convert the recovered plastic into new products. ‘Avoid. Intercept. Redesign.’ is the overarching strategy.
With sustainability and materials waste an ever more important issue, it’s interesting to reflect on public perception of textiles that are natural, and often considered more environmentally sound, versus those which are synthetic. This Hawaiian shirt is 100% polyester, created from plastic bottles which are made of a synthetic polymer that is structurally equivalent to polyester. The bottles are broken into flakes, then turned into a liquid form which can then be extruded into filaments which are spun – the resulting yarn can then be woven or knitted into new products, like this Hawaiian shirt. By contrast, recycling natural fibres like cotton or linen is not nearly as simple or efficient, and currently does not yield sufficient quality yarn that can be remade into apparel and footwear. In this sense, achieving sustainability with synthetics is currently more achievable, a fact that is often overlooked in the sustainability narrative between brands and consumers. It will be interesting to see how this changes as consumers continue to seek more sustainable clothing options and request transparency over materials sources, manufacturing and environmental impact.
To know more about the polyester making process click here
To know more about the recycled yarn process take a look at Bionic Yarn
The limited-edition shirts can be purchased here and proceeds from each Corona Hawaiian shirt will go to Parley for the Oceans to help support its mission to protect our oceans.