Recycled plastic is the new black

Did you know your fashion choices can contribute towards fighting ocean pollution? There are more and more brands creating sustainable clothes and shoes made from recycled plastic, retrieved from our seas.

Nowadays, 60% of all the clothing is comprised of plastic and its derivates. Synthetic fibres are inexpensive and versatile, but are also a big part of the problem, since they contain microplastics that feed the ever-growing garbage patches in our oceans.

In the fast fashion cycle this problem only escalates. Cheap, low-quality, and highly polluting clothes survive a few months in our wardrobes and get thrown away shortly after. The plastic in your clothing becomes more plastic in the ocean.

One thing that can change this sad scenario is a more conscious consumer behaviour, which can drastically widen the life cycle of clothing. That is, buying clothes built to last is supporting sustainable fashion. Slow fashion also considers how clothes are made. It is, then, possible to have sustainable and ecological clothing, that helps protect the seas and oceans.

Slow fashion vs fast fashion

Slow fashion roots on a more conscious and sustainable production model that values and respects the environment and the people involved in the production process. It is the opposite of fast fashion which, in order to be mass produced, relies in cheaper, less sustainable resources, both environmentally and socially.

Eco-friendly brands like Skizo, Zouri, Lemon Jelly, Wayz, Conscious Swimwear or 38 graus allow clothing to be an affirmation of eco-fashion. The current environmental concerns extend over to the search for ecological clothing and to the development of sustainability in fashion. The use of recycled materials does not have to be limited to packaging.

When you opt for shoes and clothes made from recycled plastic, you are disrupting the cycle of production and waste.

Get to know some Portuguese brands that create sustainable fashion:

Skizo shoes

Photo by Skizo.

  • Skizo

Every pair of Skizo shoes equals 36 plastic bottles fished from the sea.

This Portuguese brand, from the city São João da Madeira, makes one single pair of shoes at a time to avoid waste.

The main raw material is collected by fishermen, and complemented with other also sustainable materials – the pink soles, for instance, are made from chewing gum.

And when your Skizo shoes become worn out, you can give them back to the brand to be mended and donated. Each pair of shoes has not one but two lives, and this is the definition of sustainable shoes.

  • Zouri

Also Zouri is expanding the sustainable fashion world with its vegan and eco-friendly shoes. In just one year, the brand has repurposed one tonne of recycled plastic that was littering Portuguese waters. Zouri’s factory, in the city of Guimarães, is also all in about ethical production – further uniting fashion and sustainability.

Sneakers Wayz

Photo by Wayz.

  • Wayz

Wayz, made in Porto, defines its products as “Sneakers with a humanistic footprint”.

With a strong social point of view, Wayz is all about transparency, being open and outspoken about the materials they use, the entire production process and the costs that lead to the final price of their sneakers.

These sneakers are made of eco-friendly materials and bet on a timeless design that resists the time and the ephemeral fashion trends. They are made to last.

All components are sourced locally and the production itself takes place within a radius of 70km from Porto.

  • Lemon Jelly

The concern with ecology is not only for new projects. Procalçado, in business since 1973, launched the Wasteless Act collection in 2018, through Lemon Jelly. This shoe line reduces carbon dioxide emissions associated with production in 90%. The shoes are, too, made of recycled plastic.

Conscious Swimwear

Photo by Conscious Swimwear.

  • Conscious Swimwear

But the good list is not limited to footwear.

When at the beach, you can enjoy a clean, plastic-free ocean, while wearing a Conscious Swimwear bikini. This brand joined forces with Econyl to transform plastic waste into a mix & match collection of sustainable clothing.

All materials are sustainable, including the packaging. The boxes are recycled, recyclable and as tiny as possible, as well as the tags, attached using a biodegradable cotton rope.

One percent of the profit of every bikini piece – handmade in Lisbon – is donated toward environmental causes.

  • 38 graus

38 graus is all about sustainable fabric to create ecological clothing. 80% of the brand’s bikinis and one-pieces are made of a polyamide fibre created from recycled materials. The brand’s promise to its customers is durability and, furthermore, the brand is openly against fast fashion.

Remember that a product made of recycled plastic is still a plastic product. Wash it with an eco-friendly detergent, at low temperatures, and use a short washing cycle or wash it by hand to lower the amount of micro-plastics released to the oceans.

Your wardrobe can become more sustainable and long-lasting while remaining original. What you wear in every walk through the forest or to the beach can help preserve the incredible environment you enjoy every day.