Thursday 10 November 2016

From Threat To Thread

I've talked a lot over the past couple of months about ocean plastic, and how it's a great untapped resource waiting to happen. As new technologies develop around fibres and fabrics made from recycled petrochemical products, it becomes clearer that the island of junk floating somewhere in the Pacific could soon have miners descending on it like vultures.

The starting shot for that race might just have been fired. Sportswear giant Adidas, have, as I reported a few months back, teamed up with environmental initiative Parley For The Oceans to create a new shoe sourced almost entirely from ocean plastics. The uppers, normally made with synthetic fibres, have instead been woven from recycled plastic yarn. Meanwhile the midsoles have been 3-D printed from recycled fishing nets, one of the biggest problems in the creation of ocean junk.

All of which would be admirable. However, this is no limited edition vanity rollout, designed to make Adidas look good. The AdidasxParley shoe is reported to have a million-pair manufacture cycle. The plan is to get these shoes onto as many feet as possible, and prove that scaled-up sustainable fashion manufacture can work and be profitable. More importantly, that the shoes look good and feel comfortable. That shouldn't be too tricky. Let's face it–athletic footwear is mostly plastic these days anyway. Who cares where it comes from?

In a clever move, Adidas and Parley are also aiming to make ocean plastic-derived athletic wear a desirable item. They've launched football jerseys for AC Milan and Bayern Munich made from the stuff, that will be featured in special upcoming matches. That's going to get fans salivating, and spike up demand.

This is smart marketing, and really good news for the future exploitation of ocean plastics. Passionate football supporters will want these shirts, and will be prepared to listen to the story behind them. I think AdidasxParley may have just played a blinder.

For more, head to the Adidas site.

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