From 'I am not a plastic bag' to 'I am a plastic bag', designer Anya Hindmarch is making fashion sustainable
February 20, 2020: Anya Hindmarch’s 2007 ground-breaking ‘I’m Not A Plastic Bag’ collaboration, with advertising agency Antidote and social change movement Shift, significantly contributed to the reduction in the number of plastic bags used. The limited-edition, reusable canvas tote was created in response to the growing environmental challenge of single-use plastic bags and to inspire people to change their everyday actions. The British Retail Consortium estimated that in 2006, the UK alone used 10.6 billion plastic bags, and this figure dropped to 6.1 billion in 2010.
Following on, Ms. Hindmarch has now created ‘I Am A Plastic Bag’. Made from an innovative new fabric which is created from recycled plastic bottles and coated with recycled plastic windshields, the collection has taken two years of testing and researching to find the best methods and partners to create the ‘I Am A Plastic Bag’ collection.
The luxurious, cotton canvas feel fabric used to make the new collection is woven from a yarn created from plastic bottles. The plastic bottles are first sorted, shredded, washed and then turned into pellets. These pellets are melted and extruded into fibres that are then spun and woven to create the fabric. It takes 32- half-litre bottles to make each large tote. To create a weather-resistant durable finish, the fabric is then coated in recycled PVB, a product which is extracted from old car windshields. The bag is trimmed with leather. Whilst the initial plan was to use vegan or recycled leather for the trim, after much research and expert advice, it was concluded that responsibly-sourced leather was the best material as the alternatives contained unacceptably high-levels of polyurethane. They have also partnered with EcoAct - a global climate change consultancy - to measure the emissions associated with the I Am A Plastic Bag collection and to make this a carbon-neutral project.
The full collection of four colours will launch mid-April in Anya Hindmarch London stores, online and with Matches Fashion in mid-April. Exclusive launches then roll out with Isetan in Tokyo, Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and Mainland China, David Jones in Australia, Aizel in Moscow and Anya Hindmarch global stores. Each territory will have its own exclusive colours.
Both the project and the Company have been awarded the Butterfly Mark from Positive Luxury a symbol of trust earned by brands that have adopted sustainability as a business strategy.