What’s more sustainable than turning landfill waste into luxury fashion?
Major fashion brands are taking steps to become more sustainable. Adidas recently launched a new collection made from ocean plastic. In Italy, a group of luxury brands partnered to make their supply chains more sustainable. Fashion house Prada is on its third sustainability-linked loan.
Now, a small fashion house in Russia has taken a huge leap. Right into a landfill.
99Recycle exclusively sources plastic from landfill sites to create its range, which includes bags, backpacks and pencil cases, through to skateboards and even a bike produced from recycled plastics via 3D printing.
The company is based in St Petersburg. Inspiration came from the mountains of rubbish located on the outskirts of the Russian city. The key focus of the brand? To create sustainable fashion that is financially viable for both the business and the consumer.
The 99Recycle brand name reflects the idea of creating products in which 99% of the materials are recycled. Moreover, the products themselves are 99% recyclable. This is the message Anton Rykachevskiy, co-founder of 99Recycle, wants to spread, “We show people a new life of waste, we motivate them to take a more responsible attitude to secondary raw materials. We promote ethical consumption and sustainable development by transmitting a positive and illustrative example in the form of products created in our workshop.”
Plastic Fantastic Fashion
“The process of preparing the materials is more complicated than for ordinary materials,” Olesya Kulik, designer at 99Recycle, explains to Euronews. “Most of our time is taken up by the preparation, because we need to clean it, to make it even, to select it, to reject some materials.”
Each product is hand-stitched and unique. “Our sewing department specialises in upcycling – we sew bags and accessories from PVC curves from locally produced trampolines, advertising banners, and recycled bags,” says Kulik.
Crucial to the brand’s success is forging relationships with like-minded organisations. Covers for Kindness is a local charity that gathers old plastic lids or covers, sorts them according to colour, and delivers them to 99Recycle.
However, the company also creates partnerships with businesses concerned about the waste they are generating. The corporate range includes gifts, branded merchandise, and functional decor elements. According to Rykachevskiy, “We will help transform materials into beautiful and useful products. For example, banners that have become useless can be sewn into bags and cardholders.”
The focus is always on helping the environment.
“Globally, humanity needs to resolve the garbage problem,” Rykachevskiy explains. “There is no way around it.”