G-Star and Bionic Yarn have partnered to present RAW for the Oceans. The long-term collaboration will use Bionic Yarn’s expertise in developing and manufacturing premium yarns and fabrics made from plastic waste collected from oceans that have been recycled and enhanced and G-Star’s mastery of denim to create the first denim collection made from recycled plastics found in the ocean. Bionic Yarn’s Creative Director, Pharrell Williams will serve as the collection’s co-designer. The partnership will also result in G-Star integrating Bionic Yarn material into its existing product lines. “G-Star has always been driven by innovation, and by integrating Bionic Yarn into our collection we’re taking the next step in creating denim for the future. We’re very excited about the long-term goals of this collaboration and to have Bionic as our business partner,” says G-Star’s Creative Marketing Officer, Thecla Schaeffer of the innovative collaboration. The RAW for the Oceans collection will be available at select G-Star Raw stores and online starting August 15, 2014. Here, Schaeffer speaks to Life+Times about RAW for the Oceans, working with Pharrell, and creating denim for the future.
Life+Times: How did this partnership between G-Star and Bionic Yarn come together?
Thecla Schaeffer: It all started a little less than a year ago in Berlin, Germany. There we met Parley for the Oceans, Bionic Yarn and Pharrell Williams. They told us about the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans. They proposed an idea that seemed both amazing and completely unfeasible at the same time. They asked us: Can you make denim out of ocean plastic? G-Star is a brand with a history of innovating denim and we like to challenge the conventions of the industry, so we of course, said yes. We decided to take on the challenge and to go on a creative journey together with Bionic to create the very first collection ever made from recycled ocean plastic.
L+T: In regards to the design process, is it a fully collaborative effort between G-Star and Bionic Yarn? Or is Bionic Yarn just providing the technology and materials while G-Star handles the design of the collection?
TS: The collaboration is a creative exploration where Bionic Yarn and G-Star have joined forces to innovate denim. We will create a collection made with recycled materials from the oceans with Bionic as our business partner and Pharrell Williams as our co-designer.
L+T: Pharrell said this is only “one part” of the Earth that this partnership will focus on. Are there plans to expand beyond just using recycled materials retrieved from the oceans?
TS: G-Star has been pioneering sustainable denim since 2008. Currently the sustainable styles in our collection includes Hydrite Denim that is made using innovative dyeing and finishing processes that generate a big reduction in water (up to 95%), energy, and chemical usage in comparison to conventional processes.
L+T: Having such a ubiquitous and influential figure like Pharrell involved with this project must be great for creating awareness for the issue of plastic pollution?
TS: It is great to see Pharrell creating the limelight for this project and to have him as our business partner and co-designer for this collaboration. He does not only help to create awareness for the cause, he is also a huge inspiration in the design of the collection.
L+T: The collection isn’t releasing until August. Are there going to be any special events or special projects leading up to the release?
TS: Stay tuned!
L+T: This isn’t G-Star’s first time incorporating eco-friendly materials into its products. How committed is the brand to creating sustainable fashion?
TS: We’re very committed. We consider corporate responsibility an integral part of doing business and of our values. Our corporate responsibility approach is an extension of our “Just the Product” philosophy and product innovation strategy. As part of our focus on constantly reinventing denim, we have been pioneering sustainable denim fabrics since 2008.
L+T: This long term collaboration will see G-Star integrating Bionic Yarn material into existing product lines. Is there a possibility of at some point all G-Star products being made solely of recycled or sustainable materials?
TS: We are using Bionic’s yarn to create the next generation of denim. To make this happen, we have turned our whole supply chain upside down by starting with the raw material. Literally every department in G-Star and all of our stakeholders – from our yarn spinners, to yarn dyers, to fabric weavers, to chemical experts, to fabric experts, to the environmental specialists, to our designers – are involved. To have all G-Star products be made solely out of recycled or sustainable materials would be the ultimate goal.
L+T: In your opinion, why does fashion and music continue to be so intertwined?
TS: For us at G-Star, we always look for new and interesting ways to collaborate with like-minded and creative people who are passionate about creating new and unique pieces of art. It’s not just with music artists, but also with photographers such as Anton Corbijn and designers such as Marc Newson, who are experts in their own field and who are now a part of the G-Star family of collaborators.