Innovation That Matters

Upcycled plastic

Graduate creates apparel from plastic shopping bags


A graduate from Maryland Institute College of Art has come up with a collection made from upcycled plastic shopping bags.

A recent graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she majored in interdisciplinary sculpture, Trisha Cheeney created Pälemer as a direct contest to fast fashion and as part of the recycling revolution. Cheeney is hoping to raise funds for her inaugural collection on Kickstarter as she believes it will help towards the cause for eliminating consumer waste. The capsule collection, Pälemer, includes a winter jacket that upcycles a remarkable 214 plastic bags, a lighter jacket, the Pälemar windbreaker and a book bag (made from 80 bags), which cleverly uses colours to create patterns.

Through Kickstarter, people can back the campaign to order the winter jacket for USD 485 and the windbreaker for USD 435. With 700 billion plastic bags produced every year and from material that is non-biodegradable, a majority of these will go into landfill. Cheeney’s innovation puts fashion clearly on a pedestal when it comes to tackling a global challenge, and it is hoped this collection will help change attitudes to manufacturing and the way the fashion industry uses materials.

Similar revolutions are taking place across the pond, with the upcycled accessories in Rwanda being made from waste plastics, while in the US, global giant Timberland teamed up with sustainable fabric company Thread, to create boots from recycled plastic bottles.

With these sorts of innovations becoming more and more popular, will we see a greener planet and the global warming issue finally being tackled? Does this mean the end of plastic bags going into landfill?




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