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Guest Blog Post: Recycled Plastic Fabrics and the Rise of “Eco-Chic”

By Gretta Monahan, celebrity stylist, trendsetter, and sustainability advocate

As a stylist, I’m known primarily for my fashion sense. I spend much of my time staying on top of trends and seeking out the latest must-have pieces for my celebrity clients and clothing boutiques. It’s also no secret that living a sustainable lifestyle is very important to me, and I try to buy products that are good for the environment.

And that raises a big question: is it possible to be both fashion-conscious and eco-conscious?

As someone who’s immersed in the fashion world every day, I’m excited to tell you that the answer is yes! Thanks to increased efforts on the part of clothing manufacturers to improve sustainability in the fashion industry, it’s now easier than ever to find on-trend clothing and accessories that fit into a sustainable lifestyle.

One of the most innovative ways of making fashion more sustainable is by using post-consumer plastic bottles to make fabric—a technique made possible by advances in recycling technology. The bottles are cleaned and melted down; then the plastic is stretched into a fine thread, which is woven into soft, durable, beautiful fabric.

At first, recycled plastic fabrics were usually only used for heavy, outdoorsy clothing, but now manufacturers can produce fabrics with a much wider range of weights and textures. Recycled plastic fabric is being used by both established and up-and-coming designers to create the light, airy blouses, dresses, and skirts that have been all over the fall runways.

But it’s actually much bigger than a just a few collections this fall. A green fashion movement, dubbed “eco-chic” by fashion-industry influencers, has been growing steadily for the past several years. Driven in large part by the use of recycled plastic fabrics by mainstream designers, eco-chic has permeated the fashion world—so that now, entire brands are built around sustainability.

Eco-chic has caught on not just because manufacturers decided to adopt greener manufacturing techniques, but also because a diverse group of everyday consumers has embraced—and in fact demanded—sustainability in the clothing they buy. Mainstream brands ranging from Patagonia to H&M now offer clothing made with recycled plastics.

Besides the environmental benefits, what I love about owning clothing made with recycled plastics is that these pieces look and fit great, and they’ll last season after season thanks to the durability of plastics. But the best part? These garments are changing the way consumers look at used plastics. Instead of becoming trash in landfills, these plastics are now a valuable resource for manufacturing useful new products—which means style and sustainability can go hand in hand.

To learn more about plastics in fashion, click here.

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