RAW for the Oceans: Creating New Apparel From Pollutant Plastic

RAW for the Oceans is a collaborative project that retrieves plastic from the oceans and transforms it into wearables, curated by musician and Creative Director of Bionic Yarn, Pharrell Williams and produced in collaboration with Dutch clothing manufacturer G-Star.

RAW for the Oceans jeans

Pair of jeans manufactured from plastic yarn

After retrieved from the ocean, the plastic waste is first broken down into chips and shredded to produce fibres. Ocean plastic fibres are spun into strong core yarn and mixed with cotton to make Bionic yarn. Next, the yarn is woven or knitted into RAW for the Oceans fabrics.

Tyson Toussant, co-founder of Bionic Yarn, is responsible for the Helix yarn. He began Bionic Yarn to find a practical solution for the plastic litter he saw in his city. Later, after finding a use for waste plastic bottles, he turned his attention to the much larger problem of plastic pollution in our oceans.

For the RAW for Oceans project Tyson helped refine Bionic’s helix yarn into the ideal thread for weaving a new generation of denim.

Oceans awash in plastic

With a global rise in living standards, increasing consumerism and worldwide transportation - more and more plastic goods are finding their way into the natural environment. Over the past 50 years, humankind has produced approximately 700 million tons of plastic. Much of this plastic waste now resides in the oceans, harming ecology, economy and health.

Circular economy

The Dutch government has pledged to attain a 100% circular economy by 2050. In just over one generation, the world will be inhabited by nine billion people. This will inevitably put pressure on resources. Societies have to step up their game and switch to sustainable sources in order to feed, clothe and shelter their growing populations. In order to leave behind a liveable earth, this generation has to learn how to use its scarce raw materials more effectively and more intelligently. Closing the loop in production processes is all about creating a future-proof world.