by Shana Nelson

The change in weather is bringing forward new fashions, and the biggest trend this year may just be one that helps the environment: clothing made from recycled materials.

Repreve, a brand created specifically to use recycled, plastic water bottles to make clothing and other materials, has teamed up with companies that are close to the area, and is helping to bring environmentally friendly fashion to the Morgantown area.

Credit: Repreve

To begin with, you can’t think of a college student without thinking of Patagonia. When it comes to being trendy, this brand has been in the know since the beginning.

In 1993, Patagonia became the first clothing made from recycled PET bottles (polyethylene terephthalate is the actual name, but that’s a mouth full), and has pushed other companies to jump on board and do the same thing ever since.

Credit: Patagonia and Repreve

While WVU students have hopped on the trend of wearing Patagonia, they may not have known that they have been helping the environment while doing so.

Some local retailers that are selling Patagonia are Dicks Sporting Goods and Pathfinder on High Street.

In terms of other high-end brands that are set on helping the environment, Lane Bryant is one of them. They have also teamed up with Repreve to create an eco-conscious collection of super-soft tees, jeans, and Livi Activewear.

Located at the University Town Centre, this store is also providing students with a way to help the environment and look fashionable while doing so.

Jeans from the eco-chic collection. Credit: Lane Bryant

In terms of just how impactful this partnership is, Haleigh Carey, the store manager, said, “I feel in a world where global warming is being overlooked, it is important for larger corporations to do their part in helping the earth while also educating their consumers of the small things they can do to help.”

“Lane Bryant has always been a company based on helping women feel beautiful and look good, so it is only fitting for them to help Mother Earth feel that way as well,” Carey stated.

Leggings from the Livi eco-chic collection

The process of making this clothing is just as cool as the impact that it’s having. In an interview with Fast Company, Helen Sahi, vice president of global corporate sustainability at Unifi, explained the process in turning plastic bottles into textiles.

“First, the bottles are broken down into small flakes at the Repreve Bottle Processing Center in North Carolina… Those flakes are then melted down into tiny pellets at a separate facility. There, the chips are melted again, and filtered and spun into threads through a process that resembles water flowing through a shower head… Depending on how the threads are treated, they can be used for a range of textiles, from swimwear to denim to car seats.”

Here is also a video that shows the process that Sahi explained

While we have local stores to go to such as Lane Bryant, and brands to look for such as Patagonia, Repreve is also making its way to other college campuses.

While they recently brought their own truck to UCLA to engage with students on game day, doing the same sort of thing at WVU would be an awesome way to get students involved.

All in all, no matter what your style is, making steps towards helping the environment is the most trendy (and responsible) thing that you can do.

While it’s my personal hope that this is something that all clothing companies begin doing, it’s amazing that we have brands like Lane Bryant and Patagonia in our area that are doing their part, and allowing us to help the world and look great while doing so.

2 thoughts on “Recycled Materials and Clothing: This Season’s Best Fashion Trend

  1. Your post was super informative and fun to read! I had no idea that companies I’ve heard of like Patagonia and Lane Bryant are partnered with Repreve in making clothing out of recycled material. I think you’re right that bringing a Repreve truck to game days on campus would be a great way to interact with students. I just wonder if there’s as much of a passion at WVU for the environment as there is somewhere like UCLA. That’s not to say that there aren’t students here who are passionate about the environment — the students who run this blog absolutely seem to be concerned about it — but I feel like it’s part of the culture at UCLA to care about the environment, whereas I’m not sure if that’s the case at WVU. Of course, that means we should try even harder to get students to care, and starting with something like introducing clothing made from recycled material is a great place to start.

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  2. This post was great and actually really timely! There are so many different brands now that are trying to jump into the recycled material market. Just the other day Adidas released that they were working on manufacturing a sneaker, for market, that is made of 100% recycled material. One thing I am noticing about these products is that they are usually fairly expensive… But with so many companies constantly trying to tap into this market and the production systems constantly getting faster/more efficient there will be cheaper options soon.

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