Trash to fashion: 5 brands that are making clothes using plastic

Several industries contribute to the overall pollution - what makes the fashion industry particularly problematic is the frenetic pace of change it undergoes.

fashion and style
 Min read
April 4, 2022

With the ever-increasing plastic usage, we have now got to a point where approximately 8 million tons of plastic garbage escapes into the oceans every year. Most of the plastics manufactured so far are non-biodegradable - it just keeps breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. Nearly 90% of plastic is dumped irresponsibly, it either ends up in landfills or is swallowed by hundreds of animal species.

The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution. Approximately 60% of all materials used by the fashion industry are made from plastic, a UN report stated. It added, nearly 500,000 tons of microfibres are released into the ocean each year from washing clothes — the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles. It does not end here, fashion production makes for 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. Nearly 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year, states the UNECE, 2018 report.

Several industries contribute to the overall pollution - what makes the fashion industry particularly problematic is the frenetic pace of change it undergoes. Owing to this environmental concern, several brands in the fashion industry are working on creating ways to reduce the environmental impact. Brands are now developing ways to recycle clothes, are using plastic to make fabric, and even producing biodegradable material- that will decompose within a few months.

So here are 5 socially conscious brands that make clothes using plastic:
Girlfriend Collective

Based in Seattle, Washington, the Girlfriend Collective focuses on the production of minimal, luxurious, and eco-friendly athleisure wear. Sustainability is deeply ingrained into the brand's values. The company is known for producing sports bras and leggings from recycled plastics. Their recycled polyester is made from plastic bottles in Taiwan, and their nylon comes from recycled fishing nets.


The Mumbai-based clothing company, founded in 2021, UNIREC makes shirts, blazers and trousers from recycled polyester. Each garment made by UNIREC recycles around 12 PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles. The company has Global Recyclable Standard (GRS) certification – an international, full-product standard that tracks and verifies the content of recycled materials in a final product.

Alcis Sports

Alcis Sports was launched by the promoters of Paragon Apparels Pvt. Ltd- the largest manufacturer and exporter of sportswear in India. The brand offers a wide range of sports and athletic gear made up of plastic. The company manufactures sportswear with the latest technologies such as dry-tech (moisture management), anti-odour, anti-static, anti-UV and light X, keeping Indian lifestyles and weather conditions in mind. "Sustainability is and remains a key value of the ALCIS brand,” the brand’s website states.


California-based clothing company Patagonia has been making recycled polyester from post-consumer soda bottles since 1993, making them the first company to turn trash into fleece. Now the company makes its recycled polyester fibres from a blend of soda bottles, manufacturing waste, and worn-out apparel. The company is not only conscious in manufacturing but since 1985, Patagonia has pledged 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.


Spain-based clothing brand, Ecoalf was founded on the principles of recycling to make a truly sustainable fashion brand. The company uses discarded fishing nets, plastic bottles, worn-out tires, post-industrial cotton, and even coffee grinds to create their outerwear and swimsuit lines. The company states that their revolutionary Meryl fabric is made from 50% recycled nylon and integrates hydrogen bonding to seal all microfibres and prevent microplastic contamination. The innovative process provides the perfect combination of toughness, strength, natural elasticity, and maximum softness.

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