Stay cozy in the knowledge that you're diverting plastic waste and reducing demand for new material.
Gap has just launched a new winter coat called the Upcycled Puffer, made from 40 discarded plastic bottles. The puffy insulated jackets come in a range of colors that are guaranteed to brighten a dreary winter day, including red, violet, teal, yellow, fuchsia, blue, and black.
The recycled plastic bottles have been transformed into a high-performance outer fabric with a water-resistant weave and an all-recycled poly fill and inner fleece lining. The buttons, zippers, trim, and 5 percent of the coat's fabric are not recycled, but the company says it's working on that.The jacket's launch is part of the company's broader effort to "accelerate [its] use of more sustainable materials in apparel production." In the words of senior VP of production Michele Sizemore, "For [the] holiday, we wanted to look at the puffer through a fresh lens and with a holistic approach. Outerwear is a technical garment with many components, and we looked at each one in an effort to do the right thing at every step of the design process."
Other companies, such as Patagonia and Everlane, have been making outerwear from recycled materials for a while now, so it's only logical that other retailers would follow in their footsteps. With recycled materials proving to be just as effective at insulating as new materials, it is crazy not to be using waste plastic to make these clothes.
We know that synthetic clothes are not good for the environment in general, but as I've written in the past, it's unrealistic to imagine that we're all going to transition to fully natural alternatives, such as waxed canvas, leather, and down, for outerwear. That's why embracing recycled and upcycled solutions like this one are a good move.
"If we can transform a waste product into something that people are already buying in large quantities, while reducing demand for its virgin equivalent, it will, at the very least, buy us time – time to come up with better options for safe laundering, end-of-life disposal, recycling/upcycling, and innovation in sustainable fabrics that can perform in similar ways to synthetics."
Gap's upcycled puffer retails for $168, which is roughly on par with Everlane's ReNew line and significantly cheaper than Patagonia's Silent Down line. Check it out if you're in the market for a new coat this winter.