Imagine being on a long stretch of white sandy beach. The sun is scorching and with the palm trees offering little shade in the mid day sun, you decide to go for a swim in the turquoise sea to cool off. The water is clear and you dive under to take a look at the colourful fish. When your head emerges from the water again, a plastic bag has positioned itself nicely on top of it...
Ever tried this? Me neither, fortunately! I have, however, come across quite a few exotic beaches full of plastic. A few years ago in Borneo, I wanted to spend the night at an 'out-of-this-world' hotel on stilts at a small exotic island. However, while reading reviews of the hotel, I noticed that several guests complained about lots of plastic drifting in from the sea every day and washing up on the beach.
We ended up choosing another hotel on the other side of the island, out of the plastic's waterway, snorkelling and SUP'ing in paradise-like surroundings.
There isn't far from imagination to reality - from bounty heaven to plastic hell!
Fortunately, there are lots of ways that plastic can be re-used today. Slowly, but surely, recycled plastic (RPET) have also started to enter the fashion arena in the shape of recycled polyester.
It is mind blowing to think about how a bunch of plastic bottles can turn into a fabulous party dress in the most silky soft chiffon. Nevertheless, this is now possible. VILDNIS' own Tortuguero maxi dress is a good example of how empty Coca-Cola bottles can become your favourite summer dress.
In our search for a good cause aiming to protect our seas and beaches from plastic, we came across Break Free From Plastic, an initiative that is now supported by hundreds of NGO's across the world. The organisation works towards a world free of plastic pollution. A world where plastic is recycled instead of producing new, and where there is no plastic in the sea or on the beach.
At the Copenhagen Fashion Summit last week, some of the world's biggest global fashion brands committed to developing a 'circular fashion system' by 2020. Amongst other things, the brands have committed to increased usage of recycled fibres and to design for cyclability. Although the commitment could certainly be a lot 'firmer', this is another great initiative in the right direction. Great news for the fashion industry and right up our street!
The point is: if we all work together, we literally can change the world - one outfit at a time.
And then we can get back to our bounty beach, which ,with less plastic, will be so much more fantastic!