Coats made from recycled bottles
New Zealand label Okewa has mastered form and function with a coat made entirely of recycled bottles.
Introducing their Recycled Line, designers Nevada and Nick are expanding on their existing rainwear collection in response to our plastic epidemic.
“Since plastic doesn’t decompose, or takes around 450 – 1000+ years to do so, we decided to try and use plastic that is already in circulation and turn it into fabric for our Recycled Line.
“Unfortunately only about 18 per cent of plastic is recycled worldwide. Using some of this plastic in our coats made a lot of sense for us,” said Nevada.
Living in Wellington, Okewa began as a part-time project, following Nevada’s search for the perfect raincoat that was functional and beautiful.
“In New Zealand, it’s pretty crucial to have a great raincoat as we are officially the windiest city in the world and often rain comes at us horizontally. I found that a lot of friends living here and abroad had the same problem of finding a raincoat, and it sort of began organically from there”.
The process from bottle to coat sees recycled plastic bottles divided into clear and coloured bottles. Clear bottles are then broken into flakes and melted down to pellets, which is then extruded and spun into yarn. The result is beautiful, soft fabric that’s waterproof, breathable and seam-sealed.
Ethically made in Thailand, Nevada and Nick chose their manufacturer following a worldwide search for a partner that met their ethos. As founding members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and a commitment to zero waste to landfill, they knew they had found the right manufacturer.
“They have a dedicated sustainability team that measures impacts and rolls out initiatives like a reconstituted cotton project, which recycles scraps from the cutting table and turns it into reconstituted fabric. They also have intensive greenhouse gas and water reduction programs.
“As an emerging brand, it’s incredible to have dedicated sustainability practitioners like theirs to work alongside,” said Nevada.
Beyond its recycled practices, aesthetic appeal is key, something Nevada says has always been at the top of their list.
“Our coats are first and foremost beautiful as we know customers need to fall in love with the product – that’s generally when they’ll start digging further and can learn they are also sustainable and consciously created”.
Their commitment to responsibly sourced materials extends to their trimmings, with buttons made from 100% recycled hemp in their Recycled Line, which are naturally resistant to mold and UV light.
Having trialed and tested the coats, Nevada and Nick are currently raising funds via Kickstarter to bring their vision to life. With only 10 days to go, supporting Okewa is a vote for a future where plastic has purpose.
“Our Recycled Line is certainly in the future for Okewa, and we hope a successful Kickstarter campaign allows us to kick this off strongly! We hope to keep innovating in this area and keep exploring what’s possible in the future with other recycled fabrics too”.
Images courtesy of Okewa