Sustainable pt VII – Prada ‘Re-Nylon’ Bags
Actress Bonnie Wright helps Prada introduce a new sustainable accessories collection to the world
Prada is the latest fashion house to recognise there’s more to just the environmental benefits of leaning into climate action as a corporation, there’s also significant commercial benefits to be had as well. Each part of this continuing Sustainable series serves to prove the lengths to which the major fashion players in the industry are trying to step up and be sensitive and responsive to their ever more demanding consumer base when it comes to sustainability and climate change. It’s just not enough to make t-shirts with ‘Save the Earth’ on them to sell anymore. Now companies have to show they are willing to walk the walk if they want to hang on to the new generation of customers they spend all their time cultivating.
For Prada this new consumer dynamic is particularly apt. Muiccia Prada has made her Prada designs legendary because of the fashionable yet slightly utilitarian lens through which she creates. When the core to your brand revolves around the notion of what works best for the greatest number of (the most fashionable) people, it’s impossible to ignore the signs when those people start demanding new standards for their continued patronage. As one way of answering those demands Prada have teamed up with textile yarn producer Aquafil to produce a range of iconic Prada bags made entirely from a new material called ECONYL – a new type of nylon obtained through the recycling and purification process of plastic waste collected from oceans, fishing nets, and textile fibre waste.
The new bag range – collectively called Re-Nylon – launches with six styles for both men and women, including belt and shoulder bags, totes, duffles and backpacks. And, not being shy to seize upon a clever marketing opportunity, each bag carries a unique interpretation of Prada’s triangular logo, a logo that is also associated with the symbol for the material nylon. To further illustrate their commitment to future climate action, Prada will also be donating a percentage of the profits from this range to UNESCO to help boost education in business and corporate sustainable practices around the world.
“Our ultimate goal will be to convert all Prada virgin nylon into Re-Nylon by the end of 2021. This project highlights our continued efforts towards promoting a responsible business. This collection will allow us to make our contribution and create products without using new resources.” – Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group Head of Marketing and Communication.
As part of this sustained sustainable initiative Prada have also teamed up with the National Geographic channel to produce a series of documentary short films called What We Carry, with Harry Potter actress Bonnie Wright (main image), to introduce the world to ECONYL, as used in the Re-Nylon collection, and deliver some eye-opening facts about this new futuristic material. E.g. in the first of the series Bonnie and creative conservationist Asher Jay travel to the first US carpet recycling facility in Phoenix, Arizona, to find out that for every 10,000 tons of ECONYL created, 70,000 barrels of petroleum is saved – reducing environmental emissions of CO2 by 57,100 tons. Now think about how much nylon is produced globally every single year.
The environmental concerns are not the be all and end all, however. This is luxury fashion and consumers are really not prepared to compromise on quality and design for sustainability principles. They’re expecting and demanding all things from every piece they choose to spend their money on. If a company wants to survive in that new dynamic then they have to deliver on all fronts, there simply is no alternative. But, as has been mentioned, Prada has long been well-versed in how to deliver for their customers. Even when it requires a fundamental evolution and re-invention of their illustrious heritage, this new capsule collection shows Muiccia will always be way ahead of the curve.
To find out more and watch the first instalment of What We Carry click here.
Click here to read more in our Sustainable series.