Polo Ralph Lauren in mid-April last month launched a version of an iconic polo shirt made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and the coloring process through a zero water processing. David Lauren, the youngest son of the company’s founder and head of innovation, said that the clothes were part of a broader strategy than cleaner environmental goals during the manufacturing process.
“Every day we learn about what’s happening with global warming and what’s happening around the world, and our employees and customers really feel that it’s time to step up and make a difference,” Lauren said.
Polo Ralph Lauren and Earth Polo
Polo was not the first to do this, even smaller brands also used recycled materials. Ralph Lauren is committed to removing at least 170 million bottles from landfills and oceans by 2025. They are produced in Taiwan, where used plastic bottles are collected and each garment uses an average of 12 plastic bottles.
The Earth Polo shirt was produced in partnership with First Mile, an organization that collects bottles to be transformed into threads and eventually into cloth. New fibers such as poly fibers will also be used because of their ability to remove moisture.
Earth Polo is sold to celebrate Earth Day at RalphLauren.com and retail stores throughout the world. The shirt appears in two styles for men and women in green, white, dark blue and light blue. The shirt is sold at a price similar to other polo shirts.
Ralph Lauren has been taking environmental initiatives for years, aimed at changing corporate culture and ways of thinking about clothing produced. These efforts include the new supply chain and Halide Alagoz, saying further details will be released in June. “At present, we are carrying out our approach and framework around sustainability,” he said. Among other company objectives: the use of 100% sustainable cotton in 2025 and 100% of packaging materials recycled in the same year.
Another Fashion House Movement Like Polo Ralph Lauren
Late last year, Burberry and H & M were among fashion stakeholders to sign the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action launched at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP24, in Poland. The Charter contains a vision to achieve zero net emissions by 2050. Ralph Lauren is not a signatory but is exploring an invitation to act.
As for Earth Polo, the major threat facing the oceans today involves trillions of small plastics and non-plastic microfiber that are covered in chemicals flowing from washing machines through waterways, placing smaller fish and other marine life at risk. Alagoz said Ralph Lauren worked with experts who said the impact of turning plastic bottles into recycled microfiber was “far less than the bottle that ended up in the ocean.”
A broader question about the biodegradability of these fibers remains unresolved. “There are many things in the world that are not good for the environment. Whatever material we can turn into threads, we will begin to look for other opportunities, “he said.” Right now, we are trying to ensure that what we produce is the best for the environment, or at least help clear other problems. Are we creating new problems? I think we at Polo Ralph Lauren are creating a solution, or at least trying to find a solution.”