The Plastic Age: Contextual/ Secondary Research


6-12th March

After looking into water pollution I wanted to do a little extra research into plastics and litter polluting the sea and see if I could start to link this to my subject of fashion. Fortunately I came across this short documentary on the i-D website that suited my needs perfectly. Jake Sumner in which he explores plastics polluting the ocean and what fashion is doing to fight it.

In The Plastic Age, released today exclusively on i-D, we pull the problem of plastic pollution out of the ocean and put into the consciousness of the public eye. Directed by Jake Sumner the film director artfully showcases the issue at hand in Kamilo Beach, Hawaii, and that is rapidly becoming a massive problem in oceans across the world, with 300,000 tonnes of plastic in oceans. But there is hope, as people are using the plastic as a resource as RAW for the Oceans, Parley for the Oceans, G-Star RAW and Bionic Yarn explores in their new initiative. – i-D.

Important quotes from the film: I made some parts of the quotes bold to emphasise them. 

“Humans have an aincent connection [to water]””The Ocean connects us all” “Plastic were heavily marketed to consumers as a time saving device as a matter of convenience” “Plastics can have such a profoundly dark effect on our future” “[Plastics] are literally built to last forever” “We make 288 Million tonnes of plastic annually” “That means every 4 years we make a billion tonnes of plastic”  “In just 50 years of using plastic, we have plasticised our planet” “There is evidence of fish eating plastic” – “We’re eating those fish” – “We don’t know the long term effects of this” “This is a current scenario” “We can turn this mess into other new products” “They’re being creative” “We can turn this [pollution] into an asset, to turn it into an amazing material for the fashion industry, something that is sexy, something that has a story” “Turn a low grade plastic into a high profile material” “Bionic yarn is a yarn spinning process that takes recycled plastic bottles and turns them into a high quality yarn and fabric” “We take a plastic bottle, its shredded into flakes, melt them, extrude them into fibres, spin them into a yarn and then helix them with another fibre like cotton to create a surface over the recycled plastic”

G-star got involved and Pharell Williams is a co-designer of this collection, a denim based collection made 25-30% from recycled plastic- bionic yarns fished out from the ocean.

“[The project] combines science, activism and fashion” “Usually fashion is something for vanity, but I think bionic yarn now represents transformation and the ability to take something bad to make it good” “Establish a new mindset within the fashion industry and inspire other segments of business and economy to follow that” “harness our imagination to find solutions” “what do they love to do”

I felt this short documentary really spoke to me and unveiled the serious dangers and causes litter and plastics create. Although the images of the huge amounts of plastics are disturbing and frankly horrifically scary, the cinematography, aesthetics and compositions of the film are really artistically pleasing. Overall the film clearly points out the dangers of plastics, litter and water pollution and the way they turn the chaos of plastics into yarns and fashion is really mesmerising and gives me hope for future fashion.

I may focus in on this element [of transforming litter or plastics into a fashion piece] however I would like to make this reconstruction more literal- in that, they are not basic garments, they are contextual art pieces that clearly show the litter and pollution within the garment.

Below are some stills from the film:

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