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Prada ‘Re-nylon’: Where timelessness and sustainability meet luxury

By Lexi Goodland on 24th September 2019

In an age where fashion finds its way from runway, to store, to wardrobe as quickly as the next new trend arrives, we are left to deal with the deteriorating negative impact this “fast fashion” has on our planet, especially as the ultimate place for this fashion is in the bin.

The speed at which consumers demand the newest designs and trends has made it essential that the fashion industry adapts. The supply chain now places emphasis on low cost and speed of production, perhaps arguably at the expense of quality and longevity, so the mainstream consumer can purchase todays current trends at a much more affordable price.

Prada has responded to the sustainability challenge with Re-Nylon, its new capsule line of accessories made from recycled materials

But with this inexpensive and accelerated fast fashion comes great environmental costs. The use of toxic chemicals and dyes, plastic microfibres, water pollution and textile waste are just a few of the detrimental effects of an industry that is constantly churning out new trends just to have them thrown away soon after they are bought.

The last few years have seen a shift in society’s outlook towards one that is heavily centred around sustainability. We are encouraged to reflect on our actions and our lifestyles and invigorated to create a relationship with our planet that allows both the human race and the environment to thrive. In fashion, we are now seeing high end labels and designers aspiring to establish their brand as one that cares about sustainability. One of the most iconic and influential luxury brands, Italian fashion house Prada, has recently launched their newest project Re-nylon; a pioneering collection of silhouetted bags made from regenerated nylon. The Prada Group calls it “a commitment to sustainable practice in future nylon production”.

A collaboration between Prada and the Italian textile yarn producer Aquafil has seen this partnership create a line of unique bags made from a new material called ECONYL® nylon. By collecting plastic waste from oceans, fishing nets, and textile fibre waste, and then recycling and purifying the materials, the two companies together have been able to create a regenerated-nylon yarn that can be recycled indefinitely, through depolymerization and re-polymerisation, without losing the quality of the material. With the launch of six classic styles including backpacks, travel bags, belt bags and tote bags, luxury fashion is now presenting itself in a sustainable manner for both men and women at Prada.

Prada is taking up the challenge to reduce its environmental impact by using ECONYL® regenerated nylon to create luxury goods through its Prada Re-Nylon sustainability initiative

The simplicity of the line is noticeable – a timeless, sleek black finish consistent in every style with only a splash of colour on the front badge. They are unobtrusive in appearance, instead allowing the concept and the context behind the bags to be the most defining feature. As for the means of use, the six styles available are unlike any other Prada bag in their current collection. Rather than showcasing glamour and style, these bags are created with the outdoors in mind. Their hardwearing, multifunctional designs reflect the project’s environmental ideology and desire to connect with the planet, as there is no better place for them than being used in the outside world.

Lorenzo Bertelli, head of marketing and communication at Prada Group, said of the project: “I’m very excited to announce the launch of the Prada Re-Nylon collection. 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.”

April 2019. London. A view of the Prada store on Bond street in london
The brand said the goal was to convert all Prada virgin nylon into Re-Nylon by the end of 2021. Image credit: chrisimages/Bigstock.com

The launch of this progressive and fashion-forward project from such a high-end label begs the question: are luxury fashion brands perhaps the answer to the environmental impacts of a fast-fashion industry? The cost of luxury encourages mindful consumption. It encourages people to think before they buy, and to buy because they truly want it. You pay the price for quality, for longevity, for an item that will last and will not find its way into a landfill a few months after it has been purchased, for a company that will not churn out endless amounts of products to meet a mass demand. And now, thanks to luxury brands like Prada and their growing attitudes towards sustainability, you can now pay for an item that is actually helping the environment.

Luxury may come at a greater price, but if it is not at the cost of the environment, then surely it is a price worth paying.

Image at the very top of the article: Still from What We Carry: Episode 3. Courtesy of Prada.