The Vending Machine That Won't Take Quarters: Only at New York Fashion Week

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Plastics Make It Possible placed this vending machine, filled with T-shirts made from recycled plastic, in the public during New York Fashion Week. Photo: Ecoterre

Plastics Make It Possible placed this vending machine, filled with T-shirts made from recycled plastic, in the public during New York Fashion Week. Photo: Ecouterre

As the A-listers recover from New York Fashion Week, which wrapped a week ago, we common folk are left scratching our heads, wondering who actually wears the stuff that models flaunt down the runway? And who can afford it?

I, for one, know there is approximately one thing I could afford from Fashion Week — at least on my paltry writer’s salary (if my editor’s reading this, can I have a raise?). And it wouldn’t have cost me a dime.

Just a plastic bottle.

What’s better is that acquiring this piece of ready-to-wear couture wouldn’t have required me to step foot in a trendy Madison Avenue boutique. That’s because it came out of a vending machine. And best of all, it’s my favorite article of clothing: a humble T-shirt.

OK, bestest of all is that it’s made from recycled plastic.

This limited-edition T-shirt made from recycled plastic and sold out of a vending machine that took only plastic bottles as currency was an attempt to applaud the growing role recycled plastic is playing in fashion. This vending-machine-dispensed T-shirt was the outcome of the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Make It Possible campaign with fashion designer Allison Parris, who’s known for her sustainable line of apparel.

“I’m thrilled to partner with Plastics Make It Possible and help raise awareness that our everyday plastics can become beautiful, stylish clothing and accessories,” Parris said in a statement.

The vending machine was located on 8th Avenue in New York City from Sept. 9 to 11. Consumers could also visit the Plastics Make It Possible website during Fashion Week for a chance to win one of the T-shirts.

“When consumers recycle plastics, it gives designers like me the ability to create clothing that’s both fashion-conscious and eco-conscious. Recycled plastics make a real contribution to sustainability in fashion — both in my own line and in the industry as a whole,” Parris said.

Sadly, I live in Texas, so I never saw the vending machine. Nor did I win an Allison Parris T-shirt (pretty sure Perez Hilton got the last one).

Freedom Of Animals' luxury purses are made from recycled plastic that's woven in with cotton fibers and colored with vegetables dyes.  Photo: Freedom Of Animals

Freedom of Animals’ luxury purses are made from recycled plastic that’s woven in with cotton fibers and colored with vegetable dyes. Photo: Freedom of Animals

My T-shirt mission may have ended badly, but I did catch a glimpse of this handbag from New York–based Freedom of Animals. Their luxury purses are made from recycled plastic that’s woven in with cotton fibers and colored with vegetables dyes. Plus, they’re made in the U.S. (Unfortunately, they don’t accept plastic bottles as payment.)

Despite the prevalence of apparel and accessories made from recycled plastic, some designers say there’s room for improvement when it comes to sustainability in the fashion industry.

Several designers, including Carrie Parry and Tara St. James, who’s known for her line of zero-waste clothing called Study NY, opted out of Fashion Week. Their absence is a statement against the production methods of so-called fast-fashion companies, whose processes may have a negative impact on the environment and the people who produce the clothing.

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