Is Plastic the New Black?

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If you follow the trendsetting world of high fashion, you may have noticed a new material gracing the runways of Milan, Paris and New York: plastic!

From jewelery and platform heels to dresses made of recycled plastic bottles, plastics have recently adorned the models showcasing the haute couture of designers worldwide.

The phrase “Plastic is the New Black” appeared on the June 2009 cover of Italian Vogue, causing many in the fashion world to take notice. Designers such as Prada and Versace have also featured increased amounts of lucite plastics in recent collections.

Photo: Flickr/mandiberg

New York's Fashion Week in September featured several designs made from plastic products. Photo: Flickr/mandiberg

“From rugged fleece to runway couture, plastics and recycled plastics are the building blocks for stylish and high performing looks throughout the fashion industry,” Steve Russel, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council, tells Earth911.

“And by recycling more of the plastics we use, we can look good- and feel good- about the choices we make. Remembering to recycle means today’s plastic water bottle can be tomorrow’s little black dress.”

Celebrating the up-and-coming trend, Plastics Make it Possible(SM), sponsored by the plastics industries of the American Chemistry Council, will partner with Gen Art to present a series of events showcasing the creative use of plastics in fashion design and the ways in which designers are applying them to today’s trends.

The first show launched on Oct. 29. Entitled, “Fresh Faces in Fashion,” the show took place in Los Angeles, where ‘Big Bang Theory’ actress Kelly Cuoco announced a nationwide fashion design competition challenging new and current designers to create plastic-based looks. Designs will be posted to Gen Art’s online community, where consumers can vote for their favorite looks.

“I’m very excited to work with Plastics Make it Possible(SM) as they challenge designers to create innovative looks using plastics and recycled plastic fabrics,” says Cuoco.

But you don’t have to visit the high-end boutiques to sport recycled plastic wear. Recycled plastics occur in everyday items from running wear to men’s suits and beyond.

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  1. Hi Lori,

    We’ve just recently launched our new 100% Post-Consumer Recycled shirts made only from drink bottles.. at There are also no added dyes, making them one of the most eco-friendly garments on earth! They’re a honeydew color–which comes from the green bottles we use to make the shirts.

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