Anya Hindmarch’s 2007 ground-breaking ‘I’m not A Plastic Bag’ collaboration with advertising agency Antidote and social change movement Shift, was not only an immediate sell out world-wide but importantly, it significantly contributed to the reduction in the number of plastic bags used. The limited-edition, reusable canvas tote was created in response to the growing environmental challenge of single-use plastic bags and to inspire people to change their everyday actions.
This campaign was at the vanguard of the anti-plastic bag movement. The British Retail Consortium estimated that in 2006, the UK alone used 10.6bn plastic bags, and this figure dropped to 6.1bn in 2010. Specifically, Sainsbury’s cut the number of bags they gave away by 58% in the 2 years that followed the campaign, giving out 312m fewer bags in 2008 than 2009 and saving 13,200 tonnes of virgin plastic over two years.
“When you throw something away, there is no away”
“Since our 2007 I’m NOT a Plastic Bag project, I have not been able to get these words out of my head. The problem of single use plastic and landfill is far from over, however the mission has shifted from simply being about the ‘awareness’ of using less plastic, to being more about the ‘circularity’ of the use of materials in the supply chain. That is why I have spent the last 2 years developing I AM A Plastic Bag”
Following on fromthe I’m NotAPlastic Bag project in 2007, Anya Hindmarch has created I Am A Plastic Bag. Made from an innovative new fabric which is created from recycled plastic bottles and coated with recycled plastic windshields, the collection uses the incredible technology and craftsmanship that is synonymous with the brand.
It has taken two years of testing and researching techniques to find the best methods and partners to create the I Am A Plastic Bag Collection. The luxurious, cotton canvas feel fabric used to make I Am A Plastic Bag is woven from a yarn created from the plastic bottles. The plastic bottles are first sorted, shredded, washed and then turned into pellets. These pellets are melted and extruded into fibres that are then spun and woven to create the fabric.It takes 32 x half-litre bottles to make each large tote.
To create a weather-resistant durable finish, the fabric is then coated in recycled PVB, a product which is extracted from old car windshields. To our knowledge, this is the first time that this has been done. The coated fabric is made by our partners in Taiwan.who were the only people who could provide the GRS certified recycled coating. Taiwan has one of the most efficient recycling systems in the world and is also a pioneer in recycling innovation.
The bag is trimmed with leather. Whilst the initial plan was to use vegan or recycled leather for the trim, after much research and expert advice, it was concluded that responsibly-sourced leather was the best material as the alternatives contained unacceptably high-levels of polyurethane.
The leather used is a by-product of the meat industry and is sourced from a tannery in Northern Italy
close to where the bag is made. The tannery is gold-rated by The Leather Working Group. They use traceable European hides that incur no de-forestation.
This project is about progress, not perfection. Work is underway to create the coated fabric in Italy, as soon as we can find a partner who can do this for us using recycled PVB rather than virgin plastic.
And whilst we don’t believe that carbon offsetting is the answer, we have partnered with EcoAct – a global climate change consultancy – to measure the emissions associated with the I Am A Plastic Bag collection and to make this a carbon-neutral project.
Both the project and the Company have been awarded the Butterfly Mark from Positive Luxury. This is a symbol of trust earned by brands that have adopted sustainability as a business strategy. Brands are assessed holistically across the following areas: governance, social and environmental frameworks, community impact and innovation.
Anya Hindmarch and NET-A-PORTER will offer a prelaunch of a limited number of I Am A Plastic Bags on the 15th February for London Fashion Week. At the same time, instead of doing an event, Anya Hindmarch will close their London stores for three days and fill them with used plastic bottles to make a statement about the amount of plastic that is thrown away. It will take over 90,000 used plastic bottles to fill the stores, which have been collected by Anya Hindmarch team from their local communities. This may sound like a huge number, but this is the number of plastic bottles that are purchased globally every six seconds.
The full collection of four colours will launch mid-April in Anya Hindmarch London stores, online and with Matches Fashion in mid-April. Exclusive launches then roll out with Isetan in Tokyo, Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and Mainland China, David Jones in Australia, Aizel in Moscow and Anya Hindmarch global stores. Each territory will have its own exclusive colours.
Prices start from £595to £695 – clementine and charcoal available from February
Full collection available from April