Lots of luxury brands pride themselves on using only the finest leathers, silks and cashmeres in the world. And while Prada uses plenty of those, too, its latest project is turning plastics and fishing nets collected from the ocean into a series of brand new bags.
Called Re-Nylon, the project is part of the fashion industry’s broader effort to invest in sustainable alternatives. For Prada in particular, a brand that owes some portion of its success to its much-beloved nylon bags, using an eco-friendly form of the material makes perfect sense. The bags in the Re-Nylon line are made from Econyl, a material developed by a textile yarn producer called Aquafil. The company blends waste pulled from the ocean with textile waste, upcycling harmful pollutants into a useful fabric. Aquafil claims that the process it uses to make Econyl means the material can be recycled indefinitely, with no loss of quality.
Prada has applied this new fabric to six of its unisex bags, including the belt bag, the shoulder bag, a tote bag, a duffle and two Prada backpacks. Each of them features Prada’s signature triangular logo placard, plus another circular applique in a variety of colors that features the triangle, presented as an arrow, superimposed over a map of the globe. The idea is to underscore how this bag and others made from Econyl close the loop of a product’s lifecycle.
Fashion is one of the planet’s biggest producers of pollution, so when a company as large as Prada makes a meaningful step to reduce a negative impact on the environment, it makes a statement—and a very real impact. Prada has announced that it plans to move from using virgin nylon to Econyl across all of its product categories by the end of 2021.