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Ralph Lauren Reworks Its Signature Polo Shirt to Celebrate Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary

The eco-friendly shirts feature fabric made from recycled plastic and dyed without water.

Ralph Lauren Earth Day polo Courtesy of Ralph Lauren

To honor the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Ralph Lauren has reworked its signature polo shirt with the environment at top of mind.

Every piece in the Earth Polo capsule collection features a fabric produced by recycling plastic bottles. To be more specific, each shirt is made from about 12 bottles. Taking things a step further, the entire range was dyed using an innovative waterless process—no small feat, considering the fashion industry’s notoriously high rates of water use and pollution. The project is just one part of larger environmental initiatives laid out by company Chief Innovation Officer and scion, David Lauren. 

“Changing the way we innovate, design and produce our products is the first of many steps we are taking as a company to be more sustainable. For us, it all started with the Earth Polo,” Lauren said in a press release. “Ralph Lauren will commit to removing at least 170 million bottles from landfills and oceans, and will convert the use of all virgin poly-fiber to recycled poly-fiber by 2025. Plastic waste is a major issue threatening the environment—we want to be part of the solution and utilize an innovative approach to create something valuable.”

Ralph Lauren Earth Day polo

All the polos in the collection were made using a waterless dyeing process.  Courtesy of Ralph Lauren

Available in 19 colors, from vivid brights to classic neutrals, the Earth Polo offering includes styles for men, women and children. All of them were produced in partnership with First Mile, an organization that works with entrepreneurs in struggling communities to collect plastic bottles. Those same bottles are then processed through an eco-friendly manufacturing program and turned into yarns that eventually become fabrics.

“When Ralph founded our company more than 50 years ago, he did so with the idea that whatever we create is meant to be worn, loved, and passed on for generations,” said executive the company’s VP of Supply Chain and Sustainability, Halide Alagoz. “It’s with this spirit of timelessness that we approach sustainability.”

This is just the latest in the brand’s conscientious efforts, which recently included donating $10 million to support coronavirus relief. The company’s sustainability endeavors extend far beyond Earth Day: last year, Ralph Lauren pledged that the corporation will achieve zero waste to landfill across its distribution centers by 2023 and that by 2025 it will achieve at least a 20% reduction in total water use across its operations and value chain. 

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