LONDON — When Anya Hindmarch released her first “I am Not a Plastic Bag” tote in 2007 she took the market by storm.
More than a decade later, the idea that “when you throw something away there is really no away” kept lingering in her head, so as awareness around sustainability issues, plastic consumption in particular, starts to increase, she wanted to re-release her famous totes and make an even bolder statement.
This time around she renamed the project to “I am a Plastic Bag” and created graphic patterned totes using recycled plastic.
It was a project that’s been a long time coming, as Hindmarch has been working hard to refine the manufacturing process and create a high-quality canvas made out of recycled plastic bottles.
“The bottles are chipped and melted into pellets, which is then made into a fiber. It took a while to achieve this high quality of canvas and then to coat it, because I wanted to make sure we have recycled coating which was a real challenge,” said Hindmarch, adding that the bag sold out in seconds across her own stores and Net-a-porter. She is already working on the next drop, slated for April, with Matchesfashion.com.
To promote the project, Hindmarch chose to close three of her London stores during the weekend of London Fashion Week and fill them up with plastic bottles, to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of plastic consumption.
“We filled each store with 90,000 bottles, which equals six seconds’ worth of consumption. I wanted to show people because once you see it, it’s a bit shocking,” added the designer, who’s been working to integrate sustainable practices across her business, rethinking both packaging and the materials she uses.
“You also have to make sure you use your stock up and don’t throw anything away because that is not appropriate. It has to be common sense but once you start, there are so many more things you realize you can do. It’s a bit like when you go to the gym you start eating better.”