Prada is not new to using inventive ways of utilizing nylon.
In 1984, Miuccia Prada, the granddaughter of founder Mario Prada, began using nylon for ready-made accessories. She got the material for her newly-launched backpack from a nylon factory that made parachutes. At that time, the endeavor created quite a stir since nothing could be further from luxury and classic elegance than an industrial fabric.
Despite being faced with rivals like Gucci and Versace, Muiccia Prada did not back down. The fashion designer claimed she hated the bags during the era because they were “so formal, so lady, so traditional, so classic.”
Now, 35 years later, Prada’s iconic nylon accessories have survived the test of time and continue to make appearances on the runway, with the fashion house using 700,000 meters of the material every year.
Nylon is a plastic-based product and to use such huge amounts of the material in the current climate does not seem like a very wise decision. Keeping this in mind, the Italian fashion house launched its Re-Nylon collection in June, which will incorporate sustainability in the brand by using regenerated nylons made from plastic fished from the ocean, discarded fishing nets, and textile fiber waste.
The recycled nylon, produced by Aquafil, is known as ECONYL and the fashion house vowed it will use only this type of nylon by 2021. The great thing about ECONYL is that it can be recycled again and again with no loss in quality.
Prada Re-Nylon Collection
Although the initial collection will only showcase six unisex bags — a shoulder bag, a tote bag, a duffle bag, a belt bag, and two backpacks, the fashion house intends to make its entire nylon collection from ECONYL by the end of 2021.
The bags in the collection will initially be sold for 20 percent more than the ones made from plastic, but Prada says it is working to slash the price so that environmentally-conscious customers will not be forced to pay a higher amount once Re-Nylon goes completely sustainable. It also says that it will donate a portion of the proceeds from the bags’ sales to a UNESCO project that supports the environment.
The company plans to launch the Re-Nylon collection alongside a National Geographic series that shows how ECONYL is manufactured.
ECONYL Used By Other High-End Brands
With this move, Prada joins the ever-growing list of high-end fashion brands that are already using the Aquafil-trademarked nylon. Aquafil claims for every 10,000 tons of ECONYL thread made, the company is able to save 70,000 barrels of oil.
The eco-friendly fabric is currently being used by dozens of fashion brands around the world, including Adidas, Stella McCartney, Gucci, and Triumph.
This is not the only environmental-friendly project that Prada has undertaken. In May, the fashion house declared it will stop using fur in its women’s apparel and accessory collection by February 2020. The Italian brand previously used mink, rabbit, and fox fur in its collections.
The decision extends to all its subsidiary brands including Miu Miu, Church’s, and Car Shoe, and will come into effect just in time for its Spring/Summer collection.
By doing so, Prada joins the list of high-fashion luxury brands that vowed to stop the use of animal fur in their products going forward including Chanel, Burberry, John Galliano, Versace, DKNY, Gucci, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Georgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Vivien Westwood, Calvin Klein, and Stella McCartney, who is a trailblazer when it comes to ethical, cruelty-free fashion and has never used real leather, fur, or feather in her products.
It remains unconfirmed how Prada intends to deal with their ECONYL bags once customers wear them out, but it would be a good idea to take them back and recycle them again. Given the resilient nature of ECONYL, the strategy would cement Prada’s reputation as an ethical and green brand.