3 Ways Fashion Is Getting Eco-Friendly for Earth Day

Courtesy of G-Star Raw
Pharrell Williams, co-designer of G-Star Raw's RAW for the Oceans collection.

G-Star Raw, American Eagle and The North Face are finding new ways to reuse ocean plastic, unwanted denim and your ratty old hiking boots.

"Sustainable" seems to be the word on the lips of major fashion brands looking to reduce their ecological footprint, and recycling is just one way they're looking to make it happen. But in 2015, companies aren't simply sorting their papers and plastics — they're taking recycling to a whole new level and finding creative and innovative new ways to reuse old junk. 

For its RAW for the Oceans collection line, produced in collaboration with the nonprofit Parley for the Oceans, G-Star enlisted Pharrell Williams as co-designer of the men's and women's collections of jeans, tees and jackets. A man of many hats, Williams is the creative director of Bionic Yarn, a textile made from recycled plastics which is used in the RAW collection. The singer also appears in an accompanying short documentary film about excessive plastics in oceans, produced by i-D magazine.

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American Eagle Outfitters also has denim recycling on the brain. In collaboration with Brad Pitt's Make It Right foundation, the retailer is collecting "unwearable" denim, which will be shredded and used for home insulation as well as other building materials. These components will then be used in homes built by the foundation, which Pitt initially founded to help areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. The brand is offering customers that donate old denim 20% off of a new pair of jeans.

Rounding out the recycling retailers is The North Face, which is expanding their Clothes the Loop program that encourages customers to bring their old apparel and footwear to stores so that materials can be reused in the manufacturing process. After successfully testing the program in 10 stores, the outdoor apparel company will launch Clothes the Loop in all of its 83 retail locations.