Our material

Why does it matter?

The oceans are dying. But it's not too late to help. Plastic marine litter affects at least 267 species worldwide including sea turtles, whales, dolphins and marine birds. A huge amount of plastic litter ends up in our oceans every year. As a result, the ocean currents have formed  five massive whirlpools where the plastic collects, named Vortexes. Recent studies indicated that at least 40 million pounds of plastic has collected and is floating in the North Pacific Ocean alone. Most of the plastic litter remain in the Vortexes but a high percentage washes onto our beaches. The majority of the plastic in our oceans is broken into small pieces 1/4 of an inch or smaller and scattered over massive areas. Over time plastic debris can often get as small as a grain of sand, named mermaid tears. This is a very big threat to aquatic life and seabirds as it mimics plankton and gets eaten. Plastic has become part of the food chain and most ocean animals now have plastic in their stomach. If we continue to pollute the ocean with plastic, we are facing the potential extinction of many sea life specials and the interruption of the entire ecosystem. The center of a Vortex, where the plastic concentration is highest, is constantly moving. It is difficult to collect and retrieve this plastic without harming fish and other sea life. Only a minority of plastic pollution floats on or near the surface, while the majority sinks to the ocean floor. While it still seems impossible to clean up the Vortexes, huge volumes of plastic debris wash up on beaches and shorelines where it can be collected easily and fed into the recycling system.
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It takes over 400 years for plastic bottles to fully biodegrade, so by recycling bottles into clothes we are offsetting the need to produce virgin materials. Using recycled polyester helps us to not only keep plastic out of the landfills and oceans, but also to save our natural resources. Our planet is exhausted and polluted, and that is exactly why we need to be more responsible. Leading environmentalists see the end of most sea life happening within the next 6–16 years. Plastic is a design failure, one that can be resolved if we recreate the material. We can save ocean life by cleaning up shorelines and intercepting the production of virgin plastic through closed-loop recycling systems. Olas want to highlight the importance of recycling fabric in the hope it stops entering our oceans and landfills.
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How does it work?

Post consumer water bottles are collected and brought to the recycling facility in Switzerland. The conversion process of turning waste into wearable fabric begins:

• A flotation and separation process removes the caps and labels from the bottles, as they are made of plastics with different characteristics

• Plastic bottles are then processed into chips

• After being washed the flakes are melted

• Yarns are pulled from the melted polyester

• The result is a clean, valuable and recycled yarn 

• In Italy the raw filament yarns are spun with Lycra® and made into fabric

• In England the recycled fabric is then printed, cut and sewn into awesome leggings

Our yarn supplier is certified under the UNI 11505:2013 standard. From bottle collection to reprocessing and yarn production, our supplier insist processing stages take place in Europe and are monitored at every step. The recycled content is guaranteed and certifies the 'post consumer' origin of the polyester used for our leggings. Free of heavy metals and other toxic substances, the yarn offers maximum comfort, freshness, breathability, colour solidity and thermoregulation. Good not only for health but also the environment. Together we reinvent waste and cut down on plastic disposal. 

    Recycled polyester vs standard polyester

    Recycled polyester is so great because it produces over half the amount of C02 than standard polyester. For every kilogram of recycled PET, 3 kilograms of CO2 are spared. The recycling of 1,000 kilograms of polyester prevents the emission of nearly 3,000 kilograms of greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of a medium-sized car in one year.

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    Recycled polyester uses 70% less energy than standard polyester.
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    Another great benefit of using recycled polyester is its low water impact. The production process of the yarn, thanks to solution dyeing and additive adding during the spinning process, ensures a very low water and energy consumption if compared to traditional dyeing and finishing processes. 90% less than standard polyester to be accurate.
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    Dyeing, rinsing, and treatment of standard polyester use large amounts of fresh water. The textile industry is the second largest polluter in the world, next to agriculture and oil. 72 toxic chemicals reach our water supply from textile dyeing. Many of these chemicals cannot be filtered or removed. Dye houses in India and China are notorious for not only exhausting local water supplies, but for dumping untreated wastewater into local streams and rivers. Using recycled polyester in Europe avoids this mess. 
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    Our yarn supplier's attention to Sustainability is a long term commitment demonstrated by the voluntary publication of a Sustainability Report every year. They fulfil the strictest security criteria and have limited environmental impact

    Our printing 

    What is sublimation printing?

    Our artwork is transferred onto our recycled polyester fabric in a heat press operating at a temperature around 200°C. Under high temperature and pressure, the dye turns into a gas, permeates the fabric and then solidifies into its fibers. The fabric is permanently dyed so it can be washed without damaging the quality of the artwork. Super durable and long lasting.

    Our vision