Burberry debuts closed-loop clothing made using ‘ghost nets’

The innovative material will be used to make some of Burberry's most recognisable designs. Image: Burberry

The brand’s new collection is made using Econyl – a recycled nylon developed by manufacturer Aquafil. Econyl is predominantly made using discarded fishing nets, with other waste streams such as industrial plastic and textile scraps, including carpet, accounting for the remainder of its content.

Crucially, the material is classed as fully recyclable at the end-of-life stage. Aquafil has used life cycle assessment tools for more than three years to determine the environmental impacts of its products.

Burberry is using one of its most iconic and popular designs – its classic car coat – to spearhead the recycled collection.

“Exploring and using innovative materials that foster circularity is central to creating a more sustainable fashion industry,” Burberry’s vice president for corporate responsibility Pam Batty said.

“We are proud to use the Econyl yarn in this collection because it shows how we can actively tackle a problem like plastic waste and create beautiful, luxury products at the same time.”

The move from Burberry comes shortly after outdoor clothing brand Napapijri and designer Prada both unveiled their own Econyl products. The former is using the recycled nylon to make a new waterproof jacket, launching in October 2019, while the latter has opted to make an Econyl handbag as part of its pledge to only use recycled nylon by 2021.

Burberry is notably a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s ‘Make Fashion Circular’ initiative. Along with 17 other founding corporates, the brand has pledged to create business models which will keep garments in use, utilise materials which are renewable and find ways of recycling old clothes into new products.

Circular progress


In late July 2018, Burberry made national headlines after revealing that it had burned more than £28m worth of stock over the past 12 months. 

The line in the company’s annual reporting placed it at the centre of concerns over the global fashion industry’s sizeable waste problem – and spurred it to take more ambitious action on circular economy issues. A few weeks after the report was published, Burberry pledged to stop destroying products deemed unsaleable with immediate effect, 

Since then, Burberry has begun working to make 50 circular-economy-focused “disruptions” throughout its supply chain. Among these moves are partnering with start-up 37.5 to incorporate waste coconut shell in the thermoregulation technology using in quilted jackets, and donating leather offcuts to Elvis & Kresse, where they are made into luxury accessories such as handbags.

Burberry has also introduced Refibra, a new yarn produced by upcycling cotton leftovers from the Burberry Mill in Yorkshire, to make its dust bags for all jewellery, shoes and leather goods.

Away from waste, Burberry recently became the first large fashion company to set science-based emissions reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement’s more ambitious 1.5C trajectory.

Sarah George

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