Back in 2007, on every arm there was an 'I'm Not A Plastic Bag'. 13 years on from the launch of this iconic 'it' bag comes something extraordinary from Anya Hindmarch. Following the huge success of the 'I'm Not A Plastic Bag' campaign in 2007, the brand has spun this concept on its head and created a bag that is made from an innovative new fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and coated with recycled plastic windshields. Meet 'I AM A Plastic Bag'.
The collection uses the incredible technology and craftsmanship that is synonymous with the brand and created a capsule collection of bags that are not only stylish but making a positive contribution to the planet. It has taken two years of testing and researching techniques to find the best methods and partners to create the 'I Am A Plastic Bag' Collection. The luxurious, cotton canvas feel fabric used to make the bag is woven from a yarn created from the plastic bottles. The plastic bottles are first sorted, shredded, washed and then turned into pellets. These pellets are melted and extruded into fibers that are then spun and woven to create the fabric. It then takes 32 x half litre bottles to make each large tote.
To create a weather-resistant durable finish, the fabric is then coated in recycled PVB, a product which is extracted from old car windshields and is the first of its kind technology. The bag is trimmed with leather, a decision that was made after much research and expert advice. Whilst the initial plan was to use vegan or recycled leather for the trim, it was concluded that responsibly-sourced leather was the best material as the alternatives contained unacceptably high-levels of polyurethane. This leather is a by-product of the meat industry and is sourced from a tannery in Northern Italy close to where the bag is made. The tannery is gold-rated by The Leather Working Group and they use traceable European hides that incur no de-forestation. Finally, the brand has also partnered with EcoAct - a global climate change consultancy - to measure the emissions associated with the 'I Am A Plastic Bag' collection and to make this a carbon neutral project.
To celebrate the launch of this collection, the brand closed their central London stores over London Fashion Week, including the store on Bond Street, and filled them with over 90,000 plastic bottles. Although this number sounds like a lot, this is in fact the equivalent of how many plastic bottles that are purchased every six seconds globally, as well as how many plastic bottles go into landfill every 8.5 minutes.
Anya Hindmarch’s 2007 ground-breaking ‘I’m not A Plastic Bag’ collaboration with advertising agency Antidote and social change movement Shift, was not only an immediate sell out world-wide but importantly, it significantly contributed to the reduction in the number of plastic bags used. The limited-edition, reusable canvas tote was created in response to the growing environmental challenge of single-use plastic bags and to inspire people to change their everyday actions.
This campaign was at the vanguard of the anti-plastic bag movement. The British Retail Consortium estimated that in 2006, the UK alone used 10.6bn plastic bags, and this figure dropped to 6.1bn in 2010. Specifically, Sainsbury’s cut the number of bags they gave away by 58% in the 2 years that followed the campaign, giving out 312m fewer bags in 2008 than 2009 and saving 13,200 tonnes of virgin plastic over two years.