When Prada debuted its Re-Nylon initiative in 2019, it marked a sea change for the brand. Here was a big brand looking at one of its hero materials, and approaching it with a new perspective towards environmental consciousness.
Spearheaded by Lorenzo Bertelli, the Prada scion who joined the business in 2017, the crux of the Re-Nylon initiative is a change towards more sustainable materials.
Instead of virgin nylon, the brand has partnered with suppliers that regenerate ocean waste and turn it into regenerated nylon that has a quality high enough to be turned into luxury goods. Bertelli has said that the goal is to convert all of the brand’s output in that material into Re-Nylon by 2021.
But it’s not all about product. As part of the Re-Nylon campaign, Prada embarked last year on a project with the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, or IOC, on an educational programme called Sea Beyond.
This programme saw the UNESCO IOC and Prada working together with secondary schools around the world to raise awareness on sustainability and oceanic preservation.
It’s a sweet extension of the Re-Nylon impetus, and the project is handily supported by a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Re-Nylon products. Which is a nice way to know that buying a recycled nylon bag from Prada feeds back to sustainability in more ways than one.
The Sea Beyond project began in October last year with a range of online seminars conducted by the UNESCO IOC. These were geared towards educators in schools from New York, Mexico City, Lisbon, Berlin and Shanghai, among others, to discuss how best to educate generations of students on ocean preservation.
The winning project by Portuguese students from the Agrupamento de Escolas de Vialonga school in Lisbon.
The second phase, which recently concluded, had students from the participating schools take part in an international competition to create awareness campaigns on ocean sustainability.
The winner is the Portuguese Agrupamento de Escolas de Vialonga school from Lisbon, who created a cartoon showcasing the catastrophic effects of plastic pollution on ocean ecosystems and – lest you think it’s all doom and gloom – how plastic waste can be collected and upcycled.