It’s not a typo. Aerie, the popular twenty-somethings athleisure brand, has introduced a line of recycled polyester leggings into their stores. Aerie does a lot of good to spread body positivity in their #AerieReal no retouching campaigns. (Which – complete aside – is SO refreshing to see!). However, Aerie (owned by American Eagle) is not an environmentally conscious brand at it’s core.
Needless to say, this is a step in the right direction for the brand because Millennials make up the bulk of Aerie’s consumer base. A study conducted by the MIT AgeLab revealed that 69% of millennials have changed their behaviors more around protecting the environment. Behaviors including shopping habits, perhaps? *Raises hand*
Let’s get to the deets.
Aerie partnered with a company called Thread International to develop the Play leggings. Thread International’s mission is to make quality fabrics from plastic bottles. Here’s how it works: Ground. Flake. Yarn. Fabric.
At the very start of the supply chain, the plastic bottles for Aerie’s collection are collected by thousands of people in Taiwan. They can get the plastic from anywhere: littered on the street, collected by friends and neighbors, or even from landfills. The plastic is collected and brought to plastic collection centers in Taiwan.
At the recycling facilities, the bottles are sorted, the labels and caps are removed, and the plastic bottles are ground into plastic flakes. The plastic flakes are melted into pellet and extruded into filament, which is then finished into yarn. It’s pretty amazing how many steps are required to turn a plastic bottle into fabric, right? Finally, the Ground to Good yarn gets knitted into fabric, cut and sewn into Aerie’s Play leggings.
Make sure you pay attention to which style of the Play leggings are made with recycled polyester so you don’t make the same mistake I did! I wanted to try a pair on for myself, so I went to my local Aerie and grabbed two pairs of high-waisted Play leggings to try on (in the picture of the red and blue leggings above). They were so comfortable that I fell in love and bought a pair, only to realize later that I bought the wrong ones! The ones I bought were made with nylon, not recycled polyester. Ugh! You can safely shop the following styles and have peace of mind that they are made with recycled polyester 🙂
Here’s to hoping that Aerie continues to incorporate recycled fabrics in their garments, and even more traditionally sustainable fibers such as modal, Tencel, and organic cotton! What do you think? Do you have Aerie’s Play leggings, and if so, do you like them? Let me know in the comments!