Green clothes company aims to combat textile waste

Future Humans creates fashion from recycled materials going against grain of second most polluting industry on planet

Future Humans shirts made from recyclable materials (ACN)
Future Humans shirts made from recyclable materials (ACN) / ACN

ACN | Sabadell

September 3, 2018 02:18 PM

Fast fashion is the second most polluting industry on the planet. Its model of low prices and cheap labour has led to an increase in demand, people buying more clothes, and subsequently the generation of more waste.

With a view of fighting against what they deem as an “environmental emergency,” one couple from the town of Sabadell outside Barcelona have created the company Future Humans. It is not your average fashion business.

One person’s rubbish is another’s treasure

By using new technologies, Future Humans turns the waste generated by society into clothes. Andrew Swiler and Cristina Brossa design and make modern, functional items of clothing by recycling plastic, fishing nets, corks, organic fabrics, and other materials.

The seeds of inspiration behind Future Humans were sown back in 2014, when the couple was in the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.

“We had gone on business,” explained Swiler, highlighting that they already had an eyewear company named Uniqbrow. “We spent some days on a small beach where we found we could not swim because of the quantity of rubbish in the sea,” he said.

During the high season, many cruise ships came bringing with them tonnes of rubbish to the Caribbean coast, they were told by those responsible for the site.

A company dedicated to sustainability

“We felt completely powerless as two people who at home recycle, and buy ecological zero-kilometre food, because we saw that we cannot do anything against the waste created by society,” the co-founder of Future Humans said.

During the following years the couple toyed with the idea of setting up a second company dedicated to sustainability.

“We saw that the textile industry is the second most polluting in the planet, and that there were many suppliers that more and more were working with recycled materials,” said Swiler. And thus the idea behind Future Humans was born.

“We knew that initiatives existed like that of Stella McCartney,” said Swiler, “but the problem is that you have to pay 400 euros for one shirt.”

The masterminds behind Future Humans wanted to make practical and affordable clothes that could be used to go to work: jackets costing around 150 euros, and shirts at 60 euros, for example.

In order to make it possible they got in touch with various laboratories that were creating thread from materials like plastic, organic cotton, nylon extracted from fishing nets and more.

They get their material from various labs located in Spain, Korea, Portugal, and Italy. “We make the designs and a cooperative in Mataró dedicated to the sector helps us with the patterns and manufacturing,” said Swiler.

According to Swiler, 100 shirts made by Future Humans can recycle 1,100 plastic bottles and save 240,000 litres of water, the equivalent of 1,200 full baths.

The co-founder is convinced that in its first year of operation the business will make a revenue of 450,000 euros.

He admits that the products gain more interest in northern European countries such as Germany, “where the green concept is more normalized.