Prada has announced that it will move away from virgin nylon in its collections by launching a collection of bags made from a regenerated nylon yarn called Econyl.
The six unisex bags that form the core collection of the ReNylon project are a belt bag, shoulder bag, tote bag, a duffle and two backpacks.
The company will replace all the virgin nylon it currently uses with Econyl recycled nylon in the next two years.
"Our ultimate goal will be to convert all Prada virgin nylon into ReNylon by the end of 2021," said head of communications at Prada, Lorenzo Bertelli.
Prada has collaborated with Italian textile yarn producer Aquafil on the project, a manufacturer with more than fifty years experience in producing synthetic textiles.
The resulting material, Econyl, is produced through a process of depolymerisation. It can be recycled an indefinite number of times with no loss of material quality.
Its capacity to be endlessly recycled makes it an example of a move towards a closed-loop system of producing nylon bags – a recycling approach that is central to the circular economy that involves ensuring materials can be reused again indefinitely to reduce waste.
To produce Econyl, Aquafil gathers plastic waste, including fishing nets, discarded nylon, used carpet and industrial waste. These are sorted and cleaned to maximise the quality of the end product.
A chemical de-polymerisation procedure is then used to reduce the nylon back to its original purity.
Production plants in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Arco, Italy realign the recycled material into polymer threads to produce the regenerated nylon material.
For the recent launch, the triangular Prada logo has been adapted from an upside-down triangle enclosing the company name and Milan, the city where it is based, to a triangular arrow to express the potential for endless recycling.
"[The logo is] a unique interpretation of the Prada triangular logo that emphasises a bucking of the traditional, age-old linear supply chain into a cyclical one, focused on renewal," said the company.
First launched in 1984, the black nylon bags were originally made from an industrial-weight nylon that was used to produce army tents. They were to become ubiquitous in the next decade, and spawned many copies.
The company described the decision to embrace recycled nylon as "a bold move towards total sustainability", and "an evolution of a fundamental code of Prada, a reinvention of heritage".
Earlier this year, Prada tasked three female architects with creating products from its black nylon resulting in a number of unusual garments that "flirt" with the function of bags and clothing.