Yoga lover turns plastic bottles into fancy eco-friendly yoga pants - and they are comfier than they sound
An entrepreneurial Yoga enthusiast is promoting her love for mother earth by setting up the first company in Poland to produce stylish yoga pants made from recycled plastic bottles.
Founded by 33-year-old Natalia Nykiel from Dębica, Poland, Freeme produces sustainable eco yoga gear from fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles. The slow fashion warrior says that for one pair of leggings, 12 plastic bottles are recycled for yarn.
The P.E.T plastic bottles, which are the recyclable kind you find in shops, are first sterilised before being cut into small chips. The chips are then melted down to produce the threads that will be blended with lycra and turned into yarn for the clothes. Although made from plastic, Natalia says the leggings are non-reflective, breathable and soft to the touch.
It’s a method clothing giant North Face has also recently jumped on with the launch of their Thermoball Eco collection in 2018. However, Natalia says that the process of creating clothes through recycling isn’t an industry standard, which makes the production more complicated.
“The whole difficulty is to obtain the right materials and maintain affordable prices for customers,” she explained to TFN.
“At the moment, recycled fabrics are not yet the norm and there are only a few suppliers in the world.”
She added: “The process of production is longer but from the wider perspective it is amazing that we are able to reuse the plastic bottles this way.”
Unlike other brands, who are now waking up to the harm the fashion industry inflicts on the environment, the Freeme founder realised her slow fashion ethos almost 15 years ago when fast fashion first spread in post-communist Poland.
She recalled, “When in 2004, at the age of 19, the first foreign fast fashion chains appeared in Poland, my own approach to fashion began to change.
“I understood that fast fashion is something that destroys initiative, craftsmanship and creativity in young people. The biggest issue for me was its devastating impact on our planet.
“I believe fabrics from recycling materials and those from organic production are the future of the sportswear and fashion industry.
“I wanted to offer my clients an eco-friendly alternative to sports clothes, which still guarantee all the technical demands of the sector - high quality of the product, breathable and quick-drying fabrics.”
Obsessed with production quality, former IT manager Natalia said that the stylish graphics on the leggings are uniquely designed for Freeme by graduates of the Academy of Fine Arts who are also yoga enthusiasts and lead their lives according to the mindfulness philosophy.
She said, “If you will look closer at our leggings designs you will see the clouds, sunsets, sunrises, flowers, oceans, waterfalls and even the thunderstorms. All those incredible wonders of nature combine and mix together to give the unique results which you can see on the leggings each model wears. They are more like small art galleries.”
While interest is growing in Poland for the eco yoga clothes, Natalia is planning on expanding her client base abroad and is working on a new collection fresh for 2019.
She told TFN, “We also want to launch a new project in which we shall donate 1percent of our income to other causes.
“Fashion is now one of the biggest polluters. No one has to be perfect and have zero waste, but if all people could make just little changes, it will make a huge impact on the planet.”