Confronted with the problem of plastic pollution at sea side, New Relation got triggered by the irony that our waste is being sent back to us by the waves. The sea became the metaphor of the circularity of ecosystems we live in, revealing the absurdity to think that we can get rid of something or don’t have to deal with something once it’s out of sight.
New Relation wants to challenge the concept of waste by reconsidering the afterlife of a product. They propose an entirely recycled and recyclable high-end designer bag made of repurposed ghost fishing nets and regenerated nylon fabric.
The project was born during our summer holidays at the seaside, where we got confronted, like many others, to plastic waste on the shoreline.
We looked at the waste as a revenant, first discarded in the depths of the water, but brought back by the waves. It leads to face the traces of our occidental way of living and reveals the absurdity to think that we don’t have to deal with something once it’s out of sight.
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:
It is estimated that discarded fishing gear, also known as ghost nets, amounts to 640,000 tonnes, 10% of the world’s marine litter. Every year they are responsible for trapping and killing millions of marine animals and coral reef. The ghost nets are a major symbol of ocean overexploitation, but often invisible to the naked eye. It is from this metaphor of ‘facing the wave’ that we thought of the Ghost Bag.
Made of recycled materials, the bag itself is recyclable. We have developed a new fabric consisting of fishing nets recovered from the sea, trapped in ECONYL* regenerated nylon fabric. Using artisanal techniques, each bag will be unique because of the arbitrary placement of the nets. By considering the afterlife of the bag we wish to reintegrate this object into an evolving cycle, an open loop.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
The design process was a question of being conscious, of paying attention to the material of the object, to its organic part. Being constraint to use just one material, it forced us to think off the beaten path to find unexpected design solutions; for instance the solution to close the bag with an inside drawstring bag.
Important to us was that the sourcing of our materials would be within Europe. The fishing nets are provided by a fishermen cooperation in the Netherlands that work together on the clean up of the North Sea, the ECONYL yarns and fabric are made Italy and the bags will be manufactured in Paris. By the traceability of the production line we want to ensure a high quality product.
The partnership with Polymer Science Park was very enriching, their expertise in the field of plastics made it possible to research the recyclability of the developed material, which was a very important step for us. Besides their valuable knowledge it was great to feel support from the science field in our research to develop the Ghost Bag.
Our aim in the near future is to take the Ghost Bag in production and sell it through our web shop, online platforms, and a selection of retailers.
It is primordial to collaborate together in the field of design and science to push boundaries and change perspectives.
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New Relation is a Paris-based project by fashion designer Mattia Akkermans and artist-choreographer Morgan Belenguer. The project articulates itself around the notion of the Anthropocene in its complexity and ambiguity. It reflects on this new era of fragility, unsettledness and general vulnerability from which emerges the search for a new contract, a new belonging and therefore a new aesthetic, one of limits.
Mattia Akkermans is a Dutch fashion designer graduated with honours from Artez, Institute of the Arts in Arnhem, the Netherlands in 2011. After graduation she has been working for several French fashion houses such as Saint Laurent and Chloé, among others. Graduated from Rudra Béjart Lausanne, Morgan Belenguer is a French artist- choreographer. He made work for various theaters such as Hannover Staatstheater, Braunschweig Staatstheater and exhibited at PROGRAM, PSM Berlin and Palais de Tokyo,Paris among others.
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POLYMER SCIENCE PARK leader in recycling innovative plastics in the Netherlands, since its founding in 2012. In addition to R & D services, they also offer consulting, production and testing, training programs and a centre of learning for students and beginners. The company specialises in the Circular Economy and Intelligent Technology transforming its clients’ strategies into sustainable products that preserve the environment, thereby improving the world we live in.
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