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Stella McCartney x Protein Revolution

by Maja Bebber

British fashion designer Stella McCartney presented the world's first clothing item made from biological recycling.

At the COP28 climate summit in collaboration with the US recycling company Protein Revolution. The jacket is made from recycled polyester produced through the use of artificial intelligence and biological recycling from plastic waste.

The parka is inspired by parachute jackets from Stella McCartney’s collections. The material was created using Protein Evolution’s Biopure technology, which converts packaging waste and conveyor belts previously used to secure cargo containers into recycled polyester. The process employs enzymes developed by artificial intelligence to break down the waste into the raw materials used for polyester production. This means that the production of recycled polyester no longer requires new fossil fuels.

When these raw materials are reintegrated into the manufacturing process, it results in polyester that can be endlessly recycled. Additionally, Biopure polyester has a significantly lower CO₂ footprint compared to conventional polyester made from petroleum. The technology is capable of processing and transforming various types of waste, from plastic bottles and shells to industrial textiles and clothing.

This is a pivotal moment in the journey towards a textile circular economy in the fashion industry,” said Connor Lynn, co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Protein Evolution in a statement.

This jacket not only validates the benefits and quality of biologically recycled polyester but also offers businesses an alternative to landfilling or incinerating leftover textiles, thus extending the lifespan of their materials indefinitely.” The British label was an early investor and brand partner of Protein Evolution. The initial funding round of the recycling company was led by the investment fund ‘Collab SOS’, which partnered with McCartney and LVMH.

Last year, Protein Evolution and McCartney also announced a research and development collaboration to transform unused polyester and nylon fabrics into “like-new” products. Protein Evolution processes leftover polyester and nylon fabrics from Stella McCartney’s collections and converts them into pristine fibres.

Anyone who knows me knows that I hate waste. That’s why I’m so excited about our collaboration with Protein Evolution. Through my SOS Fund, we were among the first to invest in their groundbreaking biological recycling technology. This technology has the potential and power to transform the world’s plastic waste into infinitely recyclable polyester,” commented Stella McCartney on the collaboration.

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