Pharrell Williams by Kamin Mohammadi

A new high-performance thread made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, bionic yarn offers high fashion and the high street a brave new world of possibilities.

It all began when the music and style superstar stepped off the stage of the Brazilian edition of Live Earth in 2007, and had a revelation. “I thought about it and said you know what, maybe I shouldn’t just do something one time, I should do something on a continuous basis.” His first move was to invest in this innovative thread.

A Stitch in Time

One of the most successful record producers of our time — in 2003, it was estimated he was responsible for one in every five songs played on the British radio — Pharrell is also the co-founder of two clothing lines, Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream with Nigo of Bathing Ape fame. He has also designed a jewellery line for Louis Vuitton and collaborated with the Designart duo Domeau & Peres on a range of chairs in which the legs take the form of a couple copulating. So it’s good news for Bionic Yarn founders Tim Coombs  and Tyson Toussant that mutual friends introduced them to the pop polymath, with a view to using their eco-thread Bionic Yarn as part of his Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream lines. Pharrell went one better — he became creative director and brand ambassador for Bionic Yarn, because “I want to make sure I’m putting something positive back into the universe, a universe that’s given me so much.”

Billed as “the world’s first high-performance eco-thread”, Coombs and Toussant started to develop Bionic Yarn after noticing the amount of plastic bottles strewn about New York’s streets. They realised that when these plastic bottles are melted down, they form the same molecular structure as polyester, from which they could develop an eco-thread that was stronger and more resilient than anything on the market following a three-step process. First the bottles are melted and then shredded into tiny fibres. These are then woven together to make a core yarn, which is then spun into a ‘helix’ which forms a protective outer layer and transforms the yarn into a versatile fabric that Moncler has used for winter coats, replaced the canvas uppers of Timberland boots, and has been integrated into a variety of products for TopShop in the U.K., and Gap in Japan.

There’s not enough emphasis placed in the media on the consideration of Earth being our home. For now, it’s the only one we have, so there’s no other solution but take better care of it.

Pharrell’s desire to promote “conscious consumerism” is the driving force for his involvement. “There’s not enough emphasis placed in the media on the consideration of Earth being our home,” he says. “Not everyone understands the scientific facts about the damage being done but everyone understand the importance of having a roof over our heads.  Our planet is just an extension of that concept, it’s our home and for now the only one we have so there is no other solution but to take better care of it.” Describing happiness as the ultimate luxury, Pharrell’s various endeavours are united by an urge to create products and experiences with “a purpose — not just an aesthetic value, but a holistic balance.”

As the creative director of Bionic Yarn, Pharrell has made it his mandate to enlist as many brands as possible to make the sustainable choice and “go Bionic”. And it seems to be paying off. “We’re in the middle of some great conversations,” he tells Ever Manifesto. “But they haven’t been officially announced yet so I can only give you a hint; one is with a denim brand based in Holland and the other is with a company based in Germany which is famous for using three stripes...’ Bionic Yarn is going places, just watch this space.

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