Is it possible for an item to be both recycled AND luxury? According to Will.I.Am, it is.
In an attempt to give products made of recycled materials a bit of a facelift, the Black Eyed Peas musician is partnering with Coca-Cola to create a line of designer clothing and gear called Ekocycle. The concept is to bring a cooler, more youthful image to recycled products that resonates with young people who donâ€™t want to be seen to compromise style for sustainability.
“If you think about (recycled) products now, none of them are cool,” said Will.I.Am. “You have to bring some art and fashion sensibility into this technology that turns a bottle into something cool.”
Since weâ€™re talking about fashion here, the products will not necessarily be inexpensive, even if theyâ€™re made of old soda bottles. The first Ekocycle product to debut will be a pair of headphones by Beats, a brand created by Dr. Dre and music producer Jimmy Lovine. A pair of these will set you back $349.
On the less expensive side, an Ekocycle hat by New Era will be available for only $32.
Over time, Will.I.Am plans to partner with a variety of popular designers to sell shoes, handbags, furniture, glasses, and even bicycles. Every Ekocycle product will come with a label indicating how many recycled cans and/or bottles went into the product. The Beats headphones consist of about 3 plastic bottles.
Using small amounts of recycled materials like this isnâ€™t necessarily going to make a dent in the mountains of waste, but according to Bea Perez, chief sustainability officer for Coca-Cola, the idea is to target younger customers and get them thinking about recycling and renewable products in a new way. She also hopes that partnering with popular brands and celebrities will help people overcome price barriers and give these items a try.
There are no details available about the business agreement between Coca-Cola and Will.I.Am, but the soda company is sponsoring a commercial starring the singer that has debuted during the Olympic games. Both are reviewing ways to donate their profits and royalties to recycling groups and educational charities.
$349 is a pretty steep price tag for a set of headphones, but would you be willing to fork over this kind of cash for a more eco-friendly product?