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The Big SHFT: Bionic Men

  • With help from Pharrell Williams, this New York textile company is reinventing sustainable fabric

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    Launched by high school friends and outdoors enthusiasts Tyson Toussant and Tim Coombs, Return Textiles began as a maker of hi-tech fabrics for outdoor gear. Now, the company is making its mark with Bionic Yarn, a soft yet durable canvas substitute made primarily from recycled plastic bottles. In a patented process, the plastic polymers from recycled bottles are wrapped around polyester fibers and swaddled in cotton. The result is a strong, fast-drying material that removes dreaded plastic bottles from the waste stream.

    In 2009, hip hop Renaissance man Pharrell Williams invested in the company and became Bionic Yarn's brand ambassador. Since then, Bionic Yarn has landed lucrative, big-name projects with the likes of Moncler and Timberland. It's all part of the founders' plan to make stronger thread -- for the greater good.

    In this episode of The Big SHFT, we take an inside peak at the company's production process and share an enlightening conversation with Tyson and Pharrell. Check it.


    Pharrell Williams "Happy"

  • Four minutes of dancin' and smilin' with the reigning king of pop
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  • Matt & Nat

  • Minimalist bags and accessories made from recycled plastic bottles
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  • Pharell Debuts Recycled Plastic Denim Collection

  • G-Star Raw jeans to feature 'Bionic Yarn' made from ocean waste
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