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11611 San Vicente Blvd
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Los Angeles CA, 90049

Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm

How Outerknown Extended their Sustainability Efforts with Oceanworks Guaranteed Ocean Plastic Buttons

How Outerknown Extended their Sustainability Efforts with Oceanworks Guaranteed Ocean Plastic Buttons

Outerknown's Inspiration

Eleven time World Surf League Champion, Kelly Slater, and acclaimed designer John Moore founded Outerknown with the belief that they have a responsibility to make clothing that respects the world around us.

For more than two decades, Kelly and John were on the frontlines of fashion, witnessing firsthand the massive environmental impact of the industry. They realized the clothes they were designing and wearing were part of the problem, and decided they wanted to be part of the solution. In 2015 they founded Outerknown to change the game, creating clothing reflecting both their style and values.

Outerknown shorts with ocean plastic buttons from OceanworksAfter successfully sourcing the bulk of their textiles from accredited sources, Outerknown grew frustrated with the lack of innovation in the trims industry - buttons, zippers, pulls, and other components. Oceanworks was working with a manufacturer specializing in custom tooling and injection molded trims. After connecting with Outerknown, Oceanworks quickly mobilized to deliver the service and materials required to create the world's first button made from recycled ocean plastics.

 

"Our journey as a company began with Outerknown taking a chance with us to test using ocean plastic recycled materials. We have been forever grateful for their leadership to take risks and be an inspirational voice in the world of sustainable fashion." -Rob Ianelli, Founder, Oceanworks

 

Detail view of ocean plastic buttons from Oceanworks

Look closely; the Oceanworks button includes the material, year, and the Oceanworks Guarantee mark printed on the button. It’s another tiny detail that speaks volumes and reinforces the Oceanworks commitment to the oceans. 

The Process

Oceanworks buttons on khaki shorts from Outerknown

Outerknown designers were used to picking trims from books and giant catalogs. The Oceanworks process offered a different approach, providing a way to create a new custom button from scratch made from recycled materials. Partnering with an outside design agency, Oceanworks created a design utilizing HDPE (high-density-polyethylene) ocean plastic that also matched the design finish aesthetics important to the Outerknown team.
Oceanworks created custom tools for the iteration process and, thanks to the quick turnaround by the manufacturer, produced sample buttons to show Outerknown at the 2017 Outdoor Retailer Show.

The plastic was collected from places like Haiti and Mexico by locals paid a living wage for their efforts. This simultaneously prevents plastic waste from entering the ocean and combats extreme poverty. For people living in Haiti, a country still struggling to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake, earning money by clearing out the plastic plaguing their neighborhoods and water supply is a win-win situation. 

 

"Partnering with Oceanworks was a great way to drive innovative solutions for Outerknown and further integrate sustainability into the brand." -Megan Stoneburner Azim, Director of Sustainability and Sourcing, Outerknown

 

Timeline

The entire team raced to meet the launch of the S.E.A. Legs pants(S.E.A stands for Social and Environmental Accountability) featuring the ocean plastic button. By leveraging third party design services, Oceanworks sourcing expertise, and an ambitious manufacturer from our network, the Outerknown launch was a success.

 

The Results

What started as a project for S.E.A. Leg pants quickly evolved and now several Outerknown garments feature buttons made from Oceanworks Guaranteed ocean plastics. Each button offers a sustainable solution for Outerknown, and their customers who want to make sustainable buying decisions. Oceanworks and Outerknown look forward to future collaborations, one tiny detail at a time.