Irish designer creates a fashion statement with beer bottles

Peter Heron FashionAn up-and-coming entrepreneur from Dublin is making waves with his jeans, which are 75% denim and 25% beer bottle.

Peter Heron, an Irishman now living in New York, has launched his clothing line I Am Not A Virgin, made of partly recycled materials such as brown beer bottles and food trays. The clothing range consists mainly of shirts and jeans.

Heron’s clothing line draws attention not just for its materials, but also for its eyebrow-raising name. I Am Not A Virgin, as Heron explains, is named thus for the materials, which are recycled and therefore non-virgin.

His idea was originally to create jeans from the leftover fabric scraps, which he would get from manufacturing mills. However, a DKNY senior designer discussed with him the possibilities of using a new fabric that is made up of 75% cotton and a quarter percent recycled synthetic material like beer bottles.

The idea intrigued him, and he decided to concentrate on that instead of fabric scraps. From this change of direction was born the beer bottle jeans and t-shirts made of food trays and recycled water bottles. More are to come, Heron promises.

Next on Heron’s list of materials to use are soda bottles and scrap denim. “We will eventually have different lines of jeans made from green soda bottles, blue water bottles and my original idea of using fabric scraps collected at the manufacturing mills,” he tells The Journal in an interview.

Heron adds that they are also “making t-shirts that are made with recycled food trays, clear water bottles, discarded x-ray film and, in the future, empty yoghurt cartons.”

In the process of turning synthetic material into usable thread, Heron and company use a special machine. “So first, the bottles (all colours) are separated using a machine that has optical sensors. Arms kick out certain colours into their respective bins,” he explained to The Journal when asked how the process works. “Once separated, the entire bottle (including paper and cap) is grinded into small chips. Then they are placed in water. All paper and caps will float to the top and the usable plastic will not. This would be what would be used for the colour.”

The chips are then grounded down to smaller pieces until it becomes particle-sized. The result is a particle which is also present in polyester. It is then melted and then inserted into what Heron calls a “high-pressured nozzle”. Once cooled, the particle becomes a sliver, which then becomes a yarn.

Heron has been soliciting design ideas from the teams behind brands like Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren. However, the company has yet to take off. Using the online funding platform Kickstarter, Heron has created a reward system in exchange for pledges. A 145-dollar pledge, for instance, will gain you a pair of indigo I AM NOT A VIRGIN and a t-shirt as rewards.

I Am Not A Virgin’s Kickstarter page shows Heron’s prototype designs as well as the concept behind this unique clothing line. Heron’s Kickstarter project has 22 more days to reach its $100,000 goal.