Naples-based clothing line made from plastic bottles to improve water quality

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

Stylish and sustainable, a local organization’s clothing items are hiding a secret: They’re made from plastic bottles. It’s all part of the organization’s dedication to fighting our water crisis in Southwest Florida.

We joined founder Kevin Hall of StepChange Clothing based in Naples while he spoke to FGCU about the movement he is spearheading Monday.

“I was really getting concerned about the water quality,” Hall said.

It’s all in the name, and Hall’s craft is helping him work toward positive change for our region.

“My background is in apparel, and I decided to create a line of clothing, really comfortable clothing, made out of recycled bottles,” Hall said. “So it pulls the recycled bottles out of the waste stream.”

People might ask whether comfortable clothes can really be made from plastic bottles, and Hall says they can.

“It’s actually performance fibers that are created from the recycled bottles,” Hall said. “And, then, that is turned into apparel.”

During his FGCU presentation, Hall said the plastic is melted down and spun into yarn.

“There’s not enough awareness of that, and there’s not enough people doing it,” Hall said.

And he doesn’t bottle up the concept.

“Well, we’ve done this two or three times,” said Dr. Christine Wright-Isak, an assistant professor of marketing and advertising at FGCU. “We’re very privileged to have Kevin bring us new ideas and ask us to help.”

Hall seeks the help of FGCU business students to market his concept.

“We’re brand-new,” Hall said. “We’ve only been going since late last year.”

StepChange shirts run from $40 to $45; socks are $10, and everything is made from recycled bottles. To learn more about the initiative, visit StepChange Clothing’s website.

StepChange also supports those who help clean up our waterways.

“What we do is actually, for each purchase, we give a donation to a local nonprofit that’s working in the ocean to improve the health of our oceans,” Hall said.

That includes Nonprofits like Ocean Habitats, which we have reported on. Ocean habitats installs artificial reefs to boost biodiversity and water quality.

“Any time we can work with somebody else, we’re all for it,” said David Wolff, president and executive director of Ocean Habitats. “If it helps us get more reefs in the water, then it’s a good thing. We’re doing more good.”

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