Dior collaborates with Parley for the Oceans on a sustainable capsule collection for the beach
A love of the natural world informs Kim Jones’ latest beachwear collection for Dior, seeing the designer collaborate with environmental organisation Parley for the Oceans, whose innovative fabrics are crafted from upcycled ocean plastics
Nature was a longtime fascination for Christian Dior, his idyllic childhood spent in the flower-filled clifftop gardens of Villa ‘Les Rhumbs’ in northwestern France, which look out towards the English Channel beyond. It is a preoccupation shared by current men’s artistic director of the house Kim Jones, who himself grew up immersed in the dramatic natural landscapes of Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Botswana and the Caribbean during a nomadic childhood (such is his love of nature, he declares Sir David Attenborough his hero).
In time for Earth Day on April 22 – and, indeed, summer days ahead – a sustainable beachwear capsule from Dior sees Jones unite with environmental organisation Parley for the Oceans on a clothing collection ‘inspired by the deep, unbreakable ties that unite Dior with nature’. First initiated by Jones in 2019 and symbolising the house’s commitment to a ‘more eco-innovative, sustainable future for fashion’, the collaboration is built on the idea of innovation, combining Dior’s near-unrivalled savoir-faire with ‘Parley Ocean Plastic’, a series of high-performance fabrics created from upcycled plastic marine debris recovered from islands around the world (in particular, the Maldives, Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka).
Driven by a desire to ‘protect the undersea world’, these fabrics are transformed by the Dior atelier into intricate jacquards, mesh knits, and a technical canvas (a challenge undertaken by the house’s fastidious artisans, who were working with these new fabrics for the very first time). Some come woven with the house’s iconic prints and patterns, like the Dior Oblique, first designed in 1967 and since embraced by Jones in his collections, alongside bayadères stripes and the lesser-known Adriatic motif, which is drawn from the house archives. It makes for perhaps the most richly-fashion iteration of Parley Ocean Plastic yet (the organisation’s other high-profile collaboration is with sportswear label Adidas, which has been running for over half a decade).
The collection itself, centring on a sand-and-sea palette of blues and ochres, sees these fabrics formulated into a summer-ready capsule of clothing designed for warmer days ahead – whether pullover sweaters, cargo shorts, or sporty T-shirts (the house note the capsule is as much for summertime adventures as for the beach). Another pair of jackets can be packed away into a pouch reminiscent of the Saddle Bag, while Jones’ lace-up B23 sneaker boots come with new bio-based plastic soles. ‘Combining comfort and elegance, technicality and refinement, this wardrobe is made up of essential, adventure-ready, mix-and-match pieces,’ say the collection’s accompanying notes.
‘With the latest science highlighting the dire urgency of action, we need transformational change in every sector of society to end the rapidly unfolding impacts on both humans and nature and protect our future on this magical blue planet,’ adds Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch. ‘This collection is a call for the fashion industry to revolutionise its production methods.’ §