Vollebak’s “Garbage Sweater” is Way Cooler Than It Sounds

Look, when I tell you that the Garbage Sweater literally comes from a huge pile of trash, I mean it in the best way. Let me give you the backstory.

The guys at French clothing company Vollebak discovered a real problem with the disposal of old firefighter suits and bulletproof vests:

Aramids are adding to the landfill crisis. The problem with aramid fibres is that the exact properties which make them incredibly useful are the same properties which make them extremely hard to get rid of. They won’t decompose for hundreds of years, and you can’t incinerate them because they won’t burn, so they simply get dumped in landfill.

Every year, 500 tons of firefighter gear are thrown away in France alone where the Garbage Sweater’s material is constructed.


So, they set out to create a solution:

Building a Garbage Sweater requires a totally different process to how you would build a regular sweater. It starts by gathering a huge pile of trash made up of old firefighter suits, old bulletproof vests, and unwanted fabric scraps that were produced during their original manufacturing processes. This pile is then shredded so that all of the fibres can be pulled out. These fibres are then cleaned, blended and spun to make the new material, which is then stitched and sewn into a sweater.

That is quite an involved process, which is definitely reflected in the sweater’s $495 price tag. And no doubt, that price is going to immediately turn some people off — but you should see it more as an investment, both for the Earth and for more personal-to-you reasons.

Think about it: The high flame resistance of those meta-aramid fibers and the sheer tensile strength of the para-aramid fibers means this is a sweater that will last, and thanks to the studio’s previous experience working with cutting-edge materials, they were able to make the sweater soft and cozy enough you won’t mind wearing it all the time.


Go read more about this feat of clothing engineering and, if you’re in an “early adopter” state of mind, pick one up to try. I bet it’ll go great with the company’s upcoming Garbage Watch that will be made from e-waste.