Five-Minute Pow-Wow: EARTHTEC Founder Dennis Randall

We’re all about making the world a better place, and if we could do it just by shopping – we’d be a Nobel Peace Prize shoo-in. So, when we heard about EARTHTEC, an eco-friendly clothing company that turns water bottles into stylish ensembles (we kid you not), we sat down with founder and CEO Dennis Randall to talk saving the planet one outfit at a time.

Rue La La: You’ve been in the textile industry for a while. What inspired you to go green and start Earthtec?
Dennis: 15 years ago, I was introduced to the concept of turning water bottles into fiber and it just blew my mind – I couldn’t believe that it was possible from a scientific perspective and textile perspective. And I was so uplifted from an environmental perspective that I just wanted to dive in and shout it from the tallest mountain that this is possible.

Rue La La: As a self-proclaimed eco-textile nerd, we’re sure you have some statistics for us.
Dennis: Every year, 150 billion bottles are being put in landfills and we have the ability to convert those and give them a second life. Every product we sell on average is 12 bottles that didn’t go in a landfill.

Rue La La: Tell us more about the sartorial afterlife of these water bottles.
Dennis: Going back a dozen years ago, companies in this space were what I’d call “the true tree huggers.” Today, we’re showing that there’s no sacrifice on the fashion side. This is a convergence of style and sustainability that didn’t exist 15 years ago. You would never know by looking at this collection that it’s made from water bottles.

Rue La La: We’re dying to hear about your latest line with _Project Runway_ winner Seth Aaron.
Dennis: He is definitely a fashion guy, and we’re a little more in the outerwear space of our roots right now so with his design sensibilities we’re kind of finding our way into more traditional clothing that we can bring to bigger stores.

Rue La La: And how did this collab come about?
Dennis: I heard about his involvement in a project to make runways out of solar panels and a mutual friend thought it would make sense for us to meet – so we did, and within an hour of meeting we had this conceptual idea for a line we wanted to do together.

Rue La La: Why is this green movement so important for the fashion industry?
Dennis: Now people can say, “Well okay, maybe I don’t have solar power in my house, maybe I don’t drive a hybrid car, but this is an easy choice I can make. I can go into a clothing store and buy a jacket that has a social impact.”

November 19, 2011