DUNEDIN (FOX 13) - An emerging trend in clothes is green, but not the color. Brightly-colored athletic gear is being made from trash -- plastic bottles and coffee grounds, specifically.
"It's basically the stuff you see at the bottom of the brew after you make the coffee," former yoga instructor Melissa Chu explained.
She started Rumi X to turn everyday garbage into clothing. We caught up with her on Skype at her production facility in Hong Kong. Day in and day out, she's talking trash.
"Most people just dump that out. We actually reuse that and make that into fabric," she said.
Her sports bra line starts from grounds from coffee shops in Taiwan, which are washed and dried at a processing facility. They extract the oil and then shape the grounds into little balls that get turned into yarn.
The yoga pants come from the plastic bottles collected from across Asia, shipped to a recycling facility, shredded, melted down, and then dried into flakes which can be woven into thread.
Her items are priced like other high-end athletic wear, from $60 to $100 for a typical pair of leggings.
At Mirabella boutique in Dunedin, owner Joy Hillman says she's seeing an increased interest in sustainable fashion, from necklaces cut from glass beer and vodka bottles, to beads made from old paper.
Lur-apparel is another clothing company that uses water bottles to make clothes. Hillman showed us a Lur-apparel shirt.
"When you found out this was made from recycled water bottles, were you surprised?" we asked.
"Yeah, shocked, because I would have expected it to be a little like fake leather," she said.
Instead of plastic-like, the material feels like 100-percent cotton.
Other trendsetters include Tonle', which make clothes from textile scraps, and Matt and Nat's, which offers high-end vegan handbags lined with recycled bottles and use things like old bike tires, cardboard, rubber, and cork.
Looptworks uses a variety of recycled goods like old airplane seats. And singer-producer Pharrell is reportedly collaborating with G-star Raw to curate a line of denim made from recycled plastic salvaged from the ocean called Bionic Yarn.
"I definitely see this as a mainstream trend that's here to stay and only to grow bigger," added Chu.