This website requires JavaScript.




The Tunisian brand that transforms marine plastic into eco-friendly clothing

Tunisian brand has teamed up with the Seaqual Initiative, an international coalition that purchases marine plastic at a consistent price throughout the year.

On the shores of Tunisia, two individuals dressed in a bright sift through plastic debris. Their actions serve both as a livelihood and contribution to environmental preservation. Little do they realize that the plastic they collect will eventually be converted into synthetic fibers, forming the foundation for blue denim fabric. This fabric, in turn, becomes the fabric for eco-conscious fashion brand Outa’s clothing.

These two individuals are part of a group of about 15 informal waste collectors, referred to as “barbeshas,” participating in the Kerkennah Plastic Free initiative, supported by the European Union. This program is dedicated to retrieving the 7,000 tons of plastic waste that accumulate on the Kerkennah Islands’ beaches each year, located around 20 kilometers off the coast of Sfax.

Overseeing this EU-backed project is Jean-Paul Pelissier, from the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies. “We have an exciting environment in terms of nature and calm, ideal for green tourism, with migratory birds and posidonia meadows,” he explained to the AFP. “But there’s one thing you never see in the pictures – the plastic.”


Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Une publication partagée par Jean-Noel Vergnes (@jeannoelvergnes)


An environmental risk turned into an economic opportunity

Driven by marine currents from Europe, plastic debris makes its way into the Gulf of Gabes and ultimately washes up on the shores, waiting to be collected by the barbeshas. These collectors then sort and deliver their daily haul to a processing facility, where it is further sorted, compacted, and eventually crushed.

In the coastal town of Ksar Hellal, the Sitex plant utilizes Seaqual Yarn to produce denim. Sitex, a renowned denim expert, has previously supplied brands like Hugo Boss, Zara, and Diesel. Anis Montacer, the founder of Outa, has partnered with Sitex for its ecologically aware practices. “We worked together to determine the proper yarn strength and the right indigo dye,” he told AFP. The Tunisian entrepreneur managed to partner with renowned French designer Maud Beneteau to create Outa’s first haute couture collection.

Every step, from transforming denim in Ksar Hellal to the tailoring done by Tunisian seamstresses, takes place in the country. While production costs are 20% higher due to the inclusion of marine plastic, Montacer is confident that this approach will inspire other designers to create environmentally responsible collections.

See also

Egypt mobilizes against plastic waste

Published on 7 August 2023