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  • Nick Sullivan

Tom Ford Just Found a Way to Make Plastic Feel Luxurious

The designer's new 002 Ocean Plastic watch is made with 35 bottles' worth of recycled plastic

Plastic is definitely not the first material that leaps to mind when you think about Tom Ford. The designer’s eponymous collection has created for itself a reputation for unimpeachable luxury (in the best old-school sense of the word) and only the very best fabrics money can buy since he launched it in 2005. Yet last week, the designer rolled out a new watch made almost entirely from plastic. It’s not just any plastic.

As printed prominently on the matte black dial, the Tom Ford 002 watch is made from 35 bottles’ worth of recycled ocean plastic. It’s certainly a departure, and it’s a clear indication that sustainability is a growing issue for fashion makers on whichever end of the fashion scale they may live. But for Ford, it’s far from a feel-good gimmick.

The man himself, wearing the 002 Ocean Plastic watch.

Said Ford in a statement, “The Tom Ford customer is accustomed to a very high quality and luxury product. And in my opinion, ethical luxury is THE greatest luxury of all. To know that you are not only wearing a high-quality product, but by simply owning the product you are also taking direct action to improve the planet is incredibly appealing.”

The 002 Ocean Plastic watch is 40mm in diameter, with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal and a Swiss quartz movement. The case and paracord braided strap are both made from the recycled ocean plastic. Only the case back, crown and buckle (where extra robustness is required) are made of steel and given a semi matte DLC (diamond-like carbon) black treatment. All packaging is made from recycled ocean plastic or recycled paper.

Arguably the biggest sustainability problem facing the fashion industry now is over-production and over-consumption. And it is not at Ford’s level. Ford’s clothing is expensive and designed to look good for years, provided you look after it. Fashion’s big looming issue lies, in fact, at the cheaper, faster, disposable end of the fashion spectrum, where this week’s fashion has the longevity of the plastic bag it came in.

Speaking of which, significantly, alongside the launch of the 002 Ocean Plastic Watch, Ford announced the creation of a prize totaling $1 million for projects that can create, by 2025, a viable and scalable replacement for the thin plastic film from which disposable plastic bags are made. Recycling existing plastics in the ocean is only a partial solution to a global problem, and while 1,000 of Tom Ford’s new watches remove as much as 490 pounds of waste from the ocean, drastically reducing the amount that goes into it in the first place is paramount.


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