Cyrill Gutsch (Photo taken from Parley TV’s Instagram)


The Fashion Awards 2018, by the British Fashion Council and in partnership with Swarovski, saw Cyrill Gutsch, Founder of Parley For The Oceans, awarded with the Special Recognition Award For Innovation. The award was bestowed for Parley For The Oceans’ commitment to highlighting the devastating effects of plastic on our environment and through collaborations, working with designers to reinvent the way in which products can be made and designed in order to turn a global problem into an opportunity, to protect our oceans.

The Special Recognition Award For Innovation celebrates the contribution of a brand or an individual to the fashion industry using innovative materials, production techniques, manufacturing or store practices that help raise awareness of environmental issues. The recipient is invested as a responsible and authentic entity, constantly pushing the boundaries to allow change. Their deeply rooted commitment to ethical and environmental values allows the rest of the industry to reflect on the resources it uses and their impact on the environment while pushing to constantly explore innovative ways to become more sustainable throughout the product cycle. The inaugural recipient of the Award was Stella McCartney in 2017.

Parley For The Oceans is a new form of environmental organisation and global collaboration network. Founded in 2012 by Cyrill Gutsch, Parley aims to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of the oceans, and to inspire and empower diverse groups such as pacesetting companies, brands, organisations, governments, artists, designers, scientists and environmentalists in the exploration of new ways of creating, thinking and living on our finite, blue planet. Parley believes the consumer has the power to create change through everyday choices, but the duty to empower the consumer is in the hands of the creative industries.

The Fashion Awards 2018 (Photo by Tristan Fewings for the British Fashion Council and Getty Images)


Recognising that there are no simple solutions to the complex threat of marine plastic pollution, Parley devised a scalable strategy based on the fact that the oceans generate at least every second breath we take: Parley AIR (Avoid, Intercept, Redesign). With this strategy, Parley is calling for a Material Revolution and driving a wave of change across and through the most influential industries.

Parley’s most well-known fashion collaboration with sportswear label Adidas led to the creation of the first soccer, football and running performance products made with Parley’s Ocean Plastic®, turning threat into thread. World-renowned teams such as Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich made the switch to Ocean Plastic® for their third kits for the 2018/2019 season. As reported by Forbes, the Adidas x Parley partnership earned over $1 billion in revenue, proving Parley’s philosophy that it can be more lucrative to protect the oceans than to destroy them. 

In 2015, Dazed founder Jefferson Hack hosted the Parley Talks, broadcasted live from COP21 in Paris, alongside Cyrill Gutsch, where they discussed the need for immediate action and the importance of collaboration across creative industries to solve these problems with imagination, collaboration and innovation. In 2017, Parley collaborated with British designer Stella McCartney to release footwear made from Ocean Plastic® through the Adidas x Stella McCartney collaboration, as well as a special edition Ocean Legend bag honouring Captain Paul Watson and the work of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to defend the high seas against illegal fishing activity.

In 2018, Parley partnered with Porter Magazine and supermodel Anja Rubik to champion the power of content, commerce and cause with the release of exclusive products made from Ocean Plastic®, and an issue of Porter Magazine made in tribute to our life support system. The aim of the project was to shine a light on the beauty and fragility of the oceans, and invite the fashion industry and luxury brands to collaborate. Following the shoot with Mario Sorrenti in the Maldives, the fashion crew and Parley collaborators along with local families participated in a beach clean-up.

The use of Ocean Plastic® by Parley has put marine plastic pollution, as well as recycling, into the global spotlight. But the strength of Parley lies in its longer-term vision and strategy for a future beyond plastics and other harmful materials — and in the unity of its network, all working to bring that vision into reality.