Recycled Chipotle Napkins May Be The Next Fashion Statement

In this world of highly disposable fashion, it stands to reason that someone should invent a garment made from upcycled materials.

Forbes reported that back "in 1930, the average American woman owned nine outfits." Today, she has more than three times that number. Since the '80s, the emergence of what is known as "fast fashion" has meant that people have easy access to cheap, mass-produced clothing from chain stores. The result today is masses of discarded clothing that has been worn an average of seven times (via The Wall Street Journal).

Back in 2010, French artist Christian Boltanski created an art installation in New York titled "No Man's Land." It featured 30 tons of trashed clothing heaped in a pile. While the clothing was meant to be a symbolic representation of bodies in life and death, the display was an eye-opener at the waste created by the bulk fashion industry.

While clothing made from Chipotle napkins may not be the answer to this environmental issue in the long run, it certainly might give people some ideas about the future of fashion.  

Say hello to Chipotle napkin pants

Chipotle posted an image of its new napkin cargo pants on Instagram, explaining that they were made by sustainable fashion designer Nicole McLaughlin, known for her upcycling approach — or turning old objects into new, wearable pieces. "Please don't wipe your hands on these," the chain wrote in the caption. The pants have a drawstring waist and are composed of sewn-together Chipotle napkins, and they have a detachable lower half so they can be unzipped and worn as shorts.

Instagrammers seemed both intrigued and confused about the pants (namely, about how McLaughlin made the napkins durable enough to serve as fabric). One user joked that they already have a "deconstructed pair" of these in their glove box, while most commenters complimented McLaughlin's "sick" idea. The design was actually inspired by internet culture, as QSR Magazine points out that "Napkin Shorts" was born as a meme last year on Chipotle's social media. Later, they became a sought-after virtual item on the Roblox "Chipotle Burrito Builder" game. Unfortunately for the commenter who dreamily said that their "hands would always be so clean" when wearing the pants, it doesn't look like they will be available for purchase any time soon.