Alumni Stories - In Focus

Spark of Alumni Duo Tyson Toussant '95 and Tim Coombs '96 Shines Brightly During Fashion Week
Spark of Alumni Duo Tyson Toussant '95 and Tim Coombs '96 Shines Brightly During Fashion Week

New York City was abuzz last week, as designers, models, and paparazzi convened for Fashion Week 2014. Amid the excitement and headlines, one story stands out to us: Dwight alumni Tyson Toussant '95 and Tim Coombs '96, who teamed up with Grammy-Award artist Pharrell Williams a few years back to launch Return Textiles, presented their spring-summer 2015 collection.

Return Textiles, which makes BIONIC® yarn ― an eco-friendly fabric made of recycled plastic bottles ― showcased their designs in collaboration with G-Star, which makes denim from this material. The venue was 23 Wall Street, where the atmosphere was dark and simulated an underwater feeling, underscoring the message that many plastic bottles are tossed carelessly into our oceans. The music echoed this theme, as Frank Ocean and Jay Z's song "Oceans" played in the background. The eco-friendly collection sparked great reactions!

We had a pleasure of interviewing this dynamic duo in 2011, when they shared the story behind BIONIC® yarn. Tyson and Tim had already founded Endstar, an outdoor gear company offering high-performance apparel for adventure-seekers and sports enthusiasts, when they discovered that fabrics made from recycled products presented structural and quality-control limitations for their use. As "necessity is often the mother of invention," the team overcame the challenge by developing an alternative ― Bionic® Yarn ― which eventually led to the birth of Return Textiles.

When we asked about their plans for the future, Tyson and Tim had said, "We hope to expand our involvement into the actual collection and processing of recycled bottles, and engage the educational and municipal recycling community in what we are doing." Fast forward three years to Fashion Week 2014: their hopes have been realized. We are so proud to see their eco-friendly fashion spark of genius shine so brightly and extend our congratulations!