The future materials
The fashion industry, which is one of the most polluting on the planet, has to rethink the future of its materials to avoid increasing the adverse effect on our ecosystem. Traditional materials like cotton, silk or wool have certain limited production, so it’s been a while since scientific and researchers are looking for other sustainable alternatives. Besides, it is important to find out if the T-shirt you are wearing is certified organic cotton with the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) label. This means that the manufacturing process doesn’t use toxic fertilisers or pesticides which are harmful for our environment, including the workers. The most important thing is to start avoiding fibres like polyesters and acrylic, that even though are the cheapest ones in regards to production, their microfibres will remain in our oceans forever.
Lately, there are companies that have opted for innovation in this sector and have created materials from natural and organic materials like: Piñatex ene of the most famous fruit-based vegan leathers on the market or Orange Fiber aims to rescue some of the 700,000 tons of orange peel that are discarded to create juice in Italy every year and transform it into a soft and silky fabric, ideal for clothes.
New companies have added to this market offering materials as surprising for textile manufacturing as potato waste like Chip[s] Board, they make a range of materials from potato waste suitable for the interiors and fashion markets. Circular systems won the H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award, 2018. They create material from crop residue caused by the farming of hemp, flax, pineapples, bananas and sugar cane. Circular SystemsTexloop is a recycled product made from pre- and post-consumer waste, industrial waste, staple fiber and filament fiber.
“We’re at this juncture where the fashion industry has finally recognised that it’s critical not just to habitat and the human species but to the survival of the industry to achieve resource efficiency,”Isaac Nichelson, CEO and co-founder
Something even more surprising is Qmonos, create a synthetic spider silk, it has recently been developed through the fusion of spider silk genes and microbes. The company processes the protein as a dry powder from which threads are manufactured by extruding the powder through thin, hollow needles. Singtex created synthetic yarns from coffee beans through their sub brand S.Café in 2008, “technology does not just use recycled coffee grounds as a yarn material. The patented process also extracts highly concentrated coffee essence that can be applied to textiles or cosmetics to make effective use of all waste produced from drinking coffee.“
It seems that circular materials are being introduced strongly not just in the fashion market but also in the area of construction. These new materials made from renewable resources like agricultural waste, sugarcane or corn, generally produce less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional plastics. So, hopefully this will lead to a plastic free future, but it is a long run that not us as consumers need to work on, but also companies need to compromise in this change.