Biocouture jackets made of cellulose material. Image taken from nextnature.net
The environment around us is changing and fashion has to respond this in several resourceful ways. The textile world is one of the most polluted ones, part of this harm is due to the cotton crops and the synthetic fibre production and on the other side, the methods used to die and finish the production are also highly contaminating. In spite of this, consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of a better consumption and they care about the materials and production of their clothes.
In the last years, there has been an increasing number of different materials to create clothes. Fabric created out of plastic bottles, food, rubber and even greener alternatives to leather. There is a very interesting project lead by Suzanne Lee a fashion designer and Creative Director of Modern Meadow Inc, “an innovative New York-based team of scientists, engineers, designers and artisans developing cultured animal products and exploring new ways to create sustainable animal materials, such as lab-grown leather.”
This leather grows from a bacteria and according to Suzanne “the most interesting person I spoke with was a biologist. He posited that rather than using a plant like cotton in a field to grow a fiber, you could use a microbe to synthesize cellulose and ultimately grow a garment in a vat of liquid.” I personally think that this could be one of the biggest invents of this century if governments and fashion industry invest money and time on it
Ecolaf is a Spanish company that creates clothes from recycled plastic bottles and other waste materials found in the dee sea. Their idea was to create a fashion campaign completely sustainable without using any natural resource. According to them, nowadays we are using 5 times more natural resources that the planet is able to generate. These are very scary news..Something that we should keep in mind when we go to shop indiscriminately. Besides recycled bottles they use regenerated cotton, fishing nets, used tyres, recycled wood and coffee grounds.
They are part of this worldwide campaign called UPCYCLING THE OCEANS, where they help to clean the ocean with the help of the fishermen. A unique and pioneering project whose final objective is to transform the plastic from the ocean into threat to make fabric.
Image taken from Ecolaf.com
There is another company called Orange Fiber that they create textiles from citrus waste. From a Thesis in Fashion Design, to a start up team to ended up winning the Global Change Awards by H&M Conscious foundation. This project was one of the most innovative ones of the past years. Who could imagine that we could create fibres from orange and lemon waste? Not just biodegradable but also very sustainable. They create and produce the fibre, sometimes blended with silk that will sell to companies in order to create a garment.
Idunn is a Spanish brand that creates bags made from skin fish. The use a process of tanned is vegetal, without the use of chrome. According to them “The tanned skins of vegetal way do not carry chromium in their process, the tanning is done with vegetal tannins, this makes that the skin can vary their tonality with the time, characteristic of this type of tanning.” The fish skin is high quality from fish that are caught for food production, the process followed for tanning and tinting respects the environment and the water. They use also organic cotton and one of their latest projects is the use of coffee bags to create new and stylish bags.
Image taken from Idunn bags site.
There are many possibilities in order to create new sustainable and innovative textiles in fashion, the most important thing is to re-use and reduce. Most of these new materials are partly created with waste or leftovers, as we all know we are producing more waste than the world can actually handle. The Global Organic Textile Standard is a fibre certification program developed by standard setters in order to define internationally recognized requirements. “Organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling in order to provide credible assurance to the consumer.”
This is the present/ future of fashion, new materials, new techniques to work with them in the best sustainable way. I hope you keep these names in mind and if you know some other brands or companies that are doing similar things, I would love to know! Have a wonderful day!