Today the fashion industry is venturing into new fields of discovery from material innovation to 3D printed creations. A key ingredient that could shift the industry towards a more sustainable path is the creation of new materials and innovation implementation.
When trying to purchase sustainably it is important to understand what are some basic materials on the market and how sustainable are they? There are two main categories of fibers on the market: Natural, regenerated and synthetic.
Synthetic Fibers: Acrylic, Polyester, Nylon, and Elastane
3D printing is releasing a whole new wave of garment creation and textile innovation! 3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many thin layers of a material in an order of succession. At this point 3D prints are able to create anything from toys, textiles and to even houses. From a traditional perspective, sustainable fashion has been leading for a while towards organic materials, fair trade and natural dyes, but why not also include technology? Since the fashion industry is so water intensive and waste creative especially during the production process, 3D printing could be the savior to our problems! Unlike the traditional pattern of textile creation, to cut and eventually sew, 3D printing is exactly what it is, a printer.
3D printing eliminates the creation of waste in the production process because it only created what needs to be made as it produces a product layer by layer. By using a 3D printer machine as well, the fashion designer truly has the power in their hands. No longer do you need to wait for a shipment of materials to arrive, instead you can create your own. Although the technology is in the early stages, who knows what this new innovation could mean for the industry!
Polyester Recycled from Plastic Bottles
Why Buy Eco-fi?
Eco-fi is a material made in the USA that is recycled polyester which is created from existing plastic bottles. On their website they state that
“We have the capacity to keep billions of plastic PET bottles out of the world’s landfills each year by using post-consumer plastic bottles instead of virgin materials in the fiber manufacturing process.”
Just like first cycle polyester, it holds the same material quality in regards to softness, strength, colorfastness and it is sustainable! This new innovation to technology is already hitting the market in vast numbers and is being used by brands such as Patagonia and more! To create such a material the process starts with a plastic bottle, which is then ripped into small pieces. After this step the flakes are melted and extruded to create fiber, eventually leading to the formation of a new textile.
Plastic Bottles Waste made into Textiles
This new innovative process could be the future for plastic and fashion to become 100% circular. Of course both industries have a way to go, but the future is bring and material circularity is an incredible venture happening in the present and making way for the future!
Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue in the leather industry. Some of the reasons why this has become such a new strong material trend within the industry is due to a need to limit carbon emission, animal welfare and the interest to discover new material power!
In general animal welfare:
Animals are used for a variety of products for the fashion industry from fur and leather to wool, cashmere, angora, silk, to down and feathers. Animal treatment is a widely discussed issue in the public sphere. No animal deserves to live in miserable conditions, subject to pain and suffering.
If you are not vegetarian or vegan, there are ways of using animal products for fashion with respect for the welfare of the animal. Avoiding industrial animal farming is a good start but doesn’t always guarantee animal welfare. There are also routes for sourcing animal skins and feathers as a bi-product of the meat industry rather than farmed for fashion – should you opt to use animal products.
For example, rather than being dumped back into the sea, fish skins can be used to make leather and is a good alternative to using exotic skins like snake and crocodile. You might look for fur that has been produced from roadkill or naturally shredded feathers as opposed to live-plucked.
What many are not aware of is that actually cows are a huge producer of CO2 emissions. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) agriculture is responsible for 18% of the total release of greenhouse gases world-wide. Cattle-breeding is taking a major factor for these greenhouse gas emissions according to FAO. If we could shift towards other leather supplements for the fashion industry we could drastically reduce CO2 emissions through new and interesting materials. To help move this forward, we are displaying some eco friendly vegan leathers we have discovered that you can wear today instead and minimize CO2.
Pinatex is an innovative natural textile made from pineapple leaf ﬁbre. The leaves are the byproduct of existing agriculture, and their use creates an additional income stream for farming communities. Piñatex® is a natural, sustainably-sourced, cruelty free material. They state that their policy is: “Our inspiration is the *Cradle to Cradle® approach, which supports ecological, intelligent and innovative design policies within today’s economic environment”. Currently, they are working with farmers in the Philippines and are excited to work with other pineapple growing countries, supporting local economies and strengthening exports.
“Tanning is a complicated process, involving approximately 20 stages and 250 chemicals (including toxins and heavy metals such as hexavelent chromium, aldehyde, cyanide, zinc and lead) to halt decomposition, which are extremely damaging to both people and the environment. Synthetic alternatives such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) are not the solution, as these are ecologically toxic to both produce and dispose of. Piñatex® addresses these issues as a sustainably sourced textile, made from a natural waste product, created low water use and low production waste, containing no harmful chemicals or animal products”.
Long used as a water-resistant, organic material in floor tiling, cork is widely regarded as being one of the most ecologically friendly materials around. Best known for being used to bottle wine it also has the power to look very modern and innovative.
With a smooth and soft texture, It’s easily recycled, completely natural, and using Cork Oak can help prevent desertification and deforestation.
Most of the cork suppliers are based in Portugal. Actually, the half of global cork comes from there. Since the harvested cork oak trees absorb 3-5 times more carbon dioxide than the unharvested ones, the usage of cork leather helps with cleaning the polluted air. Also it is a much stronger alternative then PVC leather materials since it comes from natural trees and materials.
I-D Groups also believes in the future of fashion and innovative material! The future in fashion is bringing amazing breakthroughs that will fascinate our minds!