Although it’s sometimes controversial and often contradictory, sustainability is a key aspect of fashion and textile evolution today. Many companies, brands and start-ups are launching new state-of-the-art projects and products–whether they are new bio-fibers, upcycled innovative lines or biodesign products. We cover some of most innovative eco-friendly projects, although more in-depth, along with comprehensive and critical stories in our newest print edition “The Sustainable Issue” appearing today.
Fashion loves ecology–tell us if you love it too!
Innovation is everywhere
Biodegradable glitter, fabrics made from seaweed and kapok are among the newest projects supported by global innovation platform Fashion for Good-Plug and Play Accelerator.
Algiknit, for instance, produces textile fibers extruded from kelp, a variety of seaweed. The extruded biopolymer can be knitted or 3D printed to minimize waste. The final knitwear is biodegradable and can be dyed with natural pigments in a closed loop cycle.
BioGlitz produces a biodegradable glitter material. It is based upon a unique biodegradable formula made from eucalyptus tree extract. This eco-glitter is fully biodegradable, compostable and avoids causing the environmental damage associated with microplastics.
Flocus produces natural yarns, fillings and fabrics made from kapok fibers. The kapok tree can be naturally grown without the use of pesticides and insecticides in arid soil not suitable for agricultural farming. It offers a sustainable alternative to high water consumption natural fiber crops such as cotton.
Puma bets on biodesign
Puma and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Design Lab are involved in a project that will be disclosed during an exhibition to be held at Superstudio, Milan, during Milan Design Week from April 16-22, 2018. They have been conducting a research in the field of biodesign since June 2017 and have been experimenting how to use living materials such as algae or bacteria to create products that, while being eco-friendly, can help athletes performing better. This way it is possible to create a football jersey made from the silk of a spider or a shoebox grown from mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms.
The exhibition in Milan will focus on how the next generation of athletic footwear, apparel and wearables can adapt in real-time by using living organisms to enhance performance. The exhibition will show four experiments: a Breathing Shoe, a Deep Learning Insole, Carbon Eaters and Adaptive Packaging. The biologically active Breathing Shoe enables personalized ventilation by growing its own air passageways that keep the foot cool. The next-generation Deep Learning Insoles improve the athlete’s performance through real-time biofeedback. The sole uses organisms to measure long- and short-term chemical phenomena that indicate fatigue and well-being. The microbially active T-shirt responds to environmental factors by changing its appearance and informing the user about air quality. It carries Eaters, rounded shapes in the form of self-adhesive silicon-cast stickers that are bonded to the shirt. Users can customize their T-shirt designs with different colors while learning about the quality of the air around them. As the users perform their daily run, the organisms begin to change color from dark yellow-brown to bright purple. More carbon dioxide absorption causes more purple, indicating poorer air quality.
Ebarrito is an Italian leather accessory brand made by employing industry leftover leather pieces. The pieces are re-employed according to the patchwork technique into new items all different from each other for new interesting products as the Mr. Tambourine sneaker model launched for s/s 2018.
Italian start-up company has launched its made in Italy Repair T-shirt unisex model. This T-shirt incorporates a special insert made with “The Breath,” a patented and ISO, ANSI /AHAM AC – 1- 2002 certified material that can absorb polluting substances, bacteria and bad smells.
The Chemours Company, a global chemistry company, has recently launched Teflon EcoElite, the first-ever plant based non-fluorinated water repellant fabric treatment. It is up to three times more durable than existing non-fluorinated water repellent finishes and it performs after 30 or more washes. It was also named the third-place winner of the 2018 Bio-Based Product of Year by the Bio-Based World News Innovation Awards.
More eco-fashion examples can be read in Sportswear International #284 “The Sustainable Issue.”