Discarded food, orange peel, recycled cork and fish skin are some of the few commodities that can now be transformed into clothes. As we embark upon the era of “Eco-Age”, if global warming isn’t scaring you enough, then spilt landfills and annual carbon footprint escalations are reason enough to create a future we all can truly survive in
By: Niyoshi Shah
Posted on: November 13, 2019
Among all the fashion week chaos, waves of lesser-known brands that are charting an all important eco-revolution is gaining momentum globally. Upheaval, innovation and a force to relegate repercussions of years of mindless degradation has become the name of the current fashion game. Intellectuals have raised awareness for the need to adapt bio-degradable raw materials as the stepping stone to this movement. A crusade that can pave a better future for the industry.
Science, Natural Fibre & Slow Fashion
Innovative techniques are being used to substitute environmentally unfavourable raw materials. While coffee ground is combined with recycled polyester to make odour-free athletic gear for Adidas (by Taiwan-based Singtex), Paris-based brand Veja is creating sneakers out of corn husks. Inventive entrepreneurs have designed a unique fabric from natural textiles like pineapple leaf called Pinatex. Developed after over seven years of research by Dr Carmen Hijosa, pinatex ensures that the leaves are the byproduct of existing agriculture, and their use creates an additional income stream for farming communities.
Another eco-responsible brand that has been scratching the surface of this crusade is the yoga-wear brand Vyayama. The brand believes that mindfulness should permeate every aspect of one's life, which is why they offer natural alternatives to synthetic yoga apparel. Every piece in Vyayama's collection is made from Oeko-Tex certified, sustainably sourced, and ethically manufactured natural fiber called TENCEL. It is a distinct type of material derived from the eucalyptus plant, which requires less water and poor soil to grow.
Dutch accessory label Dick Moby paves its way into sustainable eyewear by offering pieces that utilize only recycled plastic and bio-acetate material. Every element of a Dick Moby product is created in strict compliance with environmentally sound manufacturing practices. The eyewear cases, for instance, are created using recycled leather while the cleaning cloths are made from reprocessed PET bottles.
Corozo, also known as Vegan Ivory, used to create buttons, jewellery, and various forms of art, has been brought to the forefront of this movement recently. Pegged as an invention with the goal of preserving the rain forest, it is sourced from the Amazon in Ecuador and is harvested naturally from a native wild palm. It is collected by the local communities that live in the forests, making it an incentive for the people to take care of the forest, making its vegetable origin, a pure, organic, non chemical, vegan product.
From the nature-inspired Pantone’s Color of the Year to the rise of such innovative, technologically advanced products, going green isn’t just for the apparel industry. Several home décor brands have launched exclusive lines to fill the gap for sustainable interiors. California Closets builds “green” spaces using 100% earth friendly material. All of their composite wood doors and drawers are made from recycled or reclaimed wood fiber. They also offer a selection of translucent accents door/drawer inserts designed with nature based material that contain 40 per cent recycled content and can be reclaimed at their end-of-life stage through the supplier.
The Renaissance of Eco-menswear
Designer Alessandro Sartori underscores his environmentalist message with the Ermenegildo Zegna Fall 2019 collection. He presented an array of crinkled, somber suits in a machine-shop palette, much of it was created using industrial offcuts crafted of waste fabrics recycled from the Zegna mills in northern Italy. The repurposed fabrications, which are supported by Zegna’s textile division under the slogan #UseTheExisting, are designed to be repurposable, too.
Another award-winning designer, Christopher Raeburn’s entire approach to fashion is centred around sustainability, with high-ticket items made from recycled materials and others that are simply old garments reconstructed. Raeburn calls it REMADE. It’s an approach that’s seen him celebrated as a revolutionary within the fashion industry.
Tall Orders in Paltry Form
While the challenges can seem insurmountable, a lot has changed over the last few years. Generation X or the “millennials” are aware of the environmental impact of the world we live in. This generation is impatient for change and will not compromise on their ethics – whether that means going vegan, upcycling or swapping clothes instead of buying new ones. While most of us are looking to reduce our personal carbon footprints, the question arises that are we doing enough? Our clothes clearly tell some wildly impressive stories, but the book we wish to write should create a world that can survive the next millennium.