Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What is the future for Sustainable Materials in Fashion?

 What are the sustainable alternatives to conventional cotton? Photograph: Phil Coale/AP
For an industry that revolves around seasons, two fibres are popular all year round. The first is cotton, a natural fibre with links to forced labour that is as thirsty as it is in demand, taking up to 2,700 litres of water to make one shirt. The second is polyester, a key driver of the man made fibre market, that depends on now-declining reserves of oil and gas.

The increasingly obvious environmental impacts of both are leading entrepreneurs, designers and businesses to look to more sustainable alternatives like organic cotton and recycled polyester, but some are venturing even further out of the box.

Erin Smith, an artist focused on biomaterials, grew her own wedding dress, while fruits that feature in your five a day are also creeping into fashion, along with soy foods, salmon and sleeping bags.

However, can sustainable innovations in material really rival the commercial viability and performance of current materials in the market, and can consumers be persuaded that sustainable materials aren’t just beige and scratchy?

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