New Sustainable Fabric

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Long before Carmen Hijosa developed a new sustainable fabric-a fabric that looks and feels like leather but comes from pineapple leaves-a business trip changed her life.
In 1993, as a textile design consultant for the World Bank, Hijosa began to visit leather tannery in the Philippines. She knows the hazards of leather-the resources needed to raise and slaughter cattle, and the toxic chemicals used in tanneries can endanger workers and contaminate land and waterways. What she didn’t expect was the smell.
“It was very shocking,” Hijosa recalled. She has worked in a leather manufacturer for 15 years, but has never seen such harsh working conditions. “I suddenly realized, my goodness, this really meant it.”
She wants to know how she can continue to support the fashion industry that is so destructive to the planet. Therefore, she quit her job without a plan—just a lasting feeling that she must be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
She is not alone. Hijosa is one of a growing number of solution seekers who change the clothes we wear by providing a series of new materials and textiles. We are not just talking about organic cotton and recycled fibers. They are helpful but not enough. Luxury brands are testing more innovative materials that are less wasteful, better dressed, and may significantly improve the social and environmental impact of the industry.
Due to concerns about high-demand textiles, Alt-fabric research is very hot today. In addition to the toxic chemicals in leather production, cotton also requires a lot of land and pesticides; it has been found that polyester-derived from petroleum can shed tiny plastic microfibers during washing, pollute waterways and enter the food chain.
So what alternatives look promising? Consider these, they seem more appropriate in your shopping cart than in your closet.
Hijosa was twisting a pineapple leaf with her fingers when she realized that the long fibers (used in Filipino ceremonial clothing) in the leaf could be used to make durable, soft mesh with a leather-like top layer. In 2016, she founded Ananas Anam, the manufacturer of Piñatex, also known as “Pineapple Peel”, which reuses waste from the pineapple harvest. Since then, Chanel, Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, H&M and Nike have all used Piñatex.
Mycelium, an underground thread-like filament that produces mushrooms, can also be made into leather-like materials. Mylo is a promising “mushroom leather” produced by California start-up Bolt Threads, which made its debut this year in the Stella McCartney (corset and pants), Adidas (Stan Smith sneakers) and Lululemon (yoga mat) collections. Expect more in 2022.
Traditional silk comes from silkworms that are usually killed. Rose petal silk comes from waste petals. BITE Studios, an emerging brand located in London and Stockholm, uses this fabric for dresses and pieces in its 2021 spring collection.
Java rejuvenators include Finnish brand Rens Originals (providing fashionable sneakers with coffee uppers), Keen footwear (soles and footbeds) from Oregon, and Taiwanese textile company Singtex (yarn for sports equipment, which is reported to have natural Deodorant properties and UV protection).
Grapes This year, leather made by the Italian company Vegea using grape waste (remaining stems, seeds, skins) from Italian wineries (leftover stems, seeds, and skins) appeared on H&M boots and environmentally-friendly Pangaia sneakers.
Stinging Nettles At London Fashion Week 2019, British brand Vin + Omi showed dresses made from nettles harvested and spun into yarn from Prince Charles’ Highgrove Estate. Pangaia currently uses nettle and other fast-growing plants (eucalyptus, bamboo, seaweed) in its new PlntFiber series of hoodies, T-shirts, sweatpants and shorts.
Musa fiber made from banana leaves is waterproof and tear-resistant and has been used in H&M sneakers. Pangaia’s FrutFiber series of T-shirts, shorts and dresses use fibers derived from banana, pineapple and bamboo.
Valerie Steele, curator of the Museum of the Institute of Fashion Technology in New York, said: “These materials have been promoted for ecological reasons, but this is not the same as attracting the actual improvement in people’s daily lives.” She pointed out 1940. The dramatic changes in fashion in the 1950s and 1950s, when shoppers turned to a new fiber called polyester due to advertisements promoting the practical benefits of polyester. “Saving the world is commendable, but it’s hard to understand,” she said.
Dan Widmaier, co-founder of Mylo maker Bolt Threads, points out that the good news is that sustainability and climate change are no longer theoretical.
“It’s shocking that there are so many things that make you say’this is true’ in front of your face,” he said, sketching with his fingers: tornadoes, droughts, food shortages, wildfire seasons. He believes that shoppers will begin to ask brands to be aware of this thought-provoking reality. “Every brand is reading consumer needs and providing it. If they don’t, they will go bankrupt.”
Long before Carmen Hijosa developed a new sustainable fabric-a fabric that looks and feels like leather but comes from pineapple leaves-a business trip changed her life.
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Post time: Dec-15-2021