Magic fibres - Sustainable Fashion materials
- BY: TEREZA BERKEMEIER
- Aug. 4, 2018
It is no secret ‘fast fashion’ has seen clothing production double in the last thirty years at an alarming rate and as a result textile and fashion waste has increased. This and many other complexities of fast fashion production has seen an urgent need to move from a linear economy of take, make and dispose towards a circular economy that delivers better economic, societal and environmental incomes. To date the issues of fashion waste and its impact is no longer about environmentalism or activism its too far down the track for this. There needs to be ideas around innovation and creativity to create change and towards the health of our environment.
One of the most exciting and innovative ways is the research and creation of new fibres for materials and textiles for clothing. We take a look at some of these materials that have been created as fabric alternatives that local and international brands are using.
Salvatore Ferragamo was the first fashion house to have exclusive use of Orange Fiber products. Orange Fiber have produced a patent material from citrus juice by-products repurposing them to create silk-like cellulose yarn. Orange Fiber is an Italian company founded in 2014 by Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena that creates sustainable textiles for the fashion industry from citrus juice by-products. Santanocito came up with the idea of using what remains after squeezing oranges for juice, which amounts to more than 700,000 tons of by-product in Italy alone. What are the practical benefits of Orange Fiber? It is silky, drapes well and very light.
An Austrian brand own a type of material made from Lyocell, originally developed in the US. Lyocell is a form of rayon, it consists of cellulose fibre, which is made by dissolving wood pulp from certain trees and using a special drying process called spinning. The wood chips are mixed with a solvent to produce a wet mixture then pushed through holes to form thread. The thread is then chemically treated, spun into yarn and woven into cloth. Lyocell fabrics are also used the in the beauty industry as the soft absorbent qualities which make face masks and wipes. TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres are derived from sustainable wood sources – natural forests and sustainably managed plantations. Wood and pulp used by the Lenzing Group is harvested from certified and controlled sources.
Grown without pesticides it uses 80% less water than cotton. Two of the most popular types of Lyocell are made from eucalyptus trees and also bamboo. Tasi Travels is an Australian brand that successfully uses Tencel made from Eucalyptus trees. Soft, breathable, beautiful designs that are made to order help towards a zero-waste approach to clothing production. What are the practical benefits of Tencel. It dries easily and also does not wrinkle which enables the wearer to be able to travel with less. Check out www.tasitravels.com.au.
Image Source: Tasi Travels
Despite what people think Cork as a material will not crack or crumble. Unlike leather there is no heavy chemical processing involved in cork made products and is a great leather alternative. Some of the advantages of cork is that it’s extremely light with 50% if its volume being air. It is water resistant with the suberin covering which is present in the cell walls virtually impermeable to liquids and gases. Unlike leather, cork fabric is 100% natural, vegan, water repellent, stain resistant and scratch proof. Most of all its low maintenance, long lasting for years to come. Sunshine Coast brand Eco Luxe who sell their wares not only online but at the famous Eurmundi markets create luxury handbags made from cork fabric which is PETA approved. What are the practical benefits of fashion cork? It is extremely light but sturdy, stain resistant and scratch proof. See their products on their website - https://www.ecoluxeaus.com.au/shop
Piñatex® is an amazing innovative textile created by London company Ananas Anam made from the fibres of pineapple leaves and a sustainable, ethical non-woven alternative to leather. Pineapple leaves are stripped down into fine fibres. They go through a process called decortication and converted into a mesh like material with the final result being Piñatex®. Made in Sydney, Ahimsa Collective are fashioning the most beautiful handbags and clutches. Have a look at their products on www.theahimsacollective.com.
Image Source: AC
What are the Practical Benefits of Piñatex®? It is strong, durable, light and breathable.
Stella McCartney partnered with UK based Bolt Threads to create Mylo Falabella Protoype a handbag made from Mylo™ a leather alternative containing Mycelium which is the root structure of a mushroom. Made up from billions of tiny branching cells it holds a forest floor together and acts as natures recycling system by releasing enzymes that break down natural materials. Mylo™ can be produced in days rather than years. It is a very new material and only Stella McCartney’s partnership with Bolt Threads have created the Falabella bag. What are the practical benefits of Mylo™? It is strong and abrasion resistant.
A global fashion crisis has also been the soil for innovation towards creating better materials and fibres is evolving. A circular economy of recycle, reuse and re-purpose is becoming more and more possible and hopefully the norm.