Do you know how polluting the fashion industry is? It’s only second to oil, second!!! Luckily, there are lots of very clever people developing innovative materials. At Annabel Giraud-Telme we strive to work with sustainable materials and reduce our environmental impact, but the material used to create our clothes is one of the key issues that need addressing. If you take cotton for instance, even if you buy organic, it still uses up 2000 litres of water to produce one t-shirt. That’s a lot of water! So, one solution is to create synthetic fibres to prevent us having to use natural materials. As keeping up with the quick sand of innovation is no easy feat, we have made a round up our top ten innovative materials. So here’s the first five, watch out for the next five, coming soon!
1. 3D Printing
This fascinating technology has unbelievable amounts of potential within the fashion industry. Iris Van Herpen has been one of the only designers to consistently use 3D printing in her collections, others have dabbled, albeit, not quite as successfully. On a recent visit to a 3D printing studio nearby, we got to see in action a machine that uses Poly-lactic Acid (PLA) to print products. What’s so amazing about this material is that it’s completely biodegradable as well as being made from renewable resources. (Side note – keep your eyes peeled for 3D printing in the next collection!) Only time will tell whether this incredibly innovative material will hold steady in the fashion industry.
Photo Credit: Mode Arte
Fun fact: did you know that during World War I and II, when cotton could not be sourced, nettles were used as a substitute? Researchers on the Grado Zero Espace team have been looking into nettle properties and have concluded that nettle fibres are amazing; because they are hollow which means that air gets trapped inside and acts as an insulator, but also as they thrive off of over fertilised soil. If this could not be enough reason to start using this as an alternative to cotton, nettles are also resistant to disease so they don’t need pesticides!
3. Silk and Spiders
At the end of last year Adidas announced their new biodegradable trainers made from synthetic silk, and in December 2015 North Face revealed their ‘Moon Parker’ spun from synthetic spider’s silk. Is this the beginning of a revolution? There are actually several companies already developing in the field of silk alternatives; AMSilk, Bolt Thread and Sbiper. Quartz magazine even named synthetic silk as the biggest breakthrough in clothing since the discovery of Nylon. Bolt Threads have announced a partnershipwith Patagonia and AMSilk produced the Adidas trainer so watch this space!
www.amsilk.com & www.boltthreads.com
Photo Credit: Bolt Threads
4. Mushrooms and Muskin
Increasingly in our world today, the desire for alternative materials to animal products is heating up the amazing Grado Zero team are also looking for leather alternatives. The very clever research and development brains have transformed mushrooms into a material called Muskin. It’s described as being similar to suede and is water resistant, breathable, chemical free and biodegradable. What more could you want? It is said to be perfect for making bags and shoes, but we are yet to see it used in fashion. We hope this changes soon!
5. Rethink Fabric and rPet Plastic
We all know that plastic has become a prolific problem in our generation. Unable to degrade, harmful and polluting, it is a material with a very bad name. But this is changing! Rethink Fabrics are just one company recycling rPet plastic waste and turn it into everyday clothing, whilst our friends at GRN are using it for their sportswear!
Photo Credit: Rethink Fabrics