Recently, people began to think about the environmental friendliness of the production of known fabrics, but also started to create new high-tech fibers. Here is a list of some inspiring new fabrics that reaffirm what it really means to be sustainable.
TENCEL® is a light cellulose fabric, which means it is created by dissolving wood pulp. The fibre is produced by Austrian company Lenzing AG.
It’s been growing in popularity recently, as is said to be 50% more absorbent than cotton, and requires less energy and water to produce. Plus, the chemicals used to produce the fibre are managed in a closed-loop system. This means the solvent is recycled which reduces dangerous waste.
In addition to this, Tencel has moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial properties, which makes it perfect for activewear!
Piñatex is a material made from pineapple leaf fibre, manufactured by Ananas Anam, and was featured in Vogue in 2017!
Not only is it a cruelty-free replacement for leather, it is also natural and sustainable. As Piñatex is made from a food byproduct, it reduces waste and helps the farming communities that grow the fruit!
Another good recycled fabric is Econyl. This fibre, created by Italian firm Aquafil, uses synthetic waste such as industrial plastic, waste fabric, and fishing nets from the ocean, then recycles and regenerates them into a new nylon yarn that is exactly the same quality as nylon.
This regeneration system forms a closed-loop, uses less water, and creates less waste than traditional nylon production methods. Waste is collected, then cleaned and shredded, depolymerised to extract nylon, polymerised, transformed into yarn, and then re-commercialised into textile products. Econyl is a promising fibre, far more sustainable than nylon.
Spiders aren’t just tiny (or, in Australia, huge) and sometimes scary arachnids – they’re also a great source of inspiration for sustainable fashion. In fact, Qmonos, a synthetic spider silk, has recently been developed through the fusion of spider silk genes and microbes. The fibre is said to be five times stronger than steel, the toughest fibre in nature, while being very lightweight, more flexible than nylon, and entirely biodegradable.
No spiders are farmed or harmed in the manufacturing process, making Qmonos a more sustainable and ethical alternative to silk and nylon.
It’s great that new technologies are emerging that aim for the careful use of natural resources. Although these fabrics aren't particularly well known yet, it's great that they are coming into the light more and more.