Columnist Suzi Christoffersen is founder and owner of Closed Loop, a consultancy company guiding and supporting fashion companies in the implementation of sustainable development strategies. One of Closed Loop’s main focuses is textiles and the company recently took over The Fabric Source, a sustainable textile library.
Today we have natural, synthetic and man-made materials. Natural materials like conventional/non-organic cotton requires a lot of water, land and chemicals. Synthetics come from crude oil which is a non-renewable resource. Man-made materials like viscose can be very harmful to the environment. Look for these materials instead:
- Natural fabrics: Go for certified organic cotton, silk, wool, hemp, linen, etc.
- Synthetic fabrics: Go for recycled nylon and polyester.
- Man-made fabrics: Go for Lyocell like Tencel ® and Modal.
New materials are on the way. We see two interesting areas where materials are being developed. 1.) Materials engineered in the lab. For example, Modern Meadow grows bio-leather (animal-free). Stella McCartney has used an animal-free silk fabric made through fermentation with yeast, sugar and water. 2.) Materials from food waste. For example, peels from the orange juice industry in Italy are turned into beautiful fabrics. Leftovers from wine and apple juice production can now be turned into a bio-leather too. So, you can have your glass of wine with a good conscience!
No matter which direction you go, it’s all about minimizing the resources we’re using.