Everyday more and more designers are moving towards sustainability and why not? when our closets are one of the biggest contributors to waste in landfills. We are all guilty of wanting a new wardrobe now and then, but it’s important to consider how much clothing you are eventually going to throw out. On average, Canadians throw away 81 pounds of textiles every year and we’re not even counting the shopaholics. Polyester is a word seen on almost every piece of clothing we own but Polyester is a non-biodegradable fabric meaning it will take up to 20 to 200 years at worst to break down just one article of clothing. Luckily today there are so many possibilities around this issue such as eco-friendly and biodegradable clothing and accessories. This step incorporating sustainable fabrics in our shopping is important as it promotes eco-living and can significantly reduce the amount of waste and pollution in the world. Interested? well, look no further as we break down sustainable fabrics and brands to look out for the next time you go shopping.
No, we’re not talking about the kind you smoke, hemp is the stem of the marijuana plant which is known as one of the most durable and versatile natural fibers. Hemp has more benefits than you’d think. Hemp is water absorbent, it dye’s better than any other fabric including cotton and it’s less expensive to farm because of its minimal growth period and requirements. Hemp requires almost half the amount of water and energy to produce the same amount of cotton. Hemp is also a self-sustaining plant meaning there is no need for pesticides, making it the most sustainable option for fabrics used in clothing. Some trendy brands who incorporate hemp into their products are Hempy’s selling men’s clothing, accessories and skincare and HoodLamb or hemp tailors which is a brand that creates warm, durable jacket made from their own unique hemp fabric blends.
In essence, hemp can break down in a landfill in half the time it takes for cotton and is the most eco-friendliest option in fabric fibers.
- Biodegradable Fabric
Back when everything was couture and fashion were made to last, fashion designers did not think about the decomposition process of clothing. Vintage clothes and accessories were built to last over years of wear and tear and today’s world of fast fashion and synthetic fabrics has normalized the use of chemicals and dyes in our clothing making them non-biodegradable. The closest thing to biodegradable clothing in the mass market is cotton, but even pure cotton material can take up to ten years to decompose in a landfill. Most fabrics are initially natural fibers and compostable, but when blended with synthetic fabrics or coated with chemical it can take hundreds of years for a piece of clothing to decompose. Fashion is moving towards sustainability through technology, many brands have found a way to create ethical products that are not harmful to the environment. The struggle that most fashion houses face with eco-friendly fabrics are sourcing the material that matches the aesthetic appeal of their collection. Fortunately there are products out there that are not only eco-friendly but are biodegradable as well. Swiss manufacturer Freitag has designed a new line of clothing that can decompose in your very on compost bin. “It’s really the first 100% biodegradable textile,” says Oliver Brunschwiler from Freitag. “Most companies still have polyester thread in their clothing, but our thread is 100% biodegradable, as are our shirts buttons, which are made out of a nut. On the pants, the metal button can be screwed off and used again”. Freitag is one company to look out for as their products are 100% eco-friendly and have a modern, trendy style to them.
- Mushroom Leather
It’s odd to think that something you would throw in a stir fry would make any piece of clothing or accessory but the kind of mushrooms were talking about today are produced from a species you cannot eat. MusKin is a leather-like material made from the caps of a mushroom type called Phellinus ellipsoideus. The mushrooms can be treated like animal leather and most producers of this textile use 100% natural processes making the material biodegradable. The mushroom leather is said to feel like suede and has a rich orangey brown moccasin tone. The mushroom leather is not only manufactured in an eco-friendly way but the Phellinus ellipsoideus fungus is also environmentally beneficial as it is apart of many forest ecosystems. In addition to being sustainable and stylish, mushroom leather is nontoxic, water-repellent, and is durable enough to make products originally made with leather. Fungi line is a brand that uses mushroom leather and eco friendly fibers in their products. Fungi lines collaboration with Zvnder gave way to a shoe made from fungi leather, which is their brand of mushroom leather and natural recycled fibers. In addition to fungi leather, the shoe consists of eco-cotton, microfiber suede made from recycled PET bottles, real cork insoles and real rubber outsoles. Check out Fungi line and other leather alternatives next time your shopping.
By: Veronica Alves