Water bottles, mushrooms, spoiled milk… what do these things all have in common besides being in your kitchen? They are all being used to make clothes! When you think about it, it’s a little mind blowing that your kitchen has the ingredients needed to make the jeans you’re wearing right now. The rapidly changing landscape of technology and shrinking availability of traditional resources for clothing and accessories manufacturing has inspired some very creative research in the field of textiles all across the globe.
(Read the rest of this excerpt from Third Wave Magazine below!)
Researchers are looking at ways to reduce cost, waste, resource consumption and even turn what was once thought of as trash into new materials. When it comes to turning trash into treasure, German company Qmilk has figured out a way to process undrinkable milk with water to create a biodegradable, antibacterial fiber that feels like silk. It can be used to enhance other fibers, or on it’s own to create sturdy garments with heat and moisture management properties.
In the area of alternative material sources, UK-based Biocouture is a biocreative design consultancy. In addition to hosting the Biofabricate conference, which brings together companies and researchers from all over the world developing alternative materials, they also help companies work with fabrics made from mushrooms, algae, bacteria and yeast.
Back in the US, vegan bag line Freedom of Animals has sourced a material made of post-consumer polyurethane and organic cotton. It looks and feels like the high-end leather luxury brands use in their handbags and small leather goods. Inside, the bags are lined with an organic cotton and recycled plastic bottle fabric—talk about environmentally friendly! Other brands, like LA based Reformation, are finding alternative ways to work with eco fabrics that reduce other material consumption and environmental impact.
The athletic wear industry has been finding ways to help athletes perform at the highest levels possible for years. Now companies like Cozy Orange are taking textiles to the next level by making them high performance and eco-friendly. Their pilling-resistant and anti-sheer Revive Eco-Lux polyester is made from plastic bottles. It also has the same moisture wicking and support properties you expect from your workout gear; just a more responsible way for you to get your sweat on.
Solving consumption and world resource problems are not the only issues that need tackling- Dear Kate is focusing on menstruation. Their patent pending fabric aims to help a woman’s monthly experience more comfortable, eco-friendly and stress reducing. Their underthings can be used to replace liners or as a backup protection. Either way, less is going in the landfill.
Whatever the challenge—and no matter the fabric of choice—what’s becoming clear is that consumers want more out of their products: flattering, fashionable, and functional to boot.
Featured image from thereformation.com. Slideshow images from: thereformation.com, Biocouture jacket from otymsiemowi.blox.pl, en.qmilk.eu, freedomofanimals.com, cozyorange.com, and dearkates.com.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.