Every garment has a story to tell. Perhaps one clothing line features items only made in Italy by talented artisans. Another one could feature apparel with unique patterns that symbolize a certain message for consumers.
When fashion designers and brands tell compelling stories about their garments, their pieces come to life and inspire consumer engagement. However, with technological advancement, one cannot help but wonder what these stories will sound like in the future.
With Earth only a mere half of a degree Celsius away from reaching a two degree threshold, it is imperative to take care of the environment. As such, many fashion designers and brands have begun to make the transition to utilizing more sustainable materials in their garments, but there is still a lot left to do. The development of more environment-friendly materials, such as organic cotton and linen, have aided the transition to a sustainable enterprise that de-emphasize manufacturing reliance on water and oil. Designers Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher are two pioneers of eco-friendly fashion who have made this transition to a sustainable enterprise to reduce toxic waste by only creating apparel that requires the use of limited amounts of energy, water, and oil.
Using Milkweed Floss as an Eco-Friendly Fabric Fiber
Milkweed floss is a plant with, “largely untapped potential from a material standpoint.” Textile artist Alayna Rasile has researched this material’s properties to figure out its potential in fashion. This plant, she claims, can serve as an alternative to other fibers and will save butterfly habitats. Currently, people treat milkweed plants as pests, which destroys the primary milk source for monarch butterflies and caterpillars. However, if this plant were to be commercialized, it would ensure that people would not regard these plants as pests and would think twice before destroying them. Milkweed floss is not only six times warmer than wool, but it also does not require petroleum or chemically-based synthetic materials to produce. The last time this plant had widespread use happened during World War II when it was used to fill life vests. This slick, shiny, and hypoallergenic material will become must-use in the future of fashion merchandise production.
Converting Food Waste into High Fashion
Piñatex, a Philippines-based fashion brand, uses waste materials like pineapples to create plant-based leather products. This fun, new concept limits the use of energy in fabric production and makes the resulting clothing biodegradable, with a smaller environmental footprint. Plus, by spinning produce into thread, less food crop waste will be left to burn, reducing the release of methane gas and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Transforming Plastic Bottles into Synthetic Fabric
Patagonia, an American clothing company, re-purposes plastic bottles into polyester to create much of their apparel. Plastic products generally harm the environment, but when broken down into polyester, they can be converted to synthetic fabric. While polyester does release microbeads when washed, it can easily be recycled into new fabrics using limited amounts of energy.
So, who knows? Every piece of garment has a unique story to tell, and your future shirt’s story may be that it was made from a pineapple.