If there is something that everybody knows about the fashion industry is that trends come and go. In the span of a single season a certain colour, pattern or style can go from being loved by designers and customers alike to be considered outdated and sometimes even ugly. There is though something that no one seems to be getting tired of: sustainability.
Once considered by many too niche to affect the market and just another flickering trend by others, sustainability is now more mainstream then ever and it’s here to stay. According to Lyst since the beginning of 2020, there has been a 37% increase in searches for sustainability-related keywords and over the past 12 months, the term “slow fashion” has generated over 90 million social impressions. We don’t know which colour or style is going to be en vogue two years from now, but we know which characteristics the materials of the future will possess: they are going to be both vegan and sustainable. Veganism is on the rise, so much so that there were four times as many vegans in the UK in 2019 as there were in 2014 and the number of plant-based eaters is supposed to rise by 97.60% in 2020. As more and more people go vegan, the demand for vegan products rises as well and vegans don’t just settle for materials that are animal-free but come with a high environmental cost; they want something that is kind to the planet too. Here are some materials that don’t harm neither the Earth nor the animals.
Produced by an Italian company called Frumart in the land of apples, South Tyrol, this sustainable material contains 50% leftovers from the apple industry. The apple remnants are first dried and reduced to powder and then transformed into a beautiful and resistant material by a company located in Tuscany. Thanks to their ground-breaking textile technology that turns waste into leather this visionary company, led by Hannes Parth, won the Technology and Innovation Award at the The Green Carpet Fashion Award 2018. Many sustainable companies are using this Made in Italy and vegan material in their collections.
Did you know that every year in Italy more than 700.000 tons of “pastazzo”, the Italian word for citrus waste, are produced? Sadly, all of this waste creates a lot of greenhouse gas emission. Up until a few years ago no company has seen the potential of citrus juice by-products, but then two savvy businesswomen from Sicily, Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena, pioneered a process that turns that waste into a high-quality, luxurious and vegan fabric.
Green Product Award 2020 nominee, this vegan-leather made from cactus is born from an idea by Mexican entrepreneurs Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez who wanted to create an alternative to animal leather. After two years of research and work their creation was finally ready for the market. Breathable, easy to clean and resistant, Desserto is not only a high-quality material but also a sustainable one, since the cactuses come from an organic certified planation and the mature cactus leaves, cut without damaging the plant itself, are dried in sun before being turned into vegan leather via toxic-chemical-free process.
Seaweeds have properties that make them great for our skin. It seems only logical that at some point someone imaginative enough would have thought of making a fabric out of them. Through the high-tech and eco-friendly Lyocell process, the German company smartfiber AG, makes a product that is smooth, silky and comfortable. SeaCell™ is Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, biodegradable and compostable.
Tencel is a botanic fibre originated from wood, a renewable raw material. This eco-modal is extracted through a green pulp-to-fiber process from beech wood, that comes from natural forests and sustainably managed plantation. The result is a very soft, flexible and outstandingly breathable fabric. It is biodegradable and compostable and can bare more washes than cotton. Due to its many qualities, both technical and sustainability-related, you can find this material in the collections of many ethical and sustainable brands.
Developed by Dr. Carmen Hijosa and produced by the company she founded, Ananas Anam, Piñatex is a ground-breaking natural, cruelty free and sustainably-sourced textile made from the fibre of pineapple leaves. By using a by-product of existing agriculture, which would normally be either burned or discarded, they create an additional stream of income for farming communities and at the same time produce a low waste product. Piñatex is used by over 1000 brands worldwide.