Aware of its enormous environmental impact, the fashion industry seeks to innovate and reduce its carbon footprint with the use of new, more sustainable materials.
The raw materials that are normally used in the textile sector consume a lot of resources and generate high levels of pollution and emissions.
Around 20% of wastewater is generated by the textile industry. Fabrics like polyester generate large amounts of microfibers, which are consumed by fish and later by humans.
For these reasons, they are experimenting with new materials such as:
Alternative to leather from palm leaves.
A Dutch designer, Tjeerd Veenhoven, is doing his part by developing palm leaf leather rugs, he has dubbed it palm leather. Rather than relying on resource-consuming animal husbandry, Veenhoven sources the materials it needs from some of the 80 million trees that currently grow naturally, creating a sustainable option to traditional leather.
Pineapple leaf fiber fabric.
A by-product of the agricultural industry is used, which consists of pineapple leaves, an example Piñatex. It is an alternative to leather and other synthetic materials.
Its characteristics are softness, flexibility and resistance. Once it is subjected to an industrial process, the fabric can be dyed and transformed into different textures.
For its preparation, the leaf of the plant is cut. The fibers separate, most are foliar and rigid. The fibers are knotted one by one to form a continuous filament that is woven by hand to make the fabric. There are already tools on the market that facilitate the extraction of fibers.
The fabric has an elegant appearance with a natural shine, similar to that of linen. It has other advantages such as:
- It can be mixed with other vegetable fibers.
- With better texture than silk.
- They do not need to be dry cleaned.
The problem that this pineapple cloth faces is its manufacture. It is labor intensive, which makes it expensive.
It is obtained from the pseudo stem of banana plants (musa sapientum). It has advantages over synthetic fibers, such as low density, rigidity and good mechanical properties. They are recyclable and biodegradable.
Banana fibers can be extracted through chemical, mechanical or biological methods. Only the biological procedure is suitable on an ecological level. The mechanical method has limitations because it does not remove the non-cellulosic gummy material from the vegetable fibers.
Tinder fungus leather.
It lives in dead and weak trees. It produces a very large fruit body in the shape of a horse’s hoof. It has absorbent, antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
It is harvested in an environmentally friendly way and is dried for up to a year. They are then peeled and processed by hand. No chemicals are used.
Fabric with orange peels.
The peels of oranges are a by-product that is now used to make an ecological and sustainable fabric. A fabric that in a high degree of purity is similar to the silk that is already used by luxury designers in the competitive world of fashion. We are talking about Orange Fiber.
The peels of the orange are being used to create a high quality ecological fabric. This initiative began in 2017 by the Italian Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena, in the city of Catania. This product has already been used for clothing design by the haute couture brand Salvatore Ferragamano.