Morgane Le Caer | 07.17.18 | Technology
Future Textiles Will Be Made From Seaweed And Fungi
With consumer interest in animal-free lifestyles growing exponentially, sustainable textiles are evolving from low-quality designs to luxury staples in their own right.
This comes at a time when more and more people are turning to veganism, and these consumers are not only eating purely plant-based products but are also seeking vegan-friendly fashion in line with their ethics. Leading to a rising shift in the global synthetic leather market and the development of new sustainable materials.
Many of these new innovations have been highlighted by The Sustainable Angle, who in its annual Future Fabrics Expo has been giving a platform to fashionable, high-quality and commercially sustainable fabrics since its initiation in 2010.
This July, its Future Fabrics Expo will be shown for the first time at The London Textile Fair at the Business Design Centre in Islington, North London.
Showcasing a range of textiles and material innovations, the Sustainable Angle is proving to designers and supply chains that a whole-system approach that uses science and technology is needed to create new sustainable manufacturing methods.
As more and more disruptors enter the field, here we spotlight four new innovators who are pioneering circular processes in the fashion supply chain – using materials from pineapples to algae and fungi
Algae Apparel by Algalife
With almost 3,000 litres of water needed to produce a single cotton t-shirt, and dyes known to pollute rivers and water sources, fabric production is problematic. To tackle this, Israeli innovator Algalife has created Algae Apparel, utilizing the untapped resource of marine algae to produce sustainable fibers and dyes.
As a renewable, degradable organism, algae can be crafted into wearable forms that have the added benefits of releasing antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients to the wearer’s skin. We have previously seen how algae bloom, often caused by chemical run-off from agriculture and industrial dumping, are being harvested by companies such as Bloom and transformed into ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam for use in footwear.
MycoTEX by Neffa
The development of mycelium (mushroom roots) as a natural alternative to leather is finding a potential use in bespoke fashion and accessories, with Netherlands company Neffa creating a workable mycelium fiber known as MycoTEX.
Using 3D technology, MycoTEX can be customized into clothing that doesn’t need to be cut or sewn. Once it has worn out, it can be buried to decompose. Aniela Hoitink, creator of MycoTEX, plans to use the Global Change Awards prize funding to improve the material and win greater interest and investment for future mycelium innovation.
Nullarbor by Nanollose
The material technology start-up, Nanollose has developed the first rayon fabric made with biowaste from the food industry.
Its eco-friendly material Nullarbor is created by adding microbes to coconut biomass, which are synthesized into microbial cellulose and then converted into fibers using technology.
With future plans to tap into bigger food sectors, the company wants to increase the availability of sustainable fabric choices on the market.
Luxury fashion house Hugo Boss has developed its first men’s footwear collection produced from Piñatex, a natural material made of pineapple leaf fibres.
Though synthetic leathers become increasingly recognized as more sustainable alternatives to traditional leather, it is only now that luxury fashion labels are beginning to incorporate and promote the use of such materials in their collections. Billed as ‘vegan shoes’ by Hugo Boss, the brand has used Piñatex in the upper part of a limited-edition collection of men’s trainers in its BOSS Menswear range. The raw material that forms the base of Piñatex is the by-product of pineapple harvesting that has minimal environmental impact and provides additional income farming communities.