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THE FUTURE OF FABRICS

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ECO-FRIENDLY FIBERS AND BEYOND

Let’s face it: global warming is here to stay, and, unfortunately, the fashion industry is not combatting this problem. It is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions as a result of fast fashion—that’s more than all international flights and maritime shipping totaled. When combined with its use of harsh chemical dyes and synthetic fabric blends along with the overall waste it generates, the fashion industry has evolved into an unsustainable model that we must adjust before it is too late.

For those of you who are unsure where to start, we feel the same way; it can be daunting to reimagine a system as large as the fashion industry. However, what we do know is that no change is too small. It can be something as little as switching the fabrics we use in our garments—and, incidentally, that’s what we’re here to talk about!

Luckily for us, many companies are rethinking fabrics that will bring us into the 21st century. Instead of succumbing to the broken and harmful methods of the current fashion industry, these brands have developed fabrics out of unlikely substances with the help of science, determination and open minds.

Bolt Threads

Bolt Threads is a materials solutions company that has partnered up with brands like lululemon, Stella McCartney, and adidas to revolutionize fashion with modern fabrics. They are intent on fabric development that looks great and treats the environment even better. 

Can you guess their special ingredient for faux leather? If you guessed mushroom cells, you are correct. Their developments focus on creating fabrics that are workable, fashion-forward, and safe for the planet.

Mango Materials

The future is biodegradable—at least in the eyes of developers at Mango Materials. With a business model focused on closed loop sustainability, an end-to-end supply chain and climate positivity, it is no secret that the brand’s main priority is dear Mother Earth. 

With the knowledge of polyester and its detrimental effects on the Earth, Mango Materials has developed fiber grade pellets that combat this problem. These biodegradable polymers can be used to make anything from shoes to activewear to backpacks, all without the need for petroleum-based polyester. Hello, innovation!

Tree to Textile

Tree to Textile has one mission: to create sustainable textiles at low costs for a broad market. We are here for market inclusivity, considering not everyone can afford the expensive, niche sustainable brands we know of today. 

Tree to Textile creates fabric made from cellulose—the main chemical that forms plants’ structures—by spinning the dissolving pulp of plants until fibers are produced. Combined with reducing chemical use and eliminating sulphur emissions, as well as recycling water throughout the process, the company is set to develop a new wave of textiles that will take us from plants to pants!

Other important sustainable fabric developers to watch are Modern Meadow, Spinnova, and AlgiKnit. As consumers, it is our responsibility to shop smartly, which inherently means shopping sustainably. With climate change on the rise, it is imperative that we take matters into our own hands to preserve our eEarth and the resources we have left.
So, the next time you are perusing a brand online or in-person, make a point to ask about the fabrics in the products. Educate yourself on the companies that incorporate sustainable fabrics; in turn, note the brands that are not. 

Make a point to purchase garments that are made with the earth in mind—come on, how cool would it be to have a shirt made from mushroom cells? The future of fabric is here to stay, and we love the way it looks.

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Chelsea Jankowski Fashion Contributor
Chelsea is currently a senior at the University of South Carolina studying Retailing and Fashion Merchandising. Her hobbies include daydreaming about New Jersey bagels, her beloved dog named Dory, and listening to SZA. Her goal is to one day open up her own part-bridal, part-vintage boutique and to also get paid to watch The Office.
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