In recent years, the fashion industry has been undergoing a sustainability revolution. Understanding that fashion is the second biggest polluter of the environment, brands are turning into technology to drive sustainability.
This is important as fashion confronts a two-fold challenge – meeting the clothing demands of a growing population while protecting the environment. In recent years, several innovations have already been introduced such as the production of textiles from pineapples, cow manure, banana, fungi and kombucha tea. New technologies in drying, 3D printing and finishing that are environmentally-friendly have also been discovered and are being practiced in the industry. Big brands are leading the way in this revolution.
Here are just a few brands that are doing good in the merging of technology and sustainability in fashion:
The sportswear brand Adidas is definitely leading the way in the use of technology for sustainable fashion. It has recently started its collaboration with Parley, a non-governmental organization that works towards raising awareness for the benefit of endangered ocean ecosystems.
Adidas has created the Parley range that includes swimwear, football kit and shoes that use materials coming from ocean waste.1 It has a line of sneakers that features a 3D-printed midsole, made from yarns, used plastic, fishing nets and other ocean waste.2 This is significant as it can help relieve the problem of ocean wastes.
Your next pair of Levi’s jeans can come from old, discarded shirts. This is because the clothing giant Levi Strauss & Co. has partnered with Evrnu, which has created a technology to use cloth materials that would have traditionally headed to the landfill, to create its iconic jeans. The technology breaks down discarded clothes into its molecular form to create new fiber. As per data provided by Evrnu, their technology uses 98 percent less water than cotton and 90 percent less energy or carbon dioxide emissions as compared to polyster production.3
Auria is a relatively new swimsuit brand. They offer the perfect combination of fun, glamorous and environmentally responsible swimsuits made from 100 percent recycled polyamide. Their materials come from Econyl, which recovers wastes from old fishing nets, fluff, industrial plastics, yarn and fabric scraps into new textiles.4
The Ecoalf brand which is based in Madrid, is also recycling all possible materials, such as old fishing nets, plastic bottles, tires, cotton wastes and even discarded coffee grounds into different fashion products. From these, they are producing jackets, shoes and bags. Ecouterre reports that they are even trawling the Mediterranean Sea for plastic wastes to transform into fabrics.5
The sportswear giant, Nike, has invested a lot in technology and sustainability. Its Flyknit technology for shoes ensures 60 percent less waste. In fact, since 2012, the technology has resulted to the reduction of almost 3.5 million pounds of waste materials. The Nike performance products, on the other hand, have diverted more than three billion plastic bottles which were converted into polyester for Nike football kits with Aeroswift technology. Its ColorDry technology has also resulted to saving more than 20 million liters of water because of its zero water dyeing process.6
The more brands joining the sustainability bandwagon, the better for the environment. As consumers, we have the power to drive this with our buying habits. Hence, it is important to make our money count for the planet.
- Pereira, Katie. 2017. Global Brands Embrace Sustainable Fashion. Allen&York, 01 Mrch 2017. Available at: https://www.allen-york.com/blog/2017/03/global-brands-embrace-sustainable-fashion. ↩
- Waka. 2016. Sustainable fashion: No marketing gimmick, feat. Adidas, Auria and Katie Jone. Appnova, 27 January 2016. Available at: http://www.appnova.com/sustainable-fashion-no-marketing-gimmick-feat-adidas-auria-and-katie-jones/. ↩
- Evrnu. Giving You, And the Planet, The Edge. Evrnu. Available at: http://www.evrnu.com/technology/ ↩
- Econyl. The Econyl Regeneration System. Available at: http://www.econyl.com/regeneration-system/. ↩
- Chua, Jasmin. Ecoalf Wants to Upcycle Ocean-Trawled Plastic Into Textiles, Clothing. Ecouterre, 14 December 2015. Available at: http://www.ecouterre.com/ecoalf-wants-to-upcycle-ocean-plastic-into-textiles-clothing/. ↩
- Nike News. Top Things To Know About Sustainable Innovation At Nike. Nike, 11 May 2016. Available at: http://news.nike.com/news/sustainable-innovation. ↩