Sustainable Fashion Design Begins With Sustainable Materials
Using sustainable materials to make the fabrics which are then shaped to create clothes is the perhaps the most basic way to achieve sustainable fashion design.
This article, part of our series on Sustainable Fashion, explores 5 innovative materials that are sustainable alternatives for designers. They’ve appeared in the last couple of decades, but aren’t yet widely known to consumers. Most are in use today, and all create new options for designers with an eye on sustainability.
Modern Sustainable Materials & Fabrics
Most of today’s apparel doesn’t break down easily when discarded, ending up in polluting landfills for decades or even centuries. So some basic changes in the fashion industry’s attitude to sustainable materials would have a major long term benefit to the planet.
If more fabric itself is sustainable, several of today’s fashion industry challenges around pollution and sustainability would be immediately addressed.
Many designers acknowledge this in their work, using fabrics based on natural materials we’ve known about and used for centuries. Cotton, linen, hemp and silk are just some with an ancient history. Although even these can cause problems, with modern agriculture causing troubling effects on the environment.
But if sustainable textile materials are defined as those that don’t exhaust non-renewable resources, we have other options thanks to modern technology and research. Teams today and in recent years have been developing materials that don’t use polluting chemicals and toxins while being manufactured.
The results are innovative sustainable materials and fabrics that are viable alternatives to fashion industry norms. Some are from plant sources, others have origins you certainly wouldn’t associate with fabrics.
Here are 5 new sustainable materials you ought to know about if you have an interest in sustainable fashion, especially consumers who want to know more what goes into their clothes.