How can textile designers reduce waste

10 sustainable textile innovations that you should know

Excessive water and chemical consumption, overproduction and the inability to deal with remaining stock - the apparel and textile industry, which wants to be way ahead in fashion trends, is way behind in processes and environmental awareness. But it is also the industry that surprises with groundbreaking innovations such as resource-saving alternatives to cotton and petroleum fibers such as acrylic, polyester, nylon and spandex; with fibers that heal themselves, for example, or those that can be completely broken down and have a healing effect on the wearer and the environment.

Amazing, isn't it? And given the growing world population and the demand for better and more durable garments, all of these innovations seem to be coming just in time. In a new series of articles that began more than a year ago, FashionUnited has researched some of the most innovative and actionable sustainable textile solutions and compiled them here for a quick overview.

Versatile cotton alternatives: hemp, lotus and nettles

It is no accident that we start our list with this dynamic trio as each of the three materials is a true champion. hemp For example: it is a fast growing plant that requires very little water and no crop protection products, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or GMO seeds. As an added bonus for the environment, growing hemp improves soil health by replenishing important nutrients and preventing erosion. Hemp fabrics kill bacteria, which means they are naturally antimicrobial, have the best heat capacity ratio compared to all other fibers, mix easily with dyes and are not easily discolored. So what's not to like? Well, unfortunately there is the association of Cannabis sativa em> Plant as a recreational drug that has hindered the production and use of industrial hemp especially in the western world. But the fact that big, international brands like Adidas, Quiksilver, Patagonia and other products have added hemp to their offerings has made hemp more popular and better known as a textile fiber.

Will be in countries like Thailand and Myanmar Lotus fibers For centuries it has been a time-consuming process into a luxury fabric that feels like a mixture of silk and raw linen. Today, enterprising companies have rediscovered the material, for example for plain white shirts that are light, silky soft and extremely breathable and have a calm and peaceful, almost meditative effect on the wearer. Perhaps companies should buy them in bulk and take advantage of the benefits for their employees? Wearing a lotus shirt regularly is also said to relieve headaches, heart ailments, asthma, and lung problems.

Like lotus and hemp are too Nettle fibers extremely versatile and keep the wearer of nettle clothing pleasantly cool in summer and nice and warm in winter. Unlike hemp, there are no legal issues with growing nettles, which has made the plant a viable and legal crop. Plus, like hemp, nettles need much less water and pesticides to grow.

Leather alternatives that make you vegan: apples, pineapples and mushrooms

Leather is a dirty product, not just in terms of the production process, but also the fact that animals are killed for their skins to make them into products for people who don't really need them. A growing number of consumers no longer want to participate in this brutal practice and are instead looking for vegan alternatives. Given the fashionable alternatives, this is not difficult.

These sleek handbags that look and feel like a material between leather and faux leather that amazes even industry experts are made of Apples made, waste products from juice extraction to be precise. Even if the process is by no means easy, the result is worth it.

Also pineapplePineapple leaves, to be precise, which are a by-product of the pineapple harvest, can be turned into a natural, non-woven fabric known as piñatex, which is amazingly leather-like. The centuries-old tradition of using a leather-like material Mushrooms to win is revived. It is organic, gluten and chemical free and has a marbled, velvety surface. It has strong absorbent, antibacterial and antiseptic properties, is light and has an insulating effect at the same time. What is there not to like?

Not just for breakfast: coffee and bananas

coffee and bananas are a part of breakfast for many like hardly any other food. But did you know that they are also incredible textile alternatives? Coffee grounds can be made into a yarn that offers excellent natural odor-inhibiting properties, UV protection and a drying time that is 200 percent faster than cotton. It goes without saying that the multifunctional yarn can be used in a wide variety of products ranging from outdoor and sportswear to everyday household items.

It should also not be forgotten that fibers have been made from banana stalks since the early 13th century. At least in Japan. Then use and manufacture declined as other fibers such as cotton and silk from China and India became more popular. But experience now Banana fiber are making a comeback in the fashion industry and are used worldwide for a variety of products ranging from tea bags to car tires to saris and Japanese yen notes. And not only the Minions are happy about that.

Unusual but convincing: kapok, seaweed and squid genes

Finally, we have three other textile alternatives that are just as interesting and promising. kapok for example, a natural cellulose fiber found in the dried fruits of the kapok tree that is the most sustainable fiber on the market today. Together with properties such as softness, dryness, anti-mold, anti-mite and good heat retention comparable to down, you have a useful, sustainable fiber.

Even seaweed or algae can be developed into a biodegradable yarn from the abundant biopolymer alginate, which can be processed into wearable textiles. Squid genes have self-healing properties, from which thermoplastic fibers are extracted in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective process, from which a biodegradable and 100 percent recyclable fabric is produced. The material also acts as an adhesive and thus minimizes the microfibres in the laundry and thus reduces plastic pollution in the world's oceans.

Careful readers will have noticed that there are in fact eleven amazing sustainable textile innovations, although the list is by no means exhaustive. The good news is that there are more incredible materials that are regularly discovered as sustainable textile alternatives. So reason enough to keep your eyes open.

Photos: Coffee - Singtex Industrial CO. LTD .; Lotus - Samatoa Lotus Textiles website; Nettles - Gesine Jost collection via Gesine Jost website; Apples - happy genie; Pineapple - piñatex; Kapok - Flocus Facebook; Squid - Tandem Repeat Website