Innovative Fashion: Fibers from the Future

These start-ups re-imagine the very make-up of our clothing!
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The limits of modern fashion are being pushed and redefined every day! Innovative Fashion, our latest column, seeks to share how materials, production, design, and function are being revolutionized around the world. Consider it a little preview of the future of fashion.

(In case you missed it, check out the previous post in this series, where we talk about "living fabrics".)

Fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet, but could we harness their powers for good -- in fashion?

Some of the coolest innovators in clothing manufacture think so, and we're right there with 'em. 

Today we'll be exploring the startups who take a different route when it comes to natural fibers. They've dreamed of the future and made it reality, from apple leather to biodegradable glitter, seaweed textiles to pineapple fabrics, and we're excited to follow their progress -- check them out below!

Algiknit

Algiknit extracts alginate, a type of fiber, from kelp, which is then submerged in a salt bath with other renewable fibers to form a sturdy yarn. This yarn is 100% biodegradable and strong enough to be mechanically woven, used for 3-D printing, or knitted to shape -- which means little to no waste is produced! It can also be dyed with natural pigments, and the whole process is closed-loop, meaning any used Algiknit can go straight into manufacturing new fabric.

Kelp itself is highly renewable. It grows up to 10 times faster than bamboo, and it's found throughout the world in coastal aquatic farms, often serving as an additional source of income. Kelp also naturally takes up nutrients from agricultural and sewer waste run-off, cleaning up its ecosystem. With all these benefits, it's no wonder it's been woven into a promising sustainable fiber!

BioGlitz

"Shine responsibly" is this company's motto, and we totally agree. 

While glitter is beloved for its glimmer and sparkle, the tiny plastic pieces can do a lot of harm to our environment. Plastic is one of those most concerning ecological issues today: You've probably seen news stories about the ban on plastic straws or maybe the reports on concentrated amounts of microplastics found in our water, thanks to plastic waste like glitter.

BioGlitz seeks to end that with the making of a biodegradable, compostable, plant-based, and renewably sourced glitter -- the world's first! Now you can party without the stress, and know that your extra shine is coming from a good place.

Frumat

Did you know that according to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) 45% of all the fruits and vegetables produced in the world are wasted?

Three brands have taken the challenge to solve that issue, using fruit waste and closing loops in the manufacturing process to create a circular economy of almost zero-waste garments.

One of them is Frumat, which specializes in taking apple pectin, an apple waste product consisting of mainly apple peels, and transforming it into a durable, high-quality leather. This can then be used in a variety of brands, from clothing to footwear to the handbags above (made by Happy Genie bags).

Orange Fiber

Meet Orange Fiber, the Italian-based company that uses orange and lemon juice byproducts to create a beautiful silk-like fabric. From the waste produced by the Sicilian citrus fruit industry, mainly the pulp and peels, cellulose can be extracted, enriched with citrus essential oils, and woven into a yarn that can be blended with other fibers.

orange-fiber-salvatore-ferragamo

Orange Fiber has even collaborated with the luxury brand Salvatore Ferragamo for a limited edition summer capsule collection! Sustainable fabrics are truly on the rise, and we can't wait to see what else this brand will be up to.

Piñatex

Finally, we present to you Piñatex, a leather made from re-purposed pineapple leaves, an often wasted byproduct of pineapple harvesting in the Philippines (each year, 13 million tons of waste are produced from global pineapple agriculture!). The fibers from the leaves are taken in a process called decortication, while the remaining leaf bio-mass is used as fertilizer. They are then compressed into a mesh and finished in Spain as a leather end-product.

The power of Piñatex has been harnessed in a wide array of brands already, from fashion (Maniwala, Liselore Frowjin) to footwear (Bourgeois Boheme, Nae Vegan, Hugo Boss) to bags (Artesano, Raise Case, Taikka)!

What do you think?

How inspiring are these fashion pioneers? Would you wear a dress made of citrus textiles, or deck yourself out in biodegradable glitter? Have you heard of other innovators with a similar mission? Let us know in the comments!

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