Historically, the fashion industry has had a huge negative impact on climate change and pollution contributing nearly 4% of total global carbon emissions, 17 million tons of textile waste in landfills, and an estimated 20% of water pollution from textile dyeing and treatment. As with everything in life the industry has had to adapt to a cleaner, energy efficient and more eco-friendly way of doing things.
Today textiles made from orange cellulose, apple pectin and kelp biopolymer help to make them more biodegradable. Algae sequins and glitter made form eucalyptus tree extract eliminate the need for plastics and micro plastic waste. Yarn made from the Kapok tree is used as an alternative to high water crops such as cotton. Nanotechnology is being used to program the self-assembly of collagen molecules to create an animal free leather. Chemical binders for fabric finishes, such as anti-odor and water repellency, are being replaced by nano-textiles which ultimately protects the end user and the environment. Robotic knitting machines linked with 3D modeling software create custom seamless knit garments with zero waste. And textile dying factories are changing their processes by using fewer chemical dyes and using CO2 recycling to reuse 95% of the water for dyeing.
A number of luxury brands are making an effort to offer responsible collections as well. Ganni leads the charge by providing transparency on their work to become a more responsible fashion brand. Be it recycled materials such as silk and polyester or denim cast-offs or upcycled textiles used in previous lines, Marine Serre, Collina Strada and Gabriela Hearst brands are making great strides to do their part in helping the environment. Proenza Strada has taken an ounce of prevention by stepping away from seasonal drops and focusing on well-made staple pieces that transcend the seasons. Eco-friendly is becoming the new chic.