To illustrate, the industry is responsible for up to 10% of global emissions, with British shoppers accountable for buying more clothes than any other in Europe. Because of these painful realities, almost half of UK consumers are pressuring fashion retailers to create more eco-friendly products. As such, many fashion brands are taking notes and adopting greener initiatives. One leading method is the usage of bioplastics. Instead of traditional petroleum-based plastic materials, bioplastics use renewable materials. The following are different ways the fashion industry is adopting this material for a greener future.
The use of sustainable elements in accessories is on the rise. The trend is most evident in eyewear, where even well-established brands like Ray-Ban embrace bioplastics in their most popular products. One needs only to look at Ray-Ban’s prescription sunglasses to see this in action. Take the Warren Bio-based model, which features a transparent green frame crafted from acetate frames and comes with brown lenses. The frames and nylon lenses on the Warren are made of 57% and 41% bio-acetate, respectively.
Bio-acetate is made from renewable sources like cotton linters and wood pulp, this biodegradable and crude oil-free material is a welcome replacement to the traditional eyewear material, acetate. Its use only exemplifies how accessory production can now combine high-performance technology with the latest in sustainable innovation. These sustainable trends continue with Wear Panda’s organic eyewear collection. The frames on its Wesli Black Bamboo sunglasses use the highest quality Moso bamboo sustainably sourced from a single location, ensuring superior strength and aesthetically pleasing grain patterns with rich colour.
Today, materials like bioplastic are used in dresses. Take, for instance, the sea green petroleum-free dress designed by One X One member Philip Lim. Its fabric was made from algae that was heated and bound together to form the bioplastic. From here, the bioplastic was poured into moulds cut into the sequin shapes attached to the dress’ mesh. The mesh itself was made from a seaweed and bamboo fibre called SeaCell, creating a stunning yet sustainable fashion statement.
Another instance of sustainable clothing comes from Vaude, a company that focuses on outdoor apparel and sporting goods. Their processes use polyamide made from castor oil. The oil is used to create natural fibres for clothing and plastic parts like zips and hooks.
One may think that though the canvas on shoes can easily be made sustainable, the same can’t be said for rubber soles. Brands like Balena are proving this wrong by debuting 100% biodegradable plastic footwear. The compostable plastic used here is durable, flexible, and smooth. It uses BioCir elastomer, a proprietary biodegradable combination of natural materials bound by polymers and modifiers. Since it can be manufactured in the same way as the other injection materials Balena used in the past, it can easily be made across the brand’s production centres worldwide. As such, the company is committed to making it a full-time alternative to other polluting shoe materials.
Balena isn’t alone concerning sustainable footwear. Eco-friendly footwear firm Allbirds is another brand to look at in this regard. It’s credited for the M0.0NSHOT—the world’s first net-zero carbon and eco-friendly shoes. Its high-top uses a carbon-negative, regenerative wool, its midsole is made of sugarcane, and the logo comprises methane-capture bioplastic. The result is a completely sustainable product that still manages to pull off a futuristic and fashionable appearance.
Today, more companies are listening to increasing consumer demand for sustainable products. With trailblazers like Ray-Ban, Vaude, and Allbirds paving the way, other companies will no doubt follow suit—and one can realistically expect a more sustainable fashion industry to continue flourishing.
Collaborative post by Morgan Graham.