Fashion for the Earth

Dressed for Success: Sustainable Fashion Innovations Making an Impact

When it comes to buying clothing, we all likely shop with different criteria in mind. Price, color, style, and convenience are all important — but what about the environmental impact?

The fashion industry produces 10% of global carbon emissions and 85% of textiles go to landfills or incinerators each year.

Many designers have developed new innovations to help combat the environmental degradation associated with the fashion industry such as using sustainable materials and processes to minimize pollution and waste. Check out these three sustainable fashion trends and learn about how designers are making it more possible than ever to build an eco-conscious wardrobe.

Leather made from mango waste

Fruitleather Rotterdam: Designers Koen Meerkerk and Hugo de Boon use discarded mangos to create a durable, leather-like material. The food waste that they aim to minimize is a global environmental problem.

Around one-third of the world’s food is lost to waste, equalling 1.3 billion tons per year. Fruit, like mangos, is wasted at an even higher rate — 40%-50% of global fruit and vegetable supply is discarded each year.

Leather made from mangos also helps fight the animal cruelty and environmental depletion caused by leather production. Hides undergo cleaning and tanning processes that are carbon intensive and produce chemical waste, which contribute to climate change and air pollution. 

Down fill made from wildflowers

Pangaia’s FlwrdwnTM : Thermal-insulating outerwear typically uses animal feathers and synthetic down materials. The collection of feathers is harmful for animals, while the synthetic fills release harmful microplastics into the environment. Washing synthetic clothing contributes to 35% of all ocean microplastic pollution.

To combat this, some designers utilize sustainable materials and technology, such as down fill from wildflowers or other organic materials. These down alternatives eliminate the cruelty tied to animal-based products and plastic pollution associated with synthetic fills.

Ink made from algae

VOLLEBAK: Nick and Steve Tidball created a t-shirt colored by black algae, as opposed to using carbon-based dye that is traditionally used to color things black. The t-shirts themselves are made of eucalyptus and beech tree pulp.

Carbon black is made by burning petroleum, a fossil fuel. This process releases harmful particles into the air that contribute to climate change. On the contrary, algae absorbs carbon dioxide at such an effective rate that algae biofuel is a promising new source of energy, and it releases oxygen as well.

As more and more designers come up with new innovations in sustainable fashion, hopefully there will only be more opportunities for us as consumers to add them to our wardrobes. If these options aren’t viable for you right now, know that there are other ways to make your wardrobe more sustainable that don’t involve making new purchases.

Check out the recording of our recent webinar, “Beauty in The Eye of The Beholder: Fashion and Sustainability,” to learn more about the devastating impacts of the fashion industry.

Earth Day Live: Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder

For more information and ideas about sustainable fashion, check out EARTHDAY.ORG’s Sustainable Fashion campaign.