Earth Day: initiatives shaping a more sustainable future for fashion | Life

The fashion industry comes up with all kinds of initiatives to make our wardrobes more sustainable, while reducing the environmental impact of the sector. – Photo by LightField Studios/Shutterstock via ETX Studio

NEW YORK, April 22 — The second most polluting industry in the world, fashion is trying to reinvent itself to reduce its ecological impact. This involves developing new practices, using new materials and switching to manufacturing processes that consume less water and energy. Various initiatives are constantly emerging to steer fashion in a direction that is more sustainable and respectful of the planet, as well as human beings. Here’s a look at some of the more innovative approaches underway as the world celebrates Earth Day, April 22.

If upcycling, repairing clothes and buying second-hand are today essential alternatives to make fashion more responsible, many players in the sector are working on new solutions to considerably reduce the carbon footprint. of our wardrobes. Some of these often surprising solutions could help revolutionize the textile industry as we know it.

3D printing to limit waste

From small French company 3D-Tex to famed American designer Heron Preston to sustainable Portland-based footwear brand Hilos, more and more fashion companies and designers are embracing 3D printing as a way to deliver greener rooms, with an emphasis on zero waste and circularity. The idea is to move to a more ecological manufacturing process, while limiting waste and offering more resistant creations, some of which are infinitely recyclable.

This is the bet taken up by the Saint-Malo start-up 3D-Tex, which defines itself as the “first entirely 3D knitting workshop in France”, on its official website. The company manufactures sweaters, but also hats, in 3D and without seams thanks to a technology that seriously limits waste. An initiative that has already won over many brands, starting with TBS and Le Slip Français, and which could serve as an example in many other sectors.

While 3D printing is on a mission to revolutionize the knitwear sector in France, it already seems to have conquered the footwear sector in the United States. This is demonstrated by various projects like Heron Preston and Hilos. The former presented the first infinitely recyclable 3D printed sneakers in the fall of 2021, while the latter is currently producing four models of shoes made on demand using this technology, thus meeting a number of problems such as overproduction, stockouts and energy savings. These three initiatives demonstrate the industry’s enthusiasm for 3D printing as one of the most innovative solutions for a more sustainable future.

Turn waste into clothes

If upcycling allows many brands to give a second life to their scraps and surplus fabrics or their used clothes, some manufacturers have gone even further by transforming waste, sometimes even components whose concentration in the atmosphere is one of the factors of global warming. Incredible but true. The objective is to clean up the environment while offering new creations that do not require any new raw materials.

The TchaoMegot company adopts an original approach by recycling… cigarette butts. These are collected, then cleaned according to an ecological process, before being transformed into eco-designed insulation used in the padding of certain down jackets. It’s upcycling taken to a whole new level, while raising awareness of the pollution generated by this banal waste, which still has a disastrous impact on the oceans.

In another vein, the Californian start-up Newlight Technologies has developed AirCarbon, a carbon-negative biomaterial made from greenhouse gases. It took more than a decade to develop this innovation, which is of great interest to fashion giants like Nike, who have partnered with the company to explore the use of AirCarbon in various applications. While waiting to learn more about the products resulting from this collaboration, buyers can already discover Covalent, the own brand of Newlight Technologies, which offers bags and sunglasses made from the biomaterial.

And because each of these initiatives contributes to improving the health of the planet, ready-to-wear brands are also mobilizing for Earth Day. Projects include UGG’s new carbon-neutral Icon-Impact collection, which includes the Fluff Yeah Terry, Fuzz Sugar Terry Slide and Fuzz Sugar Terry Cross Slide, and the new Classic Mini Regenerat shoe, which uses skin from sheep from regenerative agricultural farms, not to mention Vans’ Eco Positivity collection, which focuses on more sustainable materials such as organic cotton, hemp and organic foam made from vegetable oils.

Canada Goose presents its new Kind Fleece made from recycled wool and bio-based fibers. Ahead of Earth Day, the brand also released its 2021 Environmental, Social and Governance Report, demonstrating its progress in terms of sustainable impacts. It says it has converted more than 20% of its materials into preferred fibers and materials, and almost 60% of its packaging into more sustainable solutions. Often pointed out, the fashion industry seems to be in the process of transformation, striving to contribute to making the contents of our closets less harmful to the environment. — Studio ETX

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