Fruit and vegetables are good for us. We all know that.
But what if our clothes counted towards our five a day? Would that make the planet healthier, too? We are told the one thing we can do to reduce our carbon emissions is to eat less beef, so the next step would be to wear less leather. We also know that cotton production is water-intensive and polluting. So the next generation of textiles made from apple peel, grape pulp, oranges and pineapples is here not a moment too soon. Never mind eat more greens. What we really need is to wear them.
First, though, designers need to know where to find these healthy new fibres and, in January, the Future Fabrics Expo in London showcased the best of them. The exhibition was the brainchild of Nina Marenzi, who in 2010 founded The Sustainable Angle, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to help reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry, and Amanda Johnston, a curator and consultant. Part of their mission is to showcase alternatives to nonrenewable, oil-based polyesters and cotton. ‘In their place, we are seeing an increase in recycled synthetics and regenerated cellulosic materials from varied plant-based sources,’ said Marenzi. At the expo, there was a veritable cocktail of fruit-based fabrics on show, including Vegea, made from grape waste from the wine industry, Orange Fiber, from the Italian citrus industry and producing a textile so soft and luxurious it has already been used by Salvatore Ferragamo; Frumat, a leather alternative from apple waste; and MycoTex, a mushroom-based textile that can be modelled into clothes without the need to cut and sew.
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