Fashion Innovation

Innovative Materials Used In The Fashion Industry


Innovative Materials Used In The Fashion Industry. Behind every environmental crisis that affects the planet – from raging wildfires to dying oceans – “there’s an economic failure and a design failure,” says Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans brand. “Plastic is a material that should no longer have a place in the supply chains of industries like fashion and design,” he added.
Gutsch set up Parley in 2012 with the aim of collecting plastic from the marine and coastal environments and then, together with designers, artists, and industry leaders, re-design it into innovative materials for a cleaner and more sustainable fashion industry.
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By using marine plastic waste converted into durable threads, Parley and Adidas launched a new knitted shoe which became the brand’s signature work. Parley’s next goal? Replace plastic as a raw material with innovative materials from natural alternatives. Parley is calling this initiative ‘material revolution.’

“We don’t believe that plastic can be contained by recycling structures,” Gutsch says. “That’s the design failure and plastic must be reinvented.”

Another company involved in the ‘material revolution’ is Biofabricate. Founded in 2014 to advance research and innovation in materials made from natural sources, Biofabricate is ‘redesigning’ natural elements and compounds like yeast, algae, animal cells, and bacteria with technology. The aim is to convert them into materials that serve the same purpose as the goods made from plastic and leather.
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Modern Meadow, a New Jersey-based startup, best exemplifies the potential of bio-fabrication. Zoa is their product, a ‘bioleather’ material made from fermented yeast. The material has attracted a multitude of companies from the luxury, fashion, design, and automotive sectors, interested in incorporating ‘Zoa’ into their supply chains.

Modern Meadow is the proof-of-concept for the material ‘revolution’ that Biofabricate and Parley for the Oceans are waging. In 2016, Adidas launched a footwear made from Biosteel, a bacteria fermented silk. The technology was pioneered by the German company AMSilk, which specializes in biodegradable materials and sustainable alternatives to synthetic materials.
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But it is not only plastic, yeast and biodegradable materials that can change the fashion industry while leading the sustainable movement. Bolt Threads is a company based in Emeryville, California that has produced a new type of silk from bioengineered spiders. The material is production ready as the necktie and the wool cap, collaborations are showing.

“The world is coming to the realization that we can’t continue like this. We just can’t afford to have harmful substances like plastic on the planet. Whether it is yeast, spider silk or a bio-fabricated leather, there is a huge potential for innovative materials to be used in so many different industries. Indeed, it is revolutionary,” says Gutsch.

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Parley, he adds, “is raising awareness of how bad plastic is and how endangered the oceans are, advocating for fashion designers and brands to abandon plastic in favour of biodegradable alternatives.”

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