Eco friendly clothing from materials you won’t believe your eyes! Like him or not, Kanye West is a forward-looking innovator with a fearless appetite for change.
By using algae foam in Yeezy’s latest fashion footwear, the rapper shines a very much needed light onto a part of the fashion world largely overlooked by the mainstream media: eco friendly clothing made from innovative materials.
While Yeezy isn’t the first fashion designer to use innovative materials to create eco friendly clothing and shoes, the truth is that over the last fifty years only a handful of companies have used environmentally friendly materials.
Since the invention of since polyester, plastic-based couture has been featured heavily, as the norm in ‘fast fashion’ apparel. The same story applies to shoes.
With the rise in disposable income, a move from purchasing just necessary and practical shoes – as our grandparent’s generation has done – and plastic-based materials brought the ‘fast fashion’ movement to the footwear industry as well.
Eco Friendly Clothing Era
However, as contemporary society has pushed for more transparency in all walks of life – from politics to food production and fashion – fashion labels have embraced the challenge of finding (and using!) materials that can be used in eco friendly clothing, for a cleaner environment.
The Swedish powerhouse, H&M was one of the first to introduce eco friendly clothing made from alternative fabrics, as part of its ‘Conscious’ fashion range.
The dresses, tops, and shoes were made exclusively from recycled and eco-friendly alternative materials such as recycled glass, plastic and even discarded orange peels.
If you seek to embrace the eco friendly clothing revolution, for your health and environment, better check out these alternative options below:
1. Seaweed Fabrics
SeaCell from Nanonic is made from organic seaweed. The resulting material is a soft fabric with a silky feel. Nanonic is not the only one who has looked to the oceans for eco-friendly materials.
New York-based AlgiKnit has also found that seaweed, specifically Kelp and one or two other similar types of algae, makes an excellent eco alternative material. In their case, it’s yarn or ‘BioYarn’ as it was first to become know.
Both of brown algae extracts and other seaweed-based materials have been tried and used by several designers. German designer Luisa Kahlfeldt has used ‘SeaCell’ material in her products while AlgiKnit has found its way into several footwear products.
2. Materials From Pineapples
Shoes and apparel lovers will be happy to hear that Piñatex, a material innovator has finally produced an eco-friendly and cruelty-free leather alternative material.
Made from discarded pineapple leaves, Piñatex was featured as a top sustainable fabric for the new generation of designer clothing. The material resembles leather, and it lends itself well to stitching and print.
3. Eco-Friendly Accessories From Apples
Another innovative material used in eco-friendly clothing is the ‘Apple-leather or apple-skin leather.
Apple leather was initially used by LuckyNelly, a German brand that makes super luxurious vegan handbags and accessories.
Then, it was further popularised by Happy Genie in their amazing line of ‘apple leather’ bags and accessories.
The latest notable use of apple leather in fashion comes from another exclusive German brand that has taken the world by storm.
Martin Appelt’s unique high-end collections of sustainable couture are right on the eco-trend and already the favorites of the fashion elite.
4. Eco-Friendly Clothing From Oranges
We already know that oranges are high in C vitamin and thus, very good for our immune system.
But, it turns out the remaining citrus fruits are also great for the Amazon rainforest as well.
In the mid-1990s one thousand truckloads of waste orange peels were spread over a large area of destroyed rainforest.
Fifteen years later, those 12 thousand tones of discarded orange skins have restored the site into a lush jungle again.
It is another proof that food waste is an overlooked resource with so much potential.
However, oranges are just one of the food waste types being turned into fashion fabrics too.
The Italian business ‘Orange Fiber’ has created a silk-like material from oranges that would have been thrown away without their innovation, now used to make chic boho pieces with a focus on Italian heritage and excellence.
5. Eco-Friendly Clothing From Waste
To some, the idea of eco-friendly clothing might feel like a new concept.
However, the conversation around creating alternative fabrics from waste has started a long time ago.
Issac Nichelson has been championing alternative materials from waste for nearly thirty years now.
In a joint effort to kickstart the eco-friendly clothing revolution, Issac’s company, Circular Systems, has partnered with Agraloop, a company that turns food waste like banana, tree trunks, and sugar cane bark into high-value natural fibers for vegan fabrics.
6. Upcycled Textiles
The fashion industry creates 92 million tons of fabric waste every year. Much of this comes from offcuts and trends that didn’t sell.
Yet, emerging designers such as Olivia Berthelot are creating excellent eco-friendly clothing from reclaimed textile.
If high street fashion is your thing, then start asking the store assistants to point you to their sustainable collections.
The more demand there is in store, the faster recycled and alternative textiles will become the norm in all fashion.
We are all rejoicing in the fact that the world is moving toward eco-friendly clothing and plant-based lifestyles, at rapid speed.
But, are we in time to save the planet? Possibly not. At the very least it is the right step, in the right direction.