The fashion industry was responsible for at least four per cent of global greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions in 2018, more than the carbon output of the economies of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined.
However, sustainability is the new trend in fashion, with governments, charities and trade organisations alike calling for changes to the way fashion is produced in order to reduce its astronomical carbon footprint worldwide.
Technology is driving this change, with retailers turning to new bleeding-edge sustainable manufacturing processes in order to do their bit.
Charged has taken a look at some of the most interesting, high-tech initiatives the fashion industry has adopted so far.
5 – Nike ‘Space Hippie’ shoes
As a part of Nike’s move towards zero carbon and zero waste, the sportswear brand released the Space Hippie trainers, made from recycled materials including factory flooring.
The yarn produced to make the Space Hippie Flyknit is produced from 85-90 per cent recycled materials such as plastic bottles, t-shirts and post-industry scraps.
The Space Hippie shoebox is also made with at least 90 per cent recycled content and is Nike’s lowest carbon footprint in a shoe.
4 – Cactus leather by Desserto
A vegan leather created from cacti. The material was the result of two years of research and development by founders Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez who strived to find a sustainable means of creating leather.
Cacti are a natural carbon sink, meaning it actually reduces CO2 as it grows.
The ranch where the cacti are grown is able to absorb 8,100 tons of CO2 per year while only producing 15.30 tons of CO2 annually, making it extremely sustainable to make.
Desserto was used in fashion retailer H&M’s Innovation Stories collection aiming to bring awareness to sustainable fashion alternatives.
3 – Adidas mushroom-based Stan Smith trainer
Adidas revealed it was releasing a version of its famous Stan Smith silhouette produced from the roots of mushrooms.
The new material, coined Mylo, is made from a renewable mycelium and takes less than two weeks to grow using the vertical agricultural method which increases the yield per square foot in a highly efficient production process.
The second stage of the process is the transformation from organism to material, this is currently done in California however Adidas say they will transfer the operation to Europe within a year.
The final stage of production is turning Mylo into any colour or finish ready for the production of the shoe.
“The introduction of mylo as a new material is a major step forward in our bold ambition to help end plastic waste,” global head of future at Adidas Amy Jones Vaterlaus said.
“As a planet, we must learn to work with nature rather than against it and put all our efforts into finding innovative solutions that are created responsibly with resources that renew at a sustainable pace.”
The new shoe was made in collaboration with biotechnology brand Bolt Threads, which has previously produced the mushroom-based material for fashion label Stella McCartney.
2 – Re.Uniqlo
With Re.Uniqlo, customers donate their unwanted Uniqlo items at stores before they are sorted, the clothes are then classified into 18 detailed categories such as season, gender, size, adult, child, climate, culture, or religion to fulfill recipient needs before being recycled into new items of clothing using unique technology to recycle down and feathers into new clothing. Any other items are recycled as alternative fuel to reduce CO2 emissions.
Finally, it delivers needs-appropriate clothing to refugees all over the world. Recycled fuel and soundproofing material is sent to factories. Down and feathers are regenerated into new clothing items.
Since September 2019, Uniqlo has collected over 620,000 jackets in its native Japan which will be used to create this new range.
1 – “Looop” by H&M
H&M’s “Looop” technology is a cutting-edge “garment-to-garment recycling system” in its store, which shreds old clothes and spin them into brand new ones in front of customers.
It’s new “Looop” system will be launched at its flagship store in Stockholm, marking the first time its revolutionary garment recycling system will be revealed to the public.
Looop takes customers old clothing, cleans it, shreds it into fibres, then spins these into a new yarn which can be used to create brand new clothing.
Shoppers are be able to watch the entire process, which uses no water and no chemicals, take place inside the glass installation in real time.