If y'all haven't noticed yet, I am a supporter of sustainable fashion in our industry. I also would like to see the industry contribute less to pollution and more toward a cleaner world.
The environmental impact of the transportation industry is well documented and something that almost everyone is familiar with. We know the negative consequences of burning fossil fuels for air travel and other vehicles. Awareness is also being raised about the drastic effects of the meat industry, and the alarming problems resulting from our unstoppable use of plastic are now also coming to light. Yet there is one industry that touches all of our lives that hasn’t experienced the same level of scrutiny as how we travel or how we eat — the fashion industry.
It seems simple to state, but we all wear clothes every day. There is a huge environmental impact during both the production of clothing, and in the materials that are used. The polyester production for textiles in 2015 alone produced 706 billion kg of greenhouse gases, which is the same as the amount produced by 185 coal-fired power plants. Cotton production is also resource-intensive. It takes 2,700 liters of water to produce a single cotton shirt. There are a growing number of people who are tuned in to these factors, and sustainable fashion is finally starting to enter the mainstream. At this year’s Paris Fashion Week, a number of innovations were unveiled that show the future potential of environmentally conscious and sustainable fashion.
Duma’s company teamed up with fashion pioneer Stella McCartney and Google’s Arts & Culture Lab to present an event at Fashion Week. On display were some of the revolutionary new ideas from six companies that could change the face of fashion. One of the most exciting products came from VitroLabs, a 3-D tissue engineering startup. VitroLabs uses stem-cell technology and tissue engineering to produce ethical leather. Being able to produce leather without the need for animals would not only have a huge environmental impact, but also remove the need for animals, eliminating the ethical concerns associated with the production.
Also exhibiting was Worn Again, which has pioneered a way to reuse non-renewable textiles and clothing to make new clothes. This greatly reduces the environmental impact by saving on the resources needed to produce clothing.