Sustainable Materials: Here’s what you need to know, and these innovations are already here
If you want to consume sustainably, you have to pay attention to a few things, because the devil is in the details. An important topic that underlies everything, in addition to the manufacturing processes, are the origins and components of the sustainable materials, from which fashion pieces and other textiles are later made. But what exactly are sustainable materials at all and what different substances are there? We have summarized everything important on the subject for you, including exciting new materials and innovations that are already on the market.
What are sustainable fabrics and what should you pay attention to?
Sustainable materials or eco-fabrics are characterized in particular by the fact that they are based on natural products, taking into account social aspects and are manufactured in an environmentally friendly manner. The whole thing is usually checked with the help of seals that bring along a number of criteria that have to be met. But it doesn’t stop there, because further processing such as dyeing or coating is also a big point when it comes to the question of how sustainable materials are made. Quite complex and sometimes not so easy to see through. However, as a rough guide, it can be said that sustainable fabrics in general should be as environmentally friendly as possible. And that over the entire manufacturing process – from the extraction of raw materials to the question of how they can become part of a circular system. An important benchmark for this is of course transparency, because only if every little detail can be traced can you really be sure that you are dealing with sustainable materials.
Sustainable materials: This is what you should know about eco-friendly materials
Before we dig deeper, it’s important to know that when it comes to sustainable materials, a lot has to do with the fibers used in manufacturing. Natural fibers that grow and are obtained without external influences are of course always the best choice. But even these resources are finite, which is why natural materials obtained from regenerative sources are increasingly becoming the focus of the sustainability debate. They promise great future potential, since their raw materials are usually very resistant, require little maintenance and grow back again and again. And ideally they are also biodegradable.
But back to the fibers, because there are also significant differences. On the one hand there are the monofibres, from which sustainable materials are obtained that only have one main component and can therefore be recycled much more easily. Because the frequently used mixed fabrics are often difficult or even impossible to separate into their individual components and process separately. A problem that we can also observe with many recycled materials, which in most cases still need a synthetic or virgin raw material content so that they can function and be used as fiber.
Sustainable fabrics at a glance: You should know these materials
Here you will find a list of sustainable materials that are often used in clothing. Since the topic is getting more and more attention, there are now also recycled alternatives for many fabrics.
- Peace Silk is an alternative to conventional silk that is produced under environmentally friendly conditions and without harming the silkworms.
- Organic cotton is a sustainable alternative to conventional cotton and is characterized by the fact that it is produced in compliance with certain regulations. For example, no synthetic chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides may be used.
- EcoVero, Lyocell and Modal are fibers made from cellulose and wood based on natural and renewable resources. The alternatives to viscose are produced in a water-saving and environmentally friendly manner and are part of the portfolio of the Lenzing Group, which develops various sustainable materials under the umbrella term Tencel.
- Linen is a natural fiber that is obtained from the stalks of the flax plant and is particularly popular in summer because of its breathable properties.
- hemp is a plant material that can be used to create strong and durable fabrics. They wrinkle less and are known for their textured texture, similar to linen.
- cupro is an alternative to traditional silk and a waste product of the cotton industry. Since the cupro fiber is only partially composed of natural materials that are chemically upgraded, the substance is quite controversial.
Sustainable materials of the future: These substances are being worked on
What at first sounds like something out of a movie are innovative design solutions that scientists and designers are pursuing around the world in order to make the (fashion) industry more sustainable. They use high-tech processes and unusual approaches that prove how much (untapped) potential there is in the field of sustainable materials and future-oriented projects. Because the implementation of these advanced materials and designs shows “that a brand can create its own market that did not exist before by creating products that people really care about, that make them think and reflect and inspire conscious consumption ”, explains Sebastian Thies, founder of the sustainable “state of the art” sneaker brand Nat-2 from Munich. Here we have brought you some pretty exciting sustainable materials that could change the future of the (fashion) industry.
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