A while ago there was an interesting programme on TV called “The next black” about the future of the fashion industry. (It’s also on YouTube). The documentary gets into “wearable tech” but I was more interested in the parts that touched on “sustainability”.
Suzanne Lee (founder of Biocouture*) explained that she had conversations with scientists and engineers about relevant developments for her book about the future of fashion. A biologist recommended her to experiment with culturing bacteria. By doing this she produced a substance she could dye and sew garments with. She used green tea, sugar, an acetic acid and a starter culture of yeast and bacteria. It looked like something in-between rubber and leather.
The same point kept being made during the programme: “Fast fashion” should come to and end. It is being designed in one country, produced in another and sold all over the world. This “Fast fashion” became possible because factories were able to produce faster and faster at less cost. The change must come from consumers that take care of their clothing and start having a connection to it.
A company that makes outdoor wear, Patagonia, wrote history by publishing a an advertisement that said: “Don’t buy this jacket”. It took some convincing to make the marketing department think this was a good idea. What the people that had designed the ad meant was “Don’t buy this jacket if you don’t need it”. The company also started selling repair sets and made video’s explaining how to repair their clothing.
They said money could be saved by buying things that last longer. Clothes should be looked after, repaired and sold if they aren’t being worn anymore. If you wear your cloths longer and maybe repair them yourself you get an emotional connection to them. The production of clothes will never become climate neutral but Patagonia says it is trying to get as close to this as they can.
Also “dry dye” was discussed. This is a fabric dyeing process that has been developed by the Yeh group. This way polluting large amounts of water to dye fabrics for clothes can be prevented.
The designer working with the Yeh group said her ideal for the future of fashion was the use of natural fibers and a dry dye process, and a production process that used as little as possible energy whereby the resulting clothes are bio degradable.
An interesting film to watch if you are interested in fashion…
*Biocouture, a consultancy exploring living organisms to grow clothing and accessories.