These Brands Have Actual Plans For Sustainability
I often ask myself, ‘Where is fashion going?’ With all the effort in trying to remedy one of the largest producers of waste in the world, somebody knows or else we’d be subject to thrift shopping for yesteryears looks, or perpetual – ‘thrifting’.
Since Joseph Jacquard enhanced the commercialization of weaving fabrics and producing textiles his Jacquard Loom, specific designs could be replicated using a punch card system, which embedded the specific design. Now codes can be uploaded to enable 3D printers to create fashion without the traditional molds, enhancing the fantasy and outlook of aspects of the industry. With a focus on innovation as well as style and accessibility, these brands are some that are helping us construct a new consciousness of sustainability in fashion.
IRIS VAN HERPEN: Couture
With no need for molds, 3D printing is making efficient use of materials. Iris Van Herpen, Dutch Fashion designer is exemplifying this process, bridging traditional Couture techniques with innovative 3D construction. She is credited as the first person to really put 3D printing to the fashion test, debuting her first 3D garment at Amsterdam Fashion week in 2010. From that early experiment, she has set the tone for pushing creative bounds in fashion – the same rubber-like material used in her dress creations is used in the production of the Adidas Futurecraft 4D.
Adidas has plans to expand the production of the Futurecraft 4D sneaker, released earlier in 2018. This shoe bears a Primeknit upper and 3D printed midsole made from the fabrication company: Carbon 3D. Carbon 3D produces other familiar items, such as football helmets and invisible braces out of their Silicon Valley headquarters. The Futurecraft 4D is a resilient shoe focused on performance. With mass production as a goal, Adidas and Carbon plan to stock this shoe for consumers everywhere. 3D printing would allow for retail customizability for shoppers. The lattice structure resembled by the sole is made with Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis™ technology, a blend of polyurethane and UltraViolet curable resin. These shoes are – sustainable!
… Yes! Adidas 3D printed shoe soles could help recycle efforts in fashion – like the Adidas Parley sneaker, made of recycled ocean plastic. Yes! This can eliminate waste. And, Yes! We should care – about the customizable future Adidas has in mind for its shoppers, as well as a sustainable future for fashion…
MUD JEANS: Denim
MUD Jeans has a vision of “a world without waste” all the way from the Netherlands. They’ve eliminated the use of leather patches on their denim, replacing with paper and printed labels. The denim is 40% recycled denim. Add stainless steel buttons and you have a truly recyclable garment. Not thrift, but a brand – new.
Besides being able to recycle old pairs of jeans, MUD is creating a fashion culture that has a future around recycling. With a lease system, they want every garment to come back to be recycled. If you intend to keep the pair of jeans, repairs are provided for free. Or a new paired can be traded for your old pair of MUD jeans after the one-year rental term is up. Thrift, what? Vintage, who? Brands recycling garments to harvest fabric is a step up from the shredders and incinerators of tradition.
Upcycle may have been setting up a blueprint for recycling garments with its Recycled Collection. With the use of upcycled water, plastic bottles and post-industrial cotton, it took 2 years of getting to a final product that was up to par. They provide wholesale and produce entire garments in Los Angeles where the brand was born. Processes such as these can be implemented for other brands. The two owners of Upcycle are former American Apparel employees who wanted to keep the vision for sustainability, after the purchase of the L.A. based brand by a larger t-shirt manufacturer.
As forefathers of the movement, and spending a little over a decade in perfecting their craft, Bionic® is a standard when it comes to recycling materials (ocean plastics) and applying them to fashion, as well as lifestyle. Since its inception, founders Tyson Toussant and Tim Coombs have dedicated their lives to not only ridding oceans of plastic but making use of the single-use plastics and creating applicable yarns and polymer. Teaming up with Pharrell Williams in the early stages was key to creating demand around what they were offering. Tyson and Tim are breaching related industries like automotive, décor and even maritime fashion, a call back to their oceanic root.
Thoughts on fashion are growing into actions followed by execution. When fashion-activist speak, the fashion world tends to listen… Albeit, Fur. If more of fashion were capable of producing garments in non-destructive, reductive ways, we’d be in a more sustainable environment. Subject to the warp of time, thrift shops exist because of these recyclable patterns in fashion- from designs to trends and now to materials. Fostering ideas of efficiency and being able to repurpose materials, fashion is going where essentially the automobile industry is going. Tech-infused and stylish all in one, while giving sentiment to its destructive past (Volkswagen lied to us), the outlook is to be greater at co-existing with the environment we all share.
What’s to say these technologies can’t be used on a mass scale, ensuring responsible production throughout. To lead the fashion industry into the world of recycled garments outside of thrift, possibly high-end.