Sustainable Fashion | The New Age Materials Used in Fashion

Leather from Collagen

There has been a drastic growth in the area of synthetic biology. This has made many firms to explore the opportunities this modern science area has to offer. One of the companies at the forefront of this movement is Modern Meadow — a New York-based firm. This company has been able to bio-fabricate an alternative leather known as Zoa.

This sustainable material is made from collagen (a protein) — the major element of natural leather. However, they designed and grew Zoa in a laboratory from yeast-derived animal-free collagen. This new age material can imitate all the traits of leather. It also provides performance properties and new design aesthetics that you cannot get with conventional leather.

It also helps to reduce the high impact of raising and burning the hides of cows (which is a very toxic process) on the environment. The manufacturing process of this material is environmental-friendly and it does not involve killing cows to get leather material.

Leather from Fungi

Some companies also make leather from fungi, which is another highly environment-friendly way of making sustainable materials. Many firms and scientists have been researching and exploring different ways of making new-age materials from fungi.

MycoWorks — a San Francisco-based company — custom-engineered Mycelium in a laboratory with a carbon-negative process. Mycelium is a mushroom root material and they used the ones grown from agricultural byproducts and fungi. Mycelium grows very fast, cultivating it is very easy, and you can manipulate it easily to adopt traits similar to leather. They can also make it to have traits similar to other mainstream materials like polystyrene and wood.

Grass Root Materials

This is another fascinating project that has taken the fashion industry one step closer to being more sustainable. An artist recently explored the production of sustainable materials using the networks of living plants. The emanating material from this project can be used to make garments of the future.

The artist succeeded in creating a procedure that made the roots of wheat plants and oat grow elaborate textile materials like lace. The artist, Diana Scherer, buried templates in the soil, which act as molds. The templates influenced and channeled the root systems of the plant into revealing interwoven structures made from mild ideas and geometrics after the excavation of the fabric.

Enzymes

An enzyme is a particular biocatalyst that you can find in the cells of any living thing. Enzymes provide the opportunity of making textiles with less severe and very simple procedures. This manufacturing process can drastically reduce energy consumption, water consumption, the use of harmful chemicals, as well as the generation of waste.

Enzymes have been able to take the place of many processes used to make textiles in the industry, as they were adopted back in the early 20th century. Stonewashed garments and denim fabrics were made from cellulases and another enzyme group known as laccases.

Cow Manure

In a bid to create a more eco-friendly environment, many companies are now trying to curb waste. This has resulted in the creation of a circular economy model where nothing goes to waste. Inspidere — a Netherlands-based firm — recently created an approach it calls Mestic. This approach involves the production of new, sustainable textiles with manure from a cow.

The procedure is friendly to the environment and it allows for the extraction of cellulose from the manure to make two materials — cellulose acetate and viscose. The company succeeded in extracting pure cellulose by separating and processing the manure in a laboratory.

The extracted cellulose is processed further to produce cellulose acetate and viscose, which are bio-plastic and regenerated cellulose respectively. These two materials can be converted into textiles. The company has achieved significant success in this field and is about to scale up processing.

These are just some of the latest, new age, sustainable fashion trends. There are many more out there, and most of these materials are already in use by several fashion designers.

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