Textiles, Technology, and Sustainability

There are some really exciting textile advancements current being worked on which have the potential to revolutionise the fashion industry and combat many of the sustainability and ethical issues the industry is now facing. Below are a few of my favourite new textile advancements and a bit of information about them, as well as some links to further information.


Pinatex products by SmithMatthias, Camper, and Carmen Hijosa
  • Leather like material
  • Created from pineapple leaf fibers that would otherwise be wasted
  • By-product of existing pineapple farming
  • Wasted fibers can be turned into natural fertilizer or bio-gas
  • Creates new jobs in places like the Philippines
  • Currently working on making it completely biodegradable
  • Strong, breathable, lightweight, soft, and flexible
  • Can be printed on, easy to cut and stitch

Read more about Pinatex here http://www.ananas-anam.com/pinatex/


Garments by Biocouture


  • Founded by Suzanne Lee
  • Uses bacteria, yeast, fungi, and algae to grow fabric
  • Fabrics are fermented to create bacterial cellulose
  • Creates a leather like material
  • Compostable
  • May lead to living fabrics that could contribute to the wearers health

Read more about Bio couture here https://www.dezeen.com/2014/02/12/movie-biocouture-microbes-clothing-wearable-futures/

Dry Dyeing

  • To dye 1kg of fabric using conventional dyeing methods, around 100-150 litres of fresh water is needed
  • According to World Bank, textile dyeing is responsible for 17-20% of industrial water pollution
  • Dry-dyeing uses high pressure carbon dioxide gas that is turned into a liquid to dye clothing
  • The technique is only available for use with synthetic fabrics

Read more about dry dyeing here http://e360.yale.edu/features/can_waterless_dyeing_processes_clean_up_clothing_industry_pollution


Recycled polyester

Emma Watson’s recycled polyester gown by Calvin Klein at the Met Gala 2016


  • Made from reclaimed PET bottles
  • Plastic is shredded, melted and turned into filament yarn
  • Requires 74-80% less energy to manufacture than virgin polyester
  • Doesn’t require drilling for oil
  • Still uses energy (renewable energy would solve this)
  • Can cause air pollution

Recycled cotton

100% recycled cotton dress by a collaboration of Swedish companies


  • Usually produces very short staple fibers
  • Usually not strong enough for durable textiles so needs to be mixed with virgin fibers
  • Fabric is usually no more than 30% recycled cotton
  • Can be mixed with other fibers, like recycled polyester
  • New technology allows for 100% recycled cotton textiles by turning the reclaimed cotton into a porridge like pulp and processing it the same way as other cellulose fibers like rayon.

Read more about the new technology here https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/sustainable-fashion-blog/sweden-recycled-cotton-technology-fashion-composting


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