News / Eccentric energy – Sustainability is “in” with the fashion industry

Eccentric energy – Sustainability is “in” with the fashion industry

You may have seen recent news reports about the clothing industry’s detrimental impact on the environment. Writing to Britain’s top 10 fashion retailers, Parliament’s cross-party Environmental Audit Committee requested evidence about the actions they’re taking “to reduce the environmental impact of their products and operations.” The replies – from high street brands including Primark, Next and Marks & Spencer – will form part of the Committee’s inquiry into the sustainability of the UK fashion industry.

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Meanwhile, in its “Stacey Dooley Investigates” series, the BBC aired a documentary called “Fashion’s Dirty Secrets” and published a related article: Are your clothes wrecking the planet? Both explore the damage that “fast-fashion” shopping habits are having on the environment – and look at alternative, more sustainable, ways of creating the right kind of manufacturing materials.

From casein to collagen

One innovation is Qmilk – a polymer based on the milk protein called casein, which is extracted from the raw milk that can’t be traded or used in the food chain.

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In a separate development, designers are working on the possibility of 3D printed clothes, created only after someone has scanned their body. Although the materials may not be sustainable, this approach could help eliminate the issues of wasted stock and excess production.

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Modern Meadow, a company based in New Jersey, has also sent fashion into a frenzy with its animal-free, bio-fabricated materials. The company applies sugar feedstock to yeast cells engineered to create a collagen protein that’s pressed into sheets and tanned to create a new kind of leather.

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