Fruit is no longer just to eat now, H&M knows very well that it has decided to unveil a spring / summer collection of clothes and boots made with orange silk and pineapple leather. The low-cost fashion giant has created the “Conscious Exclusive 2019” collection created with fabricswhose fibers derive from fruit. This project aims to be able to base all the collections on eco-sustainable resources by 2030. An ambitious plan that we believe is possible in view of a more eco-friendly future in all aspects of our lives.
This initiative seems to be the answer to the increase in demand for vegan clothing and accessories, an ethical, eco-sustainable fashion trend that is good for the world, always keeping an eye on the current fashion trends. It needs to consider that the fashion and textile sector is second only to oil one at a global level due to the rate of environmental pollution. The acquisition of raw materials, the textile production, the product disposal, in short, the production cycle of fashion products and fast fashion, in particular, create a strong environmental impact. Fast fashion means fast and low-cost consumption and involves an increase in textile production, with a consequent demand for low-cost fibers, a significant decrease in prices and, finally, a lower awareness on the part of consumers.
What are the most advanced materials created to reduce environmental impact? Also called “green fabrics”, among the innovative yarns we find Orange Fiber. It is a yarn that comes from food industry waste, in particular from orange peels. Orange Fiber has succeeded in creating a high quality yarn through a green chemical process that involves the extraction of the cellulose peel which is then sent to Spain, where it is spun, and returns to Italy for weaving in Como. Exclusive, made in Italy, silky and impalpable, for this reason also called vegan silk. A unique collaboration was also born: the Ferragamo Orange Fiber Collection. Salvatore Ferragamo was the first to grasp the essence and expressive potential of citrus fabric, creating a fresh Capsule Collection, a tribute to Mediterranean creativity.
Another innovative material is undoubtedly Piñatex, a fabric created from the fibers of pineapple leaves, grown in the Philippines. Made by Carmen Hijosa, Spanish entrepreneur and above all a leather expert who has managed to get this sort of vegan leather with which jackets and boots are made. Compared to the skin, it is totally sustainable, in fact to make a square meter of Piñatex it takes about 460 leaves. According to Hijosa’s calculations, with the waste from the top 10 pineapple producing countries, 50 percent of the world’s leather production could be replaced. Piñatex has been used by 500 fashion companies since its inception in 2015, including Hugo Boss who was able to make his vegan sneakers.
H&M Conscious Exclusive / orange silk
H&M Conscious Exclusive / pineapple leather
Orange Fiber / orange silk
Piñatex / pineapple leather
Also interesting is Tencel, an ecological fiber derived from the regeneration of wood cellulose. Tencel’s agricultural practices have been declared sustainable: it eliminates the negative environmental impacts of traditional fiber processing, thanks to the use of new sustainable technologies and chemical extraction processes based on solvents that are not harmful to the environment and recyclable.
Another material is Bloom Foam, a material similar to leather made with algae. A sort of foam composed of algae collected from polluted basins or rivers at the risk of algal overload. The chemical waste poured into the water contains very harmful substances such as nitrites and phosphorus which lead to an uncontrolled development of algae which, in turn, release toxins that alter the ecosystem of the place with great danger to flora and fauna.
The Vegea Textile, an eco-fabric made in Trentino, deserves to be mentioned. It comes from grape waste thanks to an innovative and sustainable process that transforms the pomace into a low impact and cruelty-free “vegan” fabric.
There is the Bionic Yarn, ecological and resistant, it was made by two young people from New York through the union of recycled plastic along with natural synthetic or textile fibers. The bottles used are collected, fused together and divided into fibers, then spun creating what is called “yarn- core”, a final protective layer is wrapped around it. Distributed in different types: one of these is a soft and elegant yarn.
Always from the plant world, comes Soybean Protein Fiber, a textile fiber derived from post- oiling soybeans. Starting from distilled and refined soy, a protein is extracted in the form of liquid. This is subjected to polymerization which modifies the structure and is then cooked to produce yarn. The material obtained from cooking is cut and thermoformed. The fabric obtained is soft, permeable to air and moisture.
Soybeans, but also corn to produce Corn Fiber, an ecological material obtained from corn sugar. Through some processes, from corn sugar, starches and legumes, we obtain polythtic acid, a polymer that produces fabrics resistant to humidity, heat and breathability. The processing residues are used to become fertilizers. The fabric is delicate and slightly stiff, for this reason and for its ability to insulate it is suitable for use in the construction field, in coats, in floors. In clothing, it is useful for stuffing mattresses, pillows and sofas.
Chitosan, on the other hand, is extracted from shrimp scraps, which when mixed with fibers such as linen, cotton and wool creates an ecological fabric. Antiallergic and biodegradable, Craybon is permeable to air, absorbs moisture and protects the skin from allergies. It is indicated for undergarments, for adults and children, for medical fabrics and mattresses.
Thanks to new technologies, all the greats of the fashion world, including H&M, are trying to spread an ecological awareness, in support of a sustainability-oriented consumption. We should therefore keep in mind that fast fashion is only apparently synonymous with cheap clothes, bringing with it instead a huge human, social and environmental cost.
Bloom Foam / materiale alghe
Soybean Protein Fiber