Fast Fashion Goes Green With Mushrooms, Lumber Scraps, and Algae

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Fashion is getting greener, and that can only be a good thing. a recent Bloomberg article (see below) highlights the efforts being made by Inditex SA to recycle such unlikely items as mushrooms and algae into textiles for ‘fast fashion’, but let’s not forget that they owe a lot to one of the  industry’s leading recycled fabrics manufacturer’s; AAPN’s own Unifi, whose innovative Repreve fabric has already been in use for several years.

Fast Fashion Goes Green With Mushrooms, Lumber Scraps, and Algae
Inditex and H&M are developing textiles to reduce the environmental cost of throwaway clothes.

In a factory the size of an airport terminal, laser cutters zip across long sheets of cotton, slicing out sleeves for Zara jackets. Until last year, the scraps that spill out into wire baskets were repurposed into stuffing for furniture or hauled off to a landfill near the plant in the northern Spanish town of Arteixo. Now they’re chemically reduced to cellulose, which is mixed with wood fibers and spun into a textile called Refibra that’s used in more than a dozen items such as T-shirts, trousers, and tops.

The initiative by Inditex SA, the company that owns Zara and seven other brands, highlights a shift in an industry known for churning out supercheap stuff that fills closets for just a few months before being tossed into the used-clothing bin. Gap Inc. promises that by 2021 it will take cotton only from organic farms or other producers it deems sustainable. Japan’s Fast Retailing Co., owner of Uniqlo Co., is experimenting with lasers to create distressed jeans using less water and chemicals. And Swedish retail giant Hennes & Mauritz AB is funding startups developing recycling technologies and fabrics made from unconventional materials such as mushroom roots. “One of the biggest challenges is how to continue to provide fashion for a growing population while improving the impact on the environment,” says Karl-Johan Persson, chief executive officer of H&M. “We need to speed the shift toward waste-free models.” Read More

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