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Sustainable fashion! Saving the planet, one garment at a time

FE Bureau

A rage in fashion that is sure to stay is sustainable fashion. It started off with a few entrepreneurs globally looking at ways to reduce wastage while designing apparel and then slowly took the form of an approach that designers or consumers, for that matter, decided to abide by. It is precisely about being conscious of the environment and the resources at hand, and making clothes in an eco-friendly manner. Recycling/upcycling of garments as opposed to purchasing newly produced clothes also forms part of making sustainable fashion choices. Some estimates suggest that environmentally-unfriendly behaviour costs the global economy $160 billion each year, which makes it all the more imperative for garment manufacturers and consumers to make conscious choices while styling.

The practice is no more just limited to entrepreneurs experimenting with latest trends in the space. For instance, Raymond Group recently unveiled a range of eco-friendly fabrics manufactured in collaboration with Reliance Industries under the brand name Ecovera. The range will soon hit 1,500 stores across 700 cities and will aim to redeem nearly one million PET bottles from landfills. H&M Foundation also rewarded the top five trends in sustainable fashion with the Global Change Awards of late. Commenting on the rationale behind choosing the five entries out of a total of 6,640 received by H&M, Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation and chief executive officer of H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB, said in a press note, The winners of the Global Change Award prove that it s possible to improve the environmental impact of the fashion industry. They are a true inspiration and great partners to any fashion company that wants to contribute to protecting the planet and our living conditions.

The efforts of sustainable and ethical fashion pioneers seem to be bearing fruit as they are changing the way we dress and live in more ways than one can fathom. From cutting waste and saving animals to creating sustainable fashion fibres and vegan biodegradable leather, let’s dive into the latest trends in sustainable fashion. These five trends were the ones rewarded by H&M Foundation.

Closing loops: A system that aims to close the loop on every garment from design to wear to recycling won a grant of 3,00,000 euros from the foundation. The rationale behind the highest prize being awarded to The Loop Scoop, a company from Germany, was that it gave designers the knowledge, tools and resources they need to design items that can be easily recycled. The technology also offers an ID which can be attached to the garments so that consumers know what they are buying and how they can best recycle the item once they no longer want to wear it.

Eco-friendly outdoor wear: As the garments are worn, torn and washed, the substances which were added to the material to help an individual withstand harsh weather conditions begin releasing non-degradable carcinogenic toxins and micro-plastics into the environment. The Sane Membrane by Switzerland-based Dimpora that won 2,50,000 euros is a mineral-based, flourine-free alternative which can be added to any garment as a thin membrane and provides coverage against the weather conditions in a sustainable way.

Organic fibres: Kenya-based Green Nettle Textile was awarded 1,50,000 euros as part of the 1-million-euro Global Change Award for growing nettles to create sustainable fashion fibres and opportunities for farmers in Kenya in order to boost their livelihoods. Stinging nettles grow all year round in the forests of Kenya and yield stalks that can be turned into a sustainable linen-like fabric. These organic fibres are efficient alternatives to conventional fabrics that damage the environment.

Expanding outfits: The Clothes that Grow technology created by UK-based Petit Pli can go a long way in reducing wastage and making optimum use of resources. The garments by Petit Pli are versatile and rainproof embedded with a patent pending structure that allows them to grow in proportion to the child. Basically the clothes would custom fit children from nine months to four years as they grow. The company received grant worth 1,50,000 euros for their sustainable invention.

Vegan leather: Heard of leather that can be made without harming animals and damaging the environment? Here’s an invention that won an award worth 1,50,000 euros from the H&M Foundation for the heart behind this mindboggling development. Peru-based Le Qara came up with Lab Leather which is formed using microorganisms derived from flowers and fruits grown in a biotech lab. The process makes it possible to ape any desired leather texture and is 100% biodegradable.