The wrap-up: week 44

Design & Product / Technology

Coming up with 100 per cent sustainable products is a difficult task. When you recycle plastic bottles, for example, you need extra fuel to bring them from A to B and they will still end up as landfill. However, we have to start somewhere. Finding solutions for the problems the fashion industry is causing is like a puzzle and requires a combined effort of all of us. I wrote an article about this for JNC magazine that came out a couple of days ago. Here’s an extract, other findings from this week and whatever this has to do with the guy in the picture. 

Fashion, technology & sustainability: a combined effort to save the planet

„Not too long ago, people from the worlds of fashion, sustainability and technology regarded each other as different species with different priorities. But that is changing. Younger generations in particular are taking a closer look at what we are doing to our planet. They are starting to understand the concept of equity as a form of responsibility towards future generations.“

„We have all heard it so many times before: the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world. Let’s save ourselves the details, but the bottom line is: we’re pigs. And even though we’re talking about it all the time, only a fragment of clothes are sustainable, or upcycled, or whatever it is that we need to do to save resources. The problem is that you won’t be able to change an entire industry overnight with structures and processes that have evolved since industrialisation. Every part of the supply and value chain needs to be rewired and there is still a lot to be done. The good news? There are plenty of people out there who want to make a change.“

The Turkish denim industry is taking big steps to reduce their consumption of water and chemicals, recycling is becoming more and more popular (from re-using fabrics waste to collecting plastic from the see and turn it into filament), producing fabrics from raw materials that are by-products (and as such do not compete with the cultivation of crops) such as coffee grounds or waste from citrus fruits. There are attempts to create leather through a process of DNA editing that grows collagen from yeast and to make shoes from a raw material we basically want to get rid of anyway: CO2. 

„The goal? A circular economy. But how does that work in practice? Just look at nature – and try to leave mankind out of the equation. Nothing ever goes to waste. Large animals eat small animals. Whatever goes into their mouths comes out of the other end, functioning as fertiliser for the soil in which plants grow — which in turn get eaten by other animals, pollinated
by bees… and so on. It would be a perfect system if only it weren’t for us human beings. Our economy is linear. We produce, we consume, we discard. The result: landfill.“

This needs to stop. „To keep this planet a place worth living, it is vital that developments in fashion, technology and sustainability go hand in hand … it’s a puzzle – an invention to save water here, new biodegradable materials there. It’s important to share knowledge and learn from each other to speed up the process and to create solutions that are greater than the sum of their parts.“

This way to get your own copy of the magazine.

WHAT ELSE?

— The most sustainable way to wear clothes is to wear them for as long as possible. I interviewed Julia P. Leifert, the creative mind behind the label Philomena, for Raven Collective and asked her which piece of clothing in her wardrobe she has been wearing the longest. 

— This week it was announced that Olivier Rousteing is bringing back couture to Balmain. I found a little preview on Berlin’s underground (header image – nothing to do with sustainability, though).

The Author

Bjoern Luedtke is a freelance journalist, editor and writer specialising in fashion and marketing