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All the sustainable materials you should have on your radar for a more conscious wardrobe

Time for our wardrobes to be as sustainable as our naked selves.

14 May 2019

Being naked may well be the most sustainable option, but it's not always the most practical.

Thankfully, making conscious sartorial choices is only getting easier.

With the fashion industry finally being held accountable for the footprint that it's leaving on the earth, companies are being forced to re-think the way they create their clothes in order to comply with the ever-growing sustainability demands of their customer.

According to J Brand, who spoke exclusively to GLAMOUR UK about their pledge to become 100% sustainable by 2020, there are surprisingly a lot of big changes that can be made easily "simply by adopting new practices".

And if you think it's just a passing fad that you needn't acknowledge, J Brand have some advice for you, too. "Sustainability - as it contributes to reducing global warming - is massive in scope. It would be impossible for it to be overlooked with the amount of information accessible in the present day."

"So many brands in the denim and fashion space have become more eco-conscious in their approach to design. It’s not so much a fad as it is a responsibility."

So now you're (surely?!) fully on-board, here's our extensive glossary of all the sustainable fabrics that you can wear as guilt-free as if you were running around in the nud...

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Organic Cotton

It takes an enormous amount of water and chemicals to produce traditional cotton, whereas organic cotton is grown from non-genetically modified plants, and harvested without any toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, or genetically modified seeds.

Apple Leather

Using the cores and skins discarded from the industrial food industry, apples are puréed, spread on a solid sheet and dehydrated until almost all of the moisture has been removed. This purée turns into a flexible, leathery sheet that is then combined with Polyurethane to create the vegan leather. Hello, apple leather.

Hemp

With a texture lot like linen, this specific type of cannabis plant is fast growing, does not exhaust the soil and does not require pesticides. It creates a strong, durable fabric which doesn’t irritate your skin.

Orange Fiber

A substance made from citrus juice by-products, repurposing them to create silk-like cellulose fabric.

Mushroom Leather

A substance called Mycelium - which is essentially a mass of cells on the underground root structure of mushrooms - is grown in bulk with additional nutrients to form an interconnected 3D network of the cells. These are then compressed to form a 2D material and then tanned and dyed to form the final product, Myloâ„¢, or mushroom leather.

Wine Leather

Vegea, an Italian brand that won a 2017 H&M Foundation Global Change Award, is creating luxurious leather using Grape waste materials – such as skins, seeds, and stalks – from the wine industry.

BLOOMâ„¢ Foam

A plant-based flexible foam using algae biomass from freshwater sources at high risk of algal bloom.

Cork

Cork is a natural, biodegradable material that's produced predominantly in Portugal, home to many cork oak trees. One of the best things about cork is that it can be harvested without having to cut down the tree – and it grows back, making it a renewable resource.

Pineapple Leather

Piñatex® is a natural leather alternative made from cellulose fiber extracted from pineapple leaves.

Fruit-and-Flower Leather

This material can be adapted to mimic the many different textures, thicknesses, and shades of animal leather - and the waste generated during the manufacturing process can even be used as a liquid compost.

Kombucha Leather

A by-product of kombucha tea can be used to make a 100% biodegradable vegan leather. By fermenting the tea with sugar and vinegar, using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, cellulose fibres develop, and they can be crafted into a leather-like material.

Lab-Grown Leather

By bioengineering a strain of yeast, US-based company Modern Meadow produces collagen cells, which it grows via fermentation to replicate actual animal skin. It's possible to create as much or as little material as needed, in a form that fits the specific criteria of each design.

Reclaimed Fabric

Often confused with 'recycled fabric' (which is when fibres of old pieces are broken down and turned into a new fabric), 'reclaimed fabric' is essentially deadstock left over material by manufacturers or vintage fabric that is bought secondhand and therefore costing nothing at all to produce.

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