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Fashioning Waste

Solutions to reduce waste from the fashion industry

There was a time when an astronaut had nothing in common with a fashion designer or hi-tech research lab had nothing to do a make-up artist, but technology has linked everyone owing to its indefatigable habit of jumping industries and breaking barriers. Like a ball of wool, technology holds the truest potential to form and enhance the fabric of society and bind people together.

While your thoughts may focus on how new age intelligent systems are making new products, I’d like to draw your attention to how these systems are being put to use to make products from waste and recycled materials. I must remind you that the fashion industry is a huge contributor to environmental pollution and waste, and therefore it must put its own waste to use in some way.

A Seattle based company choose to name their company Evernu in tandem with their intention to transform old clothing into new, again and again, with technology which converts discarded clothes into pulp, from which new fibre is prepared, thereby putting an end to textile waste. Worn Again is another company that is trying to develop technology that will use textile waste and old clothes to make new yarn for clothing.

Bionic has taken it even further. Bionic’s yarn is made from waste plastic! The resulting yarn is stronger and produces fast drying fabric that has already been in use by some of the popular and even luxury brands.  The process involves melting plastic bottles and extruding tiny fibres which are spun together and wrapped in a protective outer layer. The thread thus formed is sustainable and high performance. Without the backing of knowledge in textiles and engineering and with only their passion and vision to drive them, it took the company’s founder duo Tyson Toussant and Tim Coombs six years to develop and fine tune their yarn.

Novozymes, a Danish company with a large presence in the Biological solutions space, offers solutions that use enzymes and microorganisms that help the textile industry reduce usage and wastage of chemicals, water and energy, besides ensuring that the biodegradable enzymes do not interfere with the quality of any water bodies. It also helps apparel manufacturers adhere to environmental legislation and engage in innovation.

Apart from recycling and minimizing waste, there are other solutions people are coming up with to do their bit for the environment. A Dutch designer named Daan Roosegaarde, has brought Beijing Smog Rings to market, which are made from captured smog in the heavily polluted Beijing air. Each such finger ring will remove one cubic kilometer of polluted air using patented ion technology and a nano air purifier, which will facilitate the creation of smog free zones in the city.

Designers and innovators around the world are working towards the development of a more ethical and responsible fashion industry. Consumers are becoming more aware and sensitive to how their fabric was made and how much damage their choices are causing to the environment. The fashion industry, being what it is, can make it possible to transform waste into something beautiful and of everyday utility.