After weeks of planning and procrastinating, I finally concluded the gruelling task of reorganizing my closet. I got rid of a tonne of clothing that could now be termed as ‘archaic’. I decided to treat myself by taking a trip to the mall and investing in a few trendy outfits. I realized that I had splurged a little more than I ought to, but some expenses never hurt! (wink!)
After my shopping trip I perched in a café sipping on a hot cuppa coffee thinking of what I could do with the discarded clothing. I planned on recycling my stuff in the attempt of satiating my soul. But honestly does everyone really think of recycling old clothes?
It may interest you to know that the fashion industry is one of the most prominent industries contributing to global warming. There is a staggering purchase of over 90 billion pieces of apparel recorded annually. This keeps growing at a steady rate with every passing year. And a gazillion tonne of apparel end up in landfills, causing the environment to deplete even faster. I shuddered at the thought of leaving a toxin filled planet for the future generations to follow and decided on reconsidering my purchases.
I exchanged my picks for ‘eco’ trends. This typically involves a higher use natural fibres that compost in a matter of 18-20 days. As I looked around and read more, I have begun to realize that designers are opting to incorporate natural or organic fibres in their clothing. Which typically means that brands, which can use the eco fashion labelling, must involve 60% to 90% of compostable fabric (including dyes) in the overall ready garment.
This encouraged me to pick up very trendy apparel finished in natural yarns comprising of elements like hemp, cotton, linen, silk, wool, cashmere, and bamboo. The trick is to keep at bay all synthetically manufactured fibres of the likes of rayon, nylon, polyester, and spandex that could take more than 200 years to compost. Even the process of breaking down fabrics such as these could release methane in the environment causing more harm. We must bear in mind that dyes colouring the fabrics could (and largely) comprise of chemicals too.
People normally steer away from eco fabric owing to the dye used. The pigments bleed in the first wash, leaving the garment looking listless. However with the use of latest techniques, it is now possible to retain the colour on the fabric and keep the same from bleeding. Eco fabrics normally use vegetable/fruit dyes. If done correctly the colour gets richer and more intense with every wash. Take indigo for instance! The fabric acquires a richer look with every wash.
It was interesting to learn that renowned sports brands have now begun incorporating biodegradable fabric as well. Researchers state that natural yarns have a more pronounced ability to withstand bacteria and other microbes. These fabrics are highly absorbent and one can swaddle a baby without having to worry about any reaction to the child’s skin.
One keenly observes sweeping changes in the consumer buying patterns. Over the years commercial fabric have secured a strong foothold in the market. But producers now have to cope with the swelling consumer demands for eco fabrics. Researchers state that some fabrics like the Pina fabric from Philippines, is making a successful revival from the Hispanic era. Pina translates to Pineapple in Spanish. This means that the fabric is woven using fibres procured from the leaves of the pineapple plant. The fibre is woven together with silk or polyester to impart the necessary density and character. The Pina fabric has lustrous sheen and was popularly adorned in the yester years. However with the arrival of economically viable machine made fabrics, the fabric lost its foothold in the Philippines and also in the regions where the fabric would be traded. Even today Pina is considered the Queen of Fabrics in the Philippine region.
The other fabric that caught my fancy was the one created from mycelium or mushroom roots. Since mushrooms originate from the Fungi family, it is often considered as a disgusting fabric to adorn. But the fabric is armed with 100% anti-microbial properties. The fabric is water repelling and is ideally used in textiles. The fabric is widely suggested to those suffering from skin issues. Mycelium is soft on the skin.
The other natural fibres comprise of banana fibres. Owing to its highly sorbent properties the fabric is often used for industrial purposes.
We at Kyra and Vir believe that we can certainly do our bit of reviving our beloved plant through out couture. We are now looking at involving a greater use of natural or eco fibres in our ever-growing range.Written by: Heer Kothari