Organic Fabrics and Other Green Technologies in Fashion

The fashion industry has evolved a lot over the years. Be it the designs, the techniques, and tools used for processing the material, ways used to recycle the waste; everything has changed.

The value of global apparel market is approximately 3 trillion dollars and also accounts for 2% of the world’s GDP.  The garment industry accounts for around 10% of carbon emissions globally and is the second largest industrial polluter, after oil.

The amount of pollution caused by fashion industry alone is so large that it definitely needs to be looked at seriously by everyone working with or utilising the products produced by this 3 Trillion USD industry.

With time, people have changed with regards to their taste in products they consume, the way they look at things, the awareness they have about global issues. This has helped introduce the sustainable clothing and other green technology in the fashion industry. As the awareness about the concerns is growing among people, they are open to accepting eco-friendly and organic options for their daily necessities.

Considering this, the fashion industry has been utilising newer technologies and processes to make this industry environment-friendly and cause as much less pollution as it can. Organic fabrics and green technology in fashion are surely gaining pace these days. Also, slowly but steadily people are becoming aware of the importance of green technology in fashion.

Let’s know a little more about the organic fabric/ clothing and its benefits.

Organic fabrics are primarily made from materials grown in compliance with organic agricultural standards. These may be prepared from cotton, jute, silk, wool or any other material that is grown organically. Some of the positives of Organic Fabric include:

–    No usage of pesticides or other chemicals

–    Organic farming produces very fewer CO2 emissions

–    Organic farming needs far less water thus saving it for another purpose

–    Fabric is easily recycled without creating any waste residue in the land

So yes, if you look at all the details carefully, it is evident that organic fabrics and the usage of green technology in fashion is surely the future of this industry to flaunt the fabulous designs we like without harming the environment.

Nowadays, almost every type of fabric is produced organically like cotton, jute, silk, wool, etc. This allows the designers and manufacturers to create an array of various creative designs to suit the choices of different consumers.

Apart from the usage of organic fabrics, there are many other techniques and technological advances that are used in the fashion industry which are eco-friendly.

o    Fabric from food products

Fabric from food products

A lot of companies are manufacturing fabrics from different food products like milk, tea/coffee. This fabric is as good as the traditional fabric and also easy to recycle. Many designers use this method, and people love this innovative fabric.

  • Natural cellulosic fabric

Natural cellulosic fabrics

One of the modern organic materials in the news is natural cellulosic fabric like LIVA. This one is made from natural fibers derived from wood pulp which is a renewable resource and is super comfortable, soft and chic. It is popular for its flow and the way it transforms the overall look of the person wearing this fabric. To produce this fabric, trees are specially grown so that the green cover of the earth is not depleted. Also, the production process saves an enormous amount of water as compared to other fabrics. This eco-friendly fabric is being used by a lot of brands and is already gaining popularity amongst the consumers.

  • Air dying

Air dying-organic fabrics

Keeping aside the age-old technique of dying fabrics using tonnes and tonnes of chemicals, recently the air dying technique is gaining pace. Also, this technology saves a lot of water and energy and does not produce any harmful by-products.

o    Digital printing

digital printing-organic fabrics

A very innovative green technology used in the fashion industry these days is digital printing. In this method, prints are directly applied to the fabric thereby reducing the usage of water and minimising the waste. Digitally printed clothes are already very popular amongst the consumers.

o    Fabrics from Plastic and Glass Bottles

fabric from plastic and glass bottles-organic fabric

Yes, you heard it right. A lot of companies use the latest technology wherein clothing material is made out of old plastic bottles and glass bottles. Typically, in this method, the plastic/ glass bottles are broken down into fine pieces, molten and then combined with other fabric like cotton to create a new fabric which is soft, durable and eco-friendly. Mostly, a lot of companies use this technology to make denim.

o    Hand Dying

hand dying-organic fabrics

While the fashion industry is using a lot of innovative and new-age technology, some companies are going back to the age-old technique of hand dying using organic dyes prepared from locally grown produce. Majorly, smaller companies are opting for this method and not the huge fashion houses.

o    Water-free washing technology for denim

A new technology allows us to do a waterless wash to create the different types of finishes we see on the denim. As per its name, this technique reduces the usage of water to 28-96%.

o    Direct Panel on Loom (DPOL) technology

Direct Panel on Loom (DPOL) technology-organic fabrics

Popularly known as Smart Tailoring, Direct Panel on Loom (DPOL) technology was created by an Indian designer to increase the fabric efficiency and to reduce the lead-time to manufacture high-end garments. In this method, the weaving, fabric cutting and patterning happens together. The loom machine is attached to a computer system wherein details about the design, pattern, colour, etc. are entered into the system. The loom directly produces exact cut pieces with the designs which just need to be constructed together to prepare the final clothing piece.

o    Upcycled Jewelry

upcycled jewelry-organic fabrics

A lot of companies are upcycling waste products like paper scraps, old keyboards, etc. to create funky and innovative jewellery.

o    Recyclable Shoes/ Fabric

recyclable shoes-organic fabrics

Another innovative green technology used in the fashion industry is recyclable shoes/ material. This fabric and shoes are made from 100% recyclable material and are undoubtedly unique and trendy.

o    Bio-filtering Wastewater

As we all know, a lot of waste water is produced through the different processes and steps followed by the fabric manufacturers in the fashion industry. As much as we need to create green technology for producing and treating the fabric, we equally need green technology to filter or process the wastewater. Bio-filtering is an innovative process that helps to remove the most toxic textile dye components by breaking them down through treatments like ozone treatment which is then followed by the actual bio-filtering wherein the filter has aggregates of microorganisms that process the wastewater in an eco-friendly way. Compared to traditional filtering methods, this technique produces almost 80% less sludge.

This article provides just a glimpse of the various green technologies that is used in the fashion industry lately. Researchers are always on the lookout for newer and more efficient technologies that will help the fashion industry take the greener route for various procedures. We will surely see many more technological advances that will assist the fashion industry to take the green path and contribute to maintaining a clean and green environment.

Also, the consumers are not yet very open to the idea/ concept of organic fabrics or other green technology in fashion. As the organic fabric is a little bit more expensive than the traditional ones, people tend to opt for the traditional fabric without giving it much thought. Hence there is much requirement of creating awareness among them for the adoption of these advances in the fashion industry.

A lot of designers and fashion brands like The Vanca are now adopting the usage of organic materials and other green technologies in their processes. They positively support the newer green methods for the long-term environment-friendly benefits as well as the efficiency and durability of such clothing. However, just utilising the green technology in the production and processing is not enough. Companies should also focus on raising awareness amongst the consumers about the importance and benefits of the organic fabric and green technology that is being used in the fashion industry. This will surely help them popularise the idea of organic materials and nature-friendly green technologies and also help the larger cause of adapting to eco-friendly ways of daily needs. Slowly but eventually, people will accept the greenway which will lead to pollution free, healthy and clean environment.

Image Courtesy:

Treehugger.com
The Vanca
Lazydyer.blogspot.in
Silkmelody.com
Greenbottle.weebly.com
Thetextileicon.com
Treehugger.com
Emaze.com
3ders.org