Brands are eyeing eco-friendly fibers as the future of fashion

Sustainability is becoming evermore en vogue as young consumers combat their carbon footprint with apparel that’s not only environmentally friendly but easy on the eyes as well. As part of the growing trend towards eco-exhibitionism, the fashion industry is making use of new offerings that leverage sustainable materials.


Global lifestyle brand GANT drew inspiration from its maritime living heritage to launch a line of shirts made from upcycled ocean waste. Part of the company’s sustainability initiative called Beacons Project, the shirts for men and women feature 10% upcycled plastics made with the help of SEAQUAL, a unique ingredient fiber brand that converts plastics collected from the sea into a polyester filament. Thinking holistically about sustainability, the shirts also feature buttons and packaging made from recycled materials. The garments are part GANT’s technical line of moisture-wicking and breathable shirts called Tech Prep and are available in stores and online.


New Jersey startup Modern Meadow is biofabricating a leather made from lab-grown collagen that has the same properties as animal skins but with a much lower carbon footprint. The company revealed the material, called Zoa, at an exhibit focusing on the future of fashion at MoMA in NYC this fall. Per Fast Company, Modern Meadow’s alternative to leather is the latest innovation in the field of cellular agriculture, the process being used by companies like Impossible Foods and New Wave Foods, which are applying food science and genetic engineering to develop eerily accurate plant-based meats.


Some experts estimate that the garment industry leaves behind 40 billion square meters of leftover textiles worldwide each year, and model-turned-entrepreneur Christy Dawn Petersen is using these deadstock fabrics for her eponymous brand, Christy Dawn. Taking a page from Reformation’s playbook, the company is selling out of limited-edition dresses made from would-be wasted fabrics, all manufactured in downtown LA. The dresses come packaged in a wooden box to reduce consumption of plastic bags and further up the sustainability factor.