The latest in sustainable fashion

The environmental impact of the fashion industry is significant, but some brands are making real efforts to reduce carbon emissions by turning underutilized materials and textile waste into new clothes and accessories. Could the future of sustainable style be found in mushrooms or dandelions? While they may not single-handedly save humanity, the advancements we’re covering today are certainly encouraging. And sometimes, that’s enough.


Cole Haan just released its first-ever sustainable sneaker using an outsole inventively created from, of all things, dandelions. Who knew such an annoying weed had the power to do so much good? Indeed, dandelions can be turned into rubber as a sustainable alternative to synthetic rubber derived from fossil fuels. In addition to the patent-pending FlowerFoam, as the brand has dubbed the dandelion-based material, the shoe uses vegan microfiber suede (21% of which is recycled) and reconstructed felt fabric (made of 85% recycled plastic bottles), as well as 100% PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) laces. The second iteration of Cole Haan’s Generation Zerøgrand style, this gender-neutral sneaker was designed specifically with young consumers in mind (which explains why “Gen Z” is literally in the shoe’s name).


The Lycra Company is one of the largest textile companies in the world; it also happens to be one of the most innovative. In the last few weeks, it’s introduced not one but two new fibers that are notable in very different ways. The first, called Lycra Dual Comfort, is a stretch fiber made with 68% sustainable resources and designed for functional performance with technology to keep consumers cool and dry. On the other end of the spectrum (or thermometer, rather) is Thermolite EcoMade, which has a new kind of warming technology for peak insulation and – perhaps most excitingly – is made from 100 percent textile waste. The company recycles discarded fabrics from cutting room floors, which would otherwise be landfill-bound, and converts it into high-performance fibers. Talk about circular fashion.


As part of Lululemon’s push for sustainability, the retailer has introduced a new line of mushroom bags – and we’re not talking about the home design trend that sprouted up in 2021. The Meditation and Yoga Mat bag ($238) and the Lululemon Barrel Duffle bag ($328) are made of Mylo, a material that looks like leather but is actually renewable mycelium – a fancy word for fungus – rather than animal skin. This has been in the works since at least 2020, when Lululemon’s chief product officer told the New York Times about the company’s plans to partner with biomaterials maker Bolt Threads. The launch is part of Lululemon’s mission to create low-impact, performance-driven products that also happen to be of high-quality design.