Apples, seaweed and wine - nature's own materials are driving fabric innovation!

How often do you think about what you are wearing? Not how you have styled yourself…I am sure you look fabulous!... I am talking about what the clothes are made of.
Imagine a skirt made from apples and a handbag made from wine. Yep, wine! As strange as it may sound, this will soon be reality.

This week the 7th Future Fabrics Fair took place in London. Organised by the Sustainable Angle organisation, it showcased sustainable fabrics from mills all over the world to representatives from established and start-up fashion brands alike.

In contrast to a more traditional fabric fair two week’s previously with very low footfall, it was amazing to walk into a packed room, buzzing with energy; and queuing to check out all these new and exciting materials. No doubt about it, sustainable fashion is rapidly gaining in popularity!
Conventional cotton, viscose, acrylic etc were nowhere to be seen. Instead, we wondered at innovative fabrics based on apples, wine, nettles, oyster shells and plastic recovered from the sea.
Best of all, brush aside any notions that sustainable fabric still implies dull faded colours, harsh hand feels and hemp sacks, for the room was bursting with beautiful leather-like fabrics, soft twills, lightweight silky knits and vibrant colours.

While there, I witnessed two schools of thought regarding innovations in fibres; one was the development of methods to recycle existing man-made fibres, while the other was focused on innovative ways to exploit nature’s own materials. I was very pleased to see how our industry is embracing these directions since, while we strive to be kinder to the planet through the creation of new fibres, we still need to find ways to reuse these already-existing synthetics materials that will never degrade.

VILDNIS is always keen to introduce such innovation materials into our collection, just as long as it meets our standards on look, performance and hand feel. The latest addition to our fabric library is SeaCell; a silky soft fabric made from sustainably harvested Icelandic seaweed. Biodegradable, carbon neutral and – if the marketing claims are anything to go by – packed with vitamins and antioxidants. What’s not to like!?

Some of the new fibres and fabrics, like the wine leather, are still in the development phase and we cannot wait till they become widely available. It is also interesting to see what the future brings; who knows…‘Today I am wearing strawberries with champagne lining and accessorising in chocolate’ may soon not be that crazy a statement ;-)


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