Height of eco fashion? Heels made of grapes! HANNA WOODSIDE reveals the maddest new planet-friendly fabrics
- Amelia Windsor shared a photo wearing a bra made of seaweed and wood pulp
- Hanna Woodside says eco-fabrics are now fashionable in themselves
- She explores some of the most unusual eco-fabrics now available in the UK
You might think your wardrobe already contains modern eco-friendly fabrics — but bamboo viscose, or even polyester from recycled bottles are no longer revolutionary.
The next generation of sustainable yarns takes textile innovation to another level, transforming coffee, crab shells and even the contents of your fruit bowl into a fashion outfit.
In fact, eco-fabrics are now fashionable in themselves. Last month, Lady Amelia Windsor, 25, shared pictures of herself in a pink £36 bra made of seaweed and wood pulp, a collaboration between her and designer Alexander Clementine. And Stella McCartney recently unveiled a bustier and trousers made from ‘mushroom leather’.
Hanna Woodside explores some of the most unusual eco-fabrics now available in the UK. Pictured: H&M shoes made from grapes
The vegan leather, called Mylo, is made from mycelium, a fungal material that grows in a vast underground network. Once processed, tanned and dyed to make a soft, supple material, it feels and looks like the real thing.
Here are some of the most unusual eco-fabrics now available . . .
It’s not just vegan eating that’s taken off — there has been a boom in demand for plant-based leathers as well.
Piñatex is made from the fibres of pineapple leaves, left over from harvests. It’s used by various British designers — from Altiir’s metallic biker jackets in silver and gold (£380, altiir.com) to the watch straps at Votch (from £135, votch.co.uk).
Piñatex is made from the fibres of pineapple leaves, left over from harvests. Pictured: Altiir’s metallic biker jacket (£380, altiir.com)
Leftover apple cores and skins from the fruit juice industry create AppleSkin plant-based leather, found in Volkswagen car interiors, a range of Philippe Starck furniture and a limited-edition Tommy Hilfiger trainer.
Then there’s Vegea, a grape leather, made with skins, stalks and seeds discarded during winemaking. H&M Studio’s recent SS21 collection includes a pair of Vegea shoes (£119.99, hm.com), while Reve-en-Vert stocks a Vegea crop top (£250, reve-en-vert.com).
SeaCell is a seaweed-infused fabric that claims to be good for sensitive skin. Pictured: John Lewis’s simple tee for £39.95
As modelled by Amelia Windsor, SeaCell is a seaweed-infused fabric that claims to be good for sensitive skin. Harvesting only the part of the seaweed able to regenerate, it is washed, dried, ground and incorporated into cellulose fibre (made from wood pulp). Curious? John Lewis stock a simple tee made with SeaCell for £39.95.
Marine wear gets weirder than that though. Allbirds have an airy T-shirt (£45, allbirds.co.uk) from TrinoXO, a cutting-edge fabric that uses Chitosan, an anti-odour fibre made from discarded snow crab shells.
The soles on Allbirds’ bestselling Tree Runners (pictured) are created with SweetFoam, made from renewable sugarcane from Brazil
The bouncy soles on Allbirds’ bestselling Tree Runners (£95, allbirds.co.uk) are created with SweetFoam, made from renewable sugarcane from Brazil, where it grows with rainwater.
Reebok’s C&C collection has a caster bean oil insole, while the soles are made from Susterra, a corn-based rubber alternative. The classic tennis-inspired Club C trainers (£52.47, reebok.co.uk) from the C&C collection come in army green, pink and chalk.
Swiss brand Qwstion has multi-functional Bananatex bags, made from the stalks of the Abaca banana plant. Pictured: Bucket bag
It is the stalks of the Abaca banana plant that make Bananatex, a new hardwearing fabric. Banana plants are cultivated in Philippine rainforests, then the stalks are cut and fibres processed into a paper-like material. This is spun into a yarn, woven into fabric and waterproofed with beeswax.
Swiss brand Qwstion has multi-functional Bananatex bags, from a crossbody that doubles as a hip pouch (€70/£61, qwstion.com) to a bucket bag that turns into a backpack (€135/£117). Footwear brand Good News’s collaboration with H&M is a unisex 1970s-inspired trainer collection (from £39.99) using sustainable fabrics including Bananatex.
Activewear designer Coalatree makes a lightweight hoodie (pictured) made from coffee grounds
Some 18 million tons of used coffee grounds are produced each year, an untapped, renewable resource now developed into a yarn called S Café. The fabric is 95 per cent recycled plastic, but the game-changer is its coating using oils extracted from used coffee grounds.
Activewear designer Coalatree makes a lightweight hoodie (£89, coalatree.eu) from coffee grounds, while Rens Original make eye-catching laceless trainers (€99, rens original.eu) with a coffee yarn upper.
ROSE PETAL SILK
Swedish label Bite Studios uses ‘rose petal silk’, made using waste petals broken down then spun into smooth, shiny fibres. Pictured: Dress made from organic silk
Silk might be biodegradable but silk farms use huge amounts of energy. Swedish label Bite Studios uses ‘rose petal silk’ instead, using waste petals broken down then spun into smooth, shiny fibres. The resulting pieces have the beautiful fluidity of real silk.
A similarly luxurious, silky fabric comes from Italian company Orange Fiber.
It extracts fibres from citrus-juice by-products; in Italy alone, 700,000 tons of citrus waste are produced each year.
The result is a spinnable polymer enriched with essential oils. There’s been a capsule collection with Salvatore Ferragamo and a bardot top with H&M.
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