Plunging into week 3 of our Sustainable Materials Series, we welcome you! Let's take a deeper look into organic cotton and recycled polyester, ways to support such fibers and the impacts from our consumerism habits at hand. As we graciously brace through Winter 2021 and adhere to life adjustments from COVID-19, who doesn't want to be comfortable? But when you dream of comfort in your clothing, do you imagine cotton? Or maybe polyester?

The team at Active Threads strives to contribute a greater connection and harmony between the way we utilize materials and support conscious fashion directly through our retail choices. Research shows that consumer trends demand organic textiles, and certification standards are at an all time high. As the “dirtiest crop”, industry pioneers like Patagonia, and even fast fashion icons have claimed to fame their commitments to sourcing 100% sustainable cotton. Organic cotton farming practices typically contribute less direct harm to the environment, by utilizing less pesticides to begin with. According to the Soil Association, it offers a 46% reduction in global warming potential, 91% reduction in freshwater consumption, 62% less energy, and 26% reduced eutrophication. At the brink of innovation, companies today are introducing innovative solutions, like Galy. Galy is producing cotton from biomaterial, minimizing environmental footprints by using less water, land and in turn emissions. This is only one spotlight example of a company reinventing the textiles value chain and working to raise the bar.

But what about recycled polyester? Take a look in your closet, do you own any clothing or textiles made from recycled polyester? Large activewear companies like Adidas and Nike are committing to transform as much as 60% of their materials to recycled polyester. As a synthetic yet extremely versatile fiber, recycled polyester indeed diverts and minimizes waste from landfills by incorporating post consumer waste from recycled plastic and bottles for instance. Recent news shares with us large fast fashion company H&M is introducing circular fashion initiatives in 2021, backing recycled polyester and plastic. Recycled polyester closes the loops by generating materials and upcycling products into fabric, however, we must acknowledge collection and business distribution costs. Continued collaboration and expansion of sustainable (eco) systems, will further diversify sustainable business webs to ensure abundance of product and capability to complete the cycle of replenishment.

 According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, “Over 90% of textile waste is generated by households, meaning individuals can undertake changes to their own fashion habits and have a significant impact on waste generation in this area”. As buyers, you will see retail companies continue to expand on their promises to sustainably sourced organic cotton through additional environmental initiatives like recycling programs which offer an engagement opportunity with the core customer. Arising from the evolution of organic and sustainable business practices in fashion, now stems circularity, vegan materials, biodegradable etc all at the height of our core ethics. Through a heightened collective awareness, buyers are claiming additional responsibility to support ethically sound fashion brands in 2021. Overall, materials are evolving and companies are seeking rapid innovation to present new solutions for the staples in our closets. Stay tuned for our last week and wrap up of the Sustainable Material Series. In week 4, we will feature the infamous Tencel and the durability champion, recycled wool.





April 02, 2021 — Marisa Imus

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