Photo: Spider Silk @Bloomberg/Getty

How technology is shaping the future of sustainable fashion

The most exciting developments in fashion are happening in the lab

Fashion designers are increasingly looking to Silicon Valley for ideas that could help catapult their company to the cutting edge of both design and environmental preservation efforts. From startups using bacteria to naturally dye fabric to established industry players using chemistry to close the recycling loop, a whole host of new discoveries are cropping up. For example, Bolt Threads released the first commercially available spider silk product in the world and partnered up with Stella McCartney to create a few synthetic spider silk pieces. Read on to learn about some of the most exciting current developments.

Potential ideas that can change the future of fashion

incorporating new technology can help to change current wasteful, toxic and polluting production methods

Bacteria-produced dyes

Chieza is the bio-designer behind Faber Futures and a designer-in-residence at Ginkgo Bioworks, where she is working on a method that uses bacteria-secreted pigments to dye fabric. The technique dramatically reduces water usage, requiring less than seven ounces of water to dye a one-pound piece of silk. The pigment itself is naturally and non-toxically created by the bacteria. While there are still obstacles to overcome before the results Chieza is able to achieve in a petri dish will be replicable on a larger scale, the sustainable fashion opportunity is so great that she is confident there will be bacteria-dyed clothing on the market before long.

Lab-grown leather

Modern Meadow is a company that's "growing" leather in a lab using yeast fermentation to produce collagen. Creating leather the Modern Meadow way eliminates the need for raising (and killing) animals, reduces waste by creating "hides" devoid of imperfections or uneven edges that need to be discarded, and cuts back on the negative impact of tanning by reducing the chemicals involved. The sustainability boons — as well as the design possibilities inherent in a material that's so customizable and new — have so far resulted in over 130 companies reaching out to Modern Meadow for collaborations. The first products featuring Modern Meadow leather will launch with brand partners in the luxury and activewear spaces next year.

Read the full article with more ideas on fashionista.com.


How technology is shaping the future of sustainable fashion

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