Where environmental degradation and social justice is concerned, the world of fast fashion scores a failing grade. Yet, it is important to remain optimistic if we are to restructure the way we think about, consume and treat our clothes for the better.
Whilst it’s on fashion labels to make their clothing and lifecycle more sustainable, that is sometimes easier said than done. Fortunately there are companies out there leading the way and building a brighter future for the world of fashion, building technologies and products that labels can leverage to make their offering more sustainable.
These innovative fashion companies are doing this in a number of ways; taking care of fast fashion’s impacts pre, during and post consumer.
We have selected some of our favourite innovators, producing anything from software & apps, to manufacturing technology, to brand-new sustainable fabrics. Whether it’s helping the world to rethink how products are made, encouraging a circular economy or helping us consume in a more responsible manner, there’s one thing they have in common: they’re on an inspiring mission to make positive change!
Some of them have products that will help you on your individual journey as a consumer, whilst others are targeted at fashion labels and manufacturers, but are still fascinating for discerning consumers to learn about.
Good On You
Good on You is a mobile app founded in Australia by a group of tech developers, sustainability experts and business professionals. Their goal: to make fashion fair and sustainable by giving consumers all the facts and information they need about brands in order to facilitate a ‘power of choice’.
The app makes it easy and stress-free to shop sustainably all over the world. Good on You helps people make more ethical and sustainable choices by clearly rating brands based on sustainability issues such as environmental impact, working conditions and supply chain transparency.
They’ve rated almost 3000 fashion brands from popular high street labels to smaller ethical brands, making it super easy for consumers to check before they buy.
Check out their brand directory: https://directory.goodonyou.eco/
The innovative use of natural resources to create alternative fabrics is on the rise. Biodegradable in nature, these fabrics are kinder to our planet in the production process as well as post-purchase. More and more alternatives are brought to the table each year, which are adopted by conscious brands as they strive for positive social and economic impacts in the fashion industry.
One of the innovative new materials hitting the sustainable fashion industry is Pinatex; a natural leather substitute. Pinatex is made of fibres from the wasted leaves of the pineapple plant. The material is made without any additional water or chemicals and comes directly from waste products which otherwise would be burnt or left to rot. This new material is popular for making bags, shoes, wallets and accessories and has been used by big brands such as Hugo Boss in recent years.
Visit Pinatex at ananas-anam.com
Upparel has been making waves in sustainable fashion in 2021. Originally a socks and underwear subscription service known as Manrags, the company soon got wise to the pressing issue of textile waste. They recognised that socks and underwear could not be donated and ultimately had no other destiny other than to end up in landfill.
Consequently, owners Tina and Michael Elias decided they needed to make a change. Working towards circular fashion by helping to reduce the vast amount of textile waste each year, they completely rebranded and became Upparel.
Upparel now accepts textile waste from all over Australia and upcycles the textiles, later donating them to charities, repurposing them into new products, or recycling the materials. Upparel was voted Winners of the National Retail Association Sustainability Champion of the Year 2020 and is leading the way in sustainable fashion by increasing the lifecycle of textiles.
Learn more about Upparel at upparel.com.au
You might not have considered the fact that 99% of colours are produced with environmentally harmful fossil resources. Pili’s mission is to create eco-friendly dyes and pigments which can reduce the hefty footprint that the colour industry has on the world.
Using a complex hybrid process, the company produces amazing colour ranges for inks, paints and most relevant to this article; textiles. Amazingly, Pili’s process can be considered somewhat similar to beer production. Using fermentation tanks and carefully growing microbes, the company ‘brews’ sustainable colour!
Learn more about it at pili.bio
Vividye is a European start-up which has been making big contributions to the world of sustainable fashion in 2021.
Removing old colour from textiles has previously been one of the main obstacles in the recycling of textiles. Enter Vividye. Vividye has developed a technology that allows colours and designs to be applied to textiles which can later be removed, ready once again for new designs to be applied.
This new technology is predicted to be hugely beneficial in circular business models and the recycling of textiles. The reversible print technology will allow textiles to be coloured, decoloured, and recoloured again and again without harming the material.
Check out vividye.com for more info
Even when a brand consciously decides to make their products sustainable, actually making it happen can be difficult. There is so much to think about, not just the materials used, but the processes involved, the amount of product wastage in the production process, disassembly and recyclability, and a lot of other factors.
Amongst other things, circular.fashion produces software which helps guide brands through this process. Brands can find everything they need to create a circular product through their system and their tools help capture and measure it all. They provide strategies, solutions, and product briefings on how to design fashion for circularity from a material cyclability and longevity perspective.
They’ve also produced this Circular Design Kit, which is free to download and gives a great curation of their strategies & solutions.
It might look like a regular washing machine filter but PlanetCare is making a tangible difference to the quality of our oceans, one tiny microfibre at a time.
35% of plastic microfibres in the ocean come from our washing machines at home, once again returning to our houses in the food on our plates. This is what motivated PlanetCare. Dubbed the ‘most efficient washing machine filter ever designed’, the product is scientifically proven and has gained some great momentum in recent years.
As a user, once your filter is completely filled up, cartridges are collected for free and recycled making the process an entirely closed loop. Who knew something as mundane as a washing machine filter could make a list of innovative sustainable fashion companies in 2021?
Check out their website at planetcare.org
If you can make shoes out of pineapples, you can make fabrics out of oranges. Orange Fibre does just that. Partially motivated by the fact that 120 million tonnes of citrus juice waste is disposed of every year, the inspiring company set out to produce sustainable fabrics from citrus by-products.
Using an innovative and patented process and working with industry leaders, Orange Fibre is helping to totally reshape how we understand ethical luxury.
Check out the company at orangefiber.it
Australian innovative fashion company AirRobe offers consumers a new way to shop and re-purpose their items. Focused on creating a wonderfully circular economy, the company is working to build a network of designers, retailers and consumers who move towards ‘re-commerce’ as opposed to ecommerce.
Whilst shopping online, customers at their favourite online stores can select a button which says, ‘Add to AirRobe’. Upon doing so, all items and their images will be added to your AirRobe account.
Later on in a product’s life, customers can effortlessly re-sell or rent this same clothing from the platform. Re-selling clothing has never been so easy!
Create an account at airrobe.com
Sustainable fashion has become an increasingly pressing topic during the pandemic, in a world which seems to feel more fragile than before. Consumers are starting to become more aware of what they are buying and where its is coming from, whilst the fashion industry is beginning to step up and become more accountable for its supply chain.
Consider supporting one of the above companies in your own way, and you’ll be well on your way to conscious consumption and contributing to a sustainable fashion industry!