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How to be fashionable without hurting the environment?

The global fashion industry is heavily supported by plastics from the synthetic materials used to produce clothing, bags and other accessories. While creating eye-catchers is still the main objective, it seems brands have reached a turning point. The big question is: how can designs create a ‘buzz’ and honour the environmental concerns of consumers at the same time?

As one of the first fashion designers to launch environmentally-friendly and green products, Stella McCartney uses textiles such as recycled polyester, sustainable viscose hemp and other organic materials for her fashion collection, of which Koba Fur Free Fur is popular. The sustainable fur is made of 100% DuPont Sorona plant-based fibers, an alternative to animal furs. The material can be recycled and reused without waste, and with less greenhouse gases produced as against conventional synthetic materials.

Another brand, Girlfriend Collective, produces sports bras and leggings from recycled plastics, water bottles and fishing nets. The company’s recycling center in Taiwan is where bottles are sorted, cleaned and recycled.  The LITE leggings produced by the company are made from ECONYL fiber, which is derived from recycled fishing nets.

Inditex, the company that owns high street fashion brand Zara, has committed to produce all its clothing from 100% sustainable materials. By 2025, Inditex will only use cotton, linen and polyester that is organic, more sustainable or recycled.

Not least, H&M has teamed up with Danone AQUA for the bottle2fashion project. The idea is to transform plastic bottle waste from across the islands of Indonesia into recycled polyester. In 2021, bottle2fashion collected and recycled over 7.5 million PET bottles, more than double the volume from 2020 of 3.5 million. The recycled polyester is used in the production of the popular H&M Kids collection.

At CHINAPLAS 2022 (to be held at the National Convention and Exhibition Center in Shanghai, China from April 25-28), the fashion industry will witness a full range of new materials and high-tech processes. The organisation says these will ‘put them on top of competition in a world where fast-changing consumer preferences matter’. The event will showcase the innovations of over 4000 international exhibitors under one roof and welcome thousands of visitors from all around the world.

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