Banana Jacket, Mushroom Bag: How Plants Turn Into Clothes

Banana Jacket, Mushroom Bag: How Plants Turn Into Clothes
Banana Jacket, Mushroom Bag: How Plants Turn Into Clothes

Video: Banana Jacket, Mushroom Bag: How Plants Turn Into Clothes

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At the international men's fashion show Pitti Uomo 96, which took place in Florence in June 2019, the Italian brand Herno presented the Herno Globe initiative. It brings together all the projects of the brand, developed in accordance with environmental standards: these are primarily parks, vests, bombers and military jackets, which are 80% made from recycled nylon and dyed with plant components. Yellow and shades of red come from onion peels, shades of gray from bamboo charcoal, subdued greens from olive, and blue from indigo leaves. Herno does not dye, ordering ready-made fabric from a certified company. The brand did not disclose its name, as well as the very technology of creating the material, in a conversation with.

Herno Globe collection colored with herbal ingredients
Herno Globe collection colored with herbal ingredients

1 of 4 Herno Globe collection, dyed with plant ingredients © instagram.com/herno_official Herno Globe collection, dyed with plant ingredients © instagram.com/herno_official Herno Globe collection, dyed with plant ingredients © instagram.com/herno_official Herno collection Globe colored with herbal ingredients © instagram.com/herno_official

Six months later, the American brand Woolrich also showed outerwear using vegetable products at Pitti Uomo 97. It merged with the Italian company Bottonificio Lenzi 1955, which has been making buttons and other sewing products from biopolymers for more than half a century. This includes polylactide extracted from sugar cane, corn and beets. The production of fittings from biopolymers can reduce the emission of harmful vapors into the air by five times compared to using petroleum-based raw materials, for example, polyester. Thus, the creation of a million beet buttons (some of them can be seen on parks from the autumn-winter collection of Woolrich) avoids the emission of almost 7 tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to planting about 350 trees.

Sustainable Woolrich Collection Showcased at Pitti Uomo in January
Sustainable Woolrich Collection Showcased at Pitti Uomo in January

1 of 3 Sustainable Woolrich Collection at Pitti Uomo in January © Press Office Woolrich Sustainable Collection at Pitti Uomo in January © Press Office Woolrich Sustainable Collection at Pitti Uomo in January © Press Office

Unlike plastic bottles, which special companies - including in Russia - collect in containers, cleanse them from impurities, crush them using high-tech machines and turn them first into flex material, and then into fiber and polyester threads, the use of fruits and vegetables in the production of clothes, it still seems to us something unthinkable. Meanwhile, the Herno and Woolrich brands are not the first in this area, and Bottonificio Lenzi 1955 is far from the only one.

In the 1990s, Spaniard Carmen Chiosa came up with a truly eco-friendly alternative to natural leather - the material piñatex (from the Spanish piña - pine cone, pineapple). It is created from waste from pineapple farms, which undergo a so-called decortication process. As a result, biomass is obtained, which is subsequently used for fertilization, and fibers, which are converted into a non-woven mesh. After special treatment, this mesh resembles leather both in appearance and in its properties: it is soft, elastic and at the same time durable.

Production steps for piñatex pineapple leaf
Production steps for piñatex pineapple leaf

Stages of production of piñatex material from pineapple leaves © ananas-anam.com

For the manufacture of 1 sq. m of such material leaves about 500 pineapple leaves, which before the invention of Carmen Chiosa were annually burned or rotted. Today, the brands Altiir, Rombaut, Adelaide C. and Lastelier collaborate with her company, Ananas Anam, for jackets, sneakers, bags and wallets made of pinyatex. In turn, the Swedish brand H&M in 2019 used pineapple leaves in the sustainable Conscious Exclusive line, along with elastic foam from algal biomass and waste from orange juice preparation.

The Orange Fiber material was patented by the Italians Adriana Santanochito and Enrica Arena. Shocked by the amount of residues from the seemingly household process of making orange juice (in Italy, the total volume of recycled citrus veins exceeds 700 thousand tons per year), they figured out how to get biopolymer from the remains of oranges, and then yarn. It can be mixed with other fabrics or used in its pure form: in the second case, you get a soft, opaque and silky citrus textile, which, in addition to H&M, drew attention to the Salvatore Ferragamo brand.

Production stages of orange fiber material from orange fiber
Production stages of orange fiber material from orange fiber

Production steps of orange fiber material from orange fiber © orangefiber.it

Potato skins, which are thrown away every day on a planetary scale (how many people cook potato pancakes or mashed potatoes every day), have also found application in the design industry. The creators of the London studio Chip [s] Board Rowan Minkley and Robert Nicholl, together with biochemist Greg Cooper, learned how to press it into a strong, lightweight and durable parblex sheet. The absence of formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals in the material makes it an environmentally friendly alternative to MDF and chipboard. However, parblex is used in the manufacture of not only furniture and construction tools, but also buttons (for example, on the instagram of designer Isabelle Fletcher) and even glasses.

Unlike beets, oranges and potatoes, bananas are suitable for tissue production throughout their entire life cycle. From the stems of a subspecies of banana plants, the abaca, cultivated mainly in the Philippine Islands, the bananatex material is obtained, which is soft, light, elastic and durable, and also lends itself to natural coloring. It happens as follows: at the initiative of the Swiss brand Qwstion, which makes backpacks out of bananatex, the abaca leaves are cut and left to decompose (a natural fertilizer is obtained from them), and the stems are processed, separated from the bark, removed the fibrous layers, combed by hand and dried in the sun … After that, the fiber can be used in production without additional processing and even without spinning,although it is sometimes coated with beeswax for better water resistance.

The Circular Systems startup develops textiles not only from the stem of the abaca, but also from the banana peel. The company sends it to a special high-tech machine, which squeezes biochemical juice from the purification (later it is used as a dye), and fists the remaining solid waste into soft cotton-like biofiber. In addition, Circular Systems is engaged in the production of new fabrics by recycling old clothing or combining food and textile waste fibers. For this, the startup received a grant of $ 350,000 from the H&M Foundation, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with the Swedish mass market and Levi's.

The Global Change Award was also awarded to Fungi Fashion, a startup that, along with MycoWorks, Le Qara and Bolt Threads, creates textiles from the mycelium, the vegetative organs of the fungus. For this, the mycelium is grown on the surface of the nutrient medium, resulting in a specific film. After drying, the film becomes strong and flexible, it is easily crosslinked and colored with organic pigments. Mycelium is called another alternative to the skin, but unlike pinyatex, it is produced in laboratory conditions, the process of its appearance is more slow and painstaking. However, Bolt Threads' Mylo mushroom skin is used by the main promoter of sustainable fashion, Stella McCartney: the prototype of the Falabella designer bag, exhibited at the Victoria Albert Museum in 2018, was made from this material.

Citrus fiber dress, Salvatore Ferragamo
Citrus fiber dress, Salvatore Ferragamo

1 of 8 Pineapple Leaves Jacket, H&M Conscious Exclusive © Press Office Mushroom Mycelium Bag, Stella McCartney © Press Office Potato Peel Button Dress, Isabel Fletcher © instagram.com/dannyalviscole Abaca Stalk Backpack, Qwstion © press- service Pineapple leaf jacket, Atiir © press service Potato peel glasses, Chip [s] Board © chipsboard.com Citrus fiber dress, Salvatore Ferragamo © press service>

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